If you weren’t there an hour early, you were late.
With every space in the parking lot filled with a snow-covered car and every square inch of the bleachers occupied, if you arrived at Lake City’s gym at the scheduled start time of 5:30 p.m. for the girls game on Friday you were banished to standing room only at one of the baselines or worse yet – a corner – for the better part of 5 hours.
Yes, Fight for the Fish – between this year’s host Lake City and rival Coeur d’Alene – is kind of a big deal.
With just four teams in the Idaho 5A Inland Empire League, every game is important for seeding in district play. But every showdown between the Vikings and the Timberwolves takes on just a little more.
Add on that Lake City and Coeur d’Alene girls entered play tied for No. 5 in the state media poll and there was a lot on the line.
It was a one-point game at intermission, but solid inside-outside play in the third quarter helped the Timberwolves pull away with a 61-47 win.
The inside was 6-foot-4 junior Brooklyn Rewers, the reigning 5A IEL Player of the Year, who had six points in the third and finished with a game-high 19.
The outside was senior guard Aubrey Avery, returning from a six-week stint with a hand injury, who drilled a corner 3-pointer to put Lake City (10-5, 2-0) up for good and went on to finish with 10 points.
“It definitely makes it harder for the other teams to have Aubrey shooting 3s or pushing it into me,” Rewers said. “It just leaves us both open and even opens up opportunities for other people,”
“We had a special set for (Avery) coming out of half and it worked out and she knocked down the shot,” Lake City coach James Anderson said. “She can shoot probably better than any kid I’ve ever seen.”
“I always feel special when you get a play called for you,” Avery said. “It makes you feel like you’re gonna make a difference.”
Avery was fouled on her next 3-point attempt and drilled all three from the line to push the lead to 11.
“I was really nervous to shoot those free throws coming off my hand injury,” Avery said. “I’ve shot a lot of free throws (in practice). So knocking those down, you just felt the tempo change in the game, felt a little less stress, you know?”
The T-wolves recovered from a three-point first quarter to lead 25-24 at the half.
“Yeah, that was crazy,” Anderson said. “The environment, I thought, really got to us to open the game – that was very clear. But we have been through so much to this point, I trusted them.”
Madi Symons led CdA (11-4, 0-1) with 16 points.
Lake City 53, Coeur d’Alene 44: Seth Hanson scored 16 points, Kolton Mitchell added 12 and the Timberwolves (8-3, 1-0) topped the Vikings (5-6, 0-1) in the late game. Devon Johnson paced CdA with 13 points.