Instead of complaining about coming from behind to win, Coeur d’Alene boys basketball coach Larry Bieber is trying to put a positive spin on the Vikings’ winning style.
The bottom line is Coeur d’Alene is, well, winning. And it could prove beneficial when Inland Empire League play begins following the holiday break.
The Vikings shook off another poor opening half Friday to pull out a gritty 48-44 victory over Colville in the opening night of the Coeur d’Alene/Lake City Classic at Viking Gym.
Colville will go to Lake City today. Tipoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Coeur d’Alene (6-2) will wait four days to conclude its half of the tourney. The Viks were to meet Orofino today, but the game was postponed until Tuesday at 1:45 p.m.
Four of the Viks’ wins have come after poor starts.
“That’s what we talked about in the (locker room),” Bieber said. “A game like this wasn’t pretty. But what did we learn? What we learned is we can come from behind. The kids have shown a lot of guts.”
And the Vikings beat a quality team in Colville (3-3), which is expected to challenge Cheney, West Valley and Pullman in what should be a tight race in the Frontier League. The Indians’ other losses were to Shadle Park (picked to finish second in the Greater Spokane League) and Post Falls (picked to win the Inland Empire League).
The Viks quickly made up a 30-22 halftime deficit in the opening minutes of the third quarter with an 8-0 spurt. A 3-pointer by guard Eddie Gibbs behind a Ty Kovatch screen at the top of the key tied the score at 30 at the 4:58 mark.
Colville went 0 for 8 to open the second half, but a three-point play by Tim Sprangers broke the drought momentarily and opened a 35-30 lead.
But a 12-foot jumper and two free throws from Lukas O’Dowd and a free throw from Kovatch erased the deficit as CdA knotted the score at 35 going into the fourth quarter.
CdA took its first lead when Gibbs hit a hanging 4-foot baseline jumper 28 seconds into the fourth period. He followed with a three-point play when he was fouled driving to the basket. That gave the Viks a 40-35 lead with 7 minutes to go.
A high, arching 3-pointer by Colville’s Shane Meinhold tied the score at 42 at the 3:15 mark.
But CdA survived a furious final 3 minutes, a span in which O’Dowd made three free throws and a basket with 17 seconds left.
O’Dowd finished with a game-high 18 points and nine rebounds and Gibbs added 14. Sprangers led the Indians with 16.
Colville coach Bill Pilgeram pointed to shooting and turnovers as the major reasons for his team’s downfall in the second half. The Indians made just 5 of 24 shots in the final two quarters.
“You’re not going to win a game scoring 14 points in the second half,” Pilgeram said. “Some of it was turning the ball over, some of it was we got some good shots and missed them.”
Coeur d’Alene 48, Colville 44
Colville 18 12 5 9 - 44 Coeur d’Alene 11 11 13 13 - 48
Colville - Eslick 0, Meinhold 7, Ortner 7, Bateman 0, True 4, Sprangers 16, Day 5, Bowland 0, Salina 5.
Coeur d’Alene - O’Dowd 18, Kovatch 3, Gibbs 14, Hoorelbeke 5, Wood 0, Davis 8, Rupp 0, Sigler 0.