It was a start no one saw coming, especially Post Falls girls basketball coach Marc Allert.
His Trojans, ranked No. 1 in the state 5A ranks, undefeated and barely tested after 15 games, fell behind by 10 after one quarter and ultimately fell to rival Coeur d’Alene, 47-41, before a packed house at Cd’A High’s Elmer Jordan Court.
“I didn’t see that coming,” Allert said, shaking his head. “With the seniors we have I thought they would come out ready. We just didn’t make shots.”
No they didn’t.
Post Falls (15-1, 2-1 in Inland Empire League play) missed its first seven attempts, didn’t score until 6 minutes, 26 seconds had been played, were 1 of 10 in the first quarter and 3 of 23 in the first half.
“This is the best defensive team we’ve played,” Allert said of the Vikings (13-3, 2-1 in IEL play). “We talked about it before the game.”
Talked yes, but experiencing the Vikings physical brand of defense is another thing. Setting the tone was 5-foot-7 junior guard Madison Sumner, who battled Post Falls’ Hallie Gennett, a 5-11 wing who can score inside and outside.
Sumner said she knew from the beginning of the season she would be guarding Gennett, who was an All-Greater Spokane League selection last year at U-Hi. And Sumner had one goal.
“Not to let her score,” she said.
Ultimately Gennett did, finishing with 11 points, including the Trojans’ first points and their final five. Post Dani Failor led PF with 13 points.
Yet Sumner made it tough for Gennett (she was 3 of 13 from the floor), and chipped in 12 points herself, second best for the Viks behind Syndey Williams’ hard-earned 14.
But CdA’s offense was secondary Tuesday night, with the defense keying an 18-4 lead midway through the second quarter.
“To get a lead is kind of nice, isn’t it,” said Coeur d’Alene coach Dale Poffenroth. “They are so good. They have so many weapons, so many good kids, so strong and quick, the cushion is really nice to have.”
The Viks needed it. Post Falls pulled within 11 at halftime, cut the lead to four at the end of the third quarter and kept clawing back in the fourth.
“I was proud of the character we showed in the second half,” Allert said. “I thought if we could ever get over the hump, we would be all right.”
But the Trojans never got over it, though they reached the crest with 2:32 left as Gennett came off a screen and nailed a 3-pointer, tying the game at 39.
However Sumner matched that from the top of the key 37 seconds later and CdA had a lead it would never relinquish.
Gennett cut the lead to one with two free throws with 1:45 to play but from that point the Viks hit 5 of their final 7 free throws (they were 14 of 23 overall) and PF missed its last eight shots – six from the floor and two free throws.
Both Poffenroth and Allert expect the teams to meet many more times en route to possible state tournament berths.
“As good as those teams are,” Poffenroth said, “I’m not sure one can beat the other one four times.”
“It’s not the last time we’re going to see them, that’s for sure,” Allert said. “And every game is going to be just like that.”