NAMPA, Idaho – Last year’s overtime loss in the state championship game is a painful memory for the Coeur d’Alene girls basketball team.
It’s also a big reason why the Vikings are back in the Idaho 5A State tournament final. CdA’s hunger and championship experience were on full display once again Friday as the Vikings rolled to a 69-54 semifinal win over Mountain View at the Ford Idaho Center.
Senior post Sydney Williams poured in 25 points for CdA (22-2), which plays Rocky Mountain for the title at 7 PST tonight.
“I thought we had won the state championship last year, but we let it slip right through our fingers,” said Williams, a University of San Diego commit. “This is our year. Our six seniors have never won a state championship, we’ve been shortchanged every year, and we really want this.”
After starting slowly in Thursday’s state opener, the Vikings came out firing on all cylinders. Williams scored 16 points in the first half, while fellow seniors Brittany Tackett and Madison Sumner also started strongly.
The Vikings led by as many as 12 in the first half and went into the locker room with a 38-27 lead.
The pace continued after halftime. CdA increased its lead to 55-37 after three quarters and cruised from there as all five starters finished with at least eight points. Tackett had 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Sumner played a strong all-around game with nine points, eight rebounds and five assists.
“We got a little bit from everybody,” Vikings coach Dale Poffenroth said. “Everyone contributed and played with a lot of effort, diving on the floor for loose balls and winning the rebounding battle.”
Sophomore standout Destiny Slocum scored 23 points to lead Mountain View (18-6).
Rocky Mountain 44, Lewiston 41: Up 17 points in the second half, victory – and a date with rival Coeur d’Alene in the title game – seemed certain for Lewiston.
Instead, it was Rocky Mountain that celebrated the semifinal win, stunning the Bengals with a furious second-half rally.
Noelle Aragon hit two free throws with 14.5 seconds left to give Rocky Mountain (24-1) its first lead of the game.
The Grizzlies only made one field goal in the first half, but their pressure defense helped them climb back into the game as Lewiston committed 15 second-half turnovers.
Junior forward Emilee Schlader led Lewiston (21-4) with 14 points and seven rebounds.