If play goes according to seed, the Post Falls and Lake City boys’ basketball teams should advance to the A-1 Region I Tournament championship game Saturday.
But Inland Empire League coaches warn that the regional tourney could be as topsy-turvy as league.
“You can’t count any of the teams out,” Lewiston coach Dick Richel said. “You can make a case for any team pulling an upset.”
Said Sandpoint coach Jack Dyck: “We’re the fourth seed and I think we can beat anybody. I think that’s realistic.”
First-round games tonight, however, favor the top seeds. IEL champion Post Falls will be at home for the entire A-1 Region I Tournament, while Lake City, the team that protected its home court the best during league, will play one final game at home.
No. 1 seed Post Falls (17-3) entertains No. 4 Sandpoint (7-14) while No. 2 Lake City (12-8) welcomes No. 3 Lewiston (13-7). Both games begin at 7.
The regional champion advances to state. The runner-up also can earn a berth to state by winning a playoff one week from Saturday against the No. 3 finisher from District III.
Tonight’s winners will meet Saturday at Post Falls in the regional championship game at 8. The losers will play in a loser-out game the same night at 5:30. The winner will meet the championship-game loser for the runnerup spot Tuesday night at Post Falls.
Admission to all tourney games is $3 for adults, $2 for student with activity cards. Only state activity passes will be accepted.
Post Falls and Lake City would be wise not to be looking to a championship matchup. The Trojans got all they could handle and probably should have lost in a home overtime victory (71-61) against Sandpoint last week.
Lake City is coming off an embarrassing 48-43 loss to Lewiston that could have earned the Timberwolves a share of the league title.
Interestingly, Lake City has been untouchable at home. The T-Wolves won all four home league games by an average of 25 points, including a 63-44 win over Lewiston in mid-January.
LC coach Jim Winger has challenged his seniors to show up tonight.
“The way we played at Lewiston, we easily could have lost by 20 points,” Winger said. “If we want to go to state our seniors have to step up. I don’t expect them to leave anything on the floor (Thursday) like they did last week.”
Sandpoint coach Jack Dyck says his team has less pressure than the other teams because his team wasn’t expected to beat Coeur d’Alene on Tuesday to get into the tournament.
“(Post Falls) is the team I’d least like to face because they have 11 talented players,” Dyck said. “But we played well there the other night and the kids are happy about playing them.”
Post Falls coach Scott Moore expects a tightly contest tourney, beginning tonight.
“We’ve got to come prepared to play our best ball,” Moore said. “If we come in lackadaisical, thinking we can beat any team because of winning the league, then we’ll be in for a rude awakening.”
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