Execution by Post Falls and the lack thereof by Coeur d’Alene in the final 5 minutes in their Inland Empire League boys basketball opener proved pivotal Tuesday.
And the smallest players stepped up big in the second half when the Trojans needed it most in a 65-52 victory at Post Falls High.
A 3-pointer by Coeur d’Alene’s Eddie Gibbs with 5:24 left knotted the score at 46. Three minutes later, following a 10-2 spurt, the patient Trojans had victory in hand.
“All the things that we worked on in the preseason came together for us,” said Post Falls coach Scott Moore, whose team moved to 6-3 overall.
Leading the way among contributions from several players were guards Brason Alexander (team-high 19 points) and Chad Quesnell (18). They scored 23 of their combined 37 points in the second half when Coeur d’Alene sat primarily in a zone defense and dared the Trojans to shoot from the perimeter.
Alexander scored 11 of Post Falls’ 15 third-quarter points. Quesnell hit two back-breaking 3-pointers in the final 4:20 and finished with eight points in the period.
Still, not even Moore could point to any particular player as contributing more than the others. In fact, six Trojans are averaging 7 or more points.
“What I like about this team is we don’t have one particular guy that’s going to stand out for us,” Moore said. “You never know who’s going to step up and take charge. I cannot pick out one guy tonight because just about every guy did something positive for us.”
For the Vikings (7-4), it was a matter of relapsing into some old habits.
Too many mistakes - particularly fouls, turnovers and rushed shots - were too much for CdA to overcome.
“The last two years that I’ve coached at Coeur d’Alene some of the problems are we foul too much and we turn the ball over too much,” CdA coach Larry Bieber said. “What we’ve worked on this year is cutting that down. If (you) look in our (score)book every time we didn’t foul as much as the other team and make more free throws we win - we don’t turn the ball over as much we win. We’ve got to take care of the ball with every possession.”
It was especially critical in the final 5 minutes when CdA committed six turnovers and didn’t shoot good shots.
Post Falls made 9 of 12 free throws in the final 1:18 to pad the final margin.
“It was a great game, very entertaining, but I don’t know if my hair or my heart can handle too many of these during the (league) season,” Moore said. “Our kids understand it’s just one game. They’ll keep it in perspective.”
Another key was Post Falls’ defense of CdA standout post Lukas O’Dowd. He scored 11 points, eight below his average.
O’Dowd didn’t make a field goal in the first quarter or second half. Nine of his points came in the second quarter when the Viks managed to stay close at halftime (31-29).
With O’Dowd sitting out most of third quarter in foul trouble, reserve guard Ben Davis kept things tight. He scored nine of his team-high 12 points in the second half.
Post Falls 65, Coeur d’Alene 52
Coeur d’Alene 13 16 12 11 - 52
Post Falls 16 15 15 19 - 65
Coeur d’Alene - O’Dowd 11, Kovatch 3, Gibbs 9, Rupp 3, Hoorelbeke 6, Sigler 7, Wood 1, Davis 12.
Post Falls - Quesnell 18, Alexander 19, Curlee 0, Bohn 6, McLean 6, Lee 6, Juhlin 2, Olson 0, Meeks 0, Therrian 6, Fehling 2.
Lake City 86, Kellogg 72
Gabe Hern made four 3-pointers and scored 28 points in leading Lake City (6-5) past the visiting Wildcats (4-2).
LC, which shot 53 percent from the field, outscored Kellogg 26-16 in the final quarter to break open a close game. The Timberwolves, who were 10 for 21 from 3-point range, also got 17 points from J.J. Barlow. Nathan Corkill paced the Wildcats with 21 points.
Kellogg 19 22 15 16 - 72
Lake City 25 16 16 26 - 86
KELLOGG Co.Lewis 1, Blalack 0, Mercado 16, Corkill 21, C.Marek 8, Rice 3, Carlson 16, H.Marek 7.
LAKE CITY Camantigue 6, Cheeley 13, J.Reiswig 0, Barlow 17, Anderson 0, Bramlet 5, R.Reiswig 5, Stroh 0, Hern 28, Morris 6, Nipp 6.
Falls Christian 66, N.I. Christian 30
Falls Christian (4-4) used Jared Bligh’s 18 points and an opportunistic defense to race past North Idaho Christian.
The visiting Eagles generated 13 steals from their full-court defensive pressure and held NIC to just 13 field goals in 48 attempts.
North Idaho Christian 8 8 12 2 - 30
Falls Christian 18 18 18 12 - 66
NORTH IDAHO CHRISTIAN Holte 10, Barnard 4, Marsh 6, Staples 1, Keene 2, Metzer 7, Mitchem 0, Kasper 0, Stone 0.
FALLS CHRISTIAN Mitson 9, Baker 6, Staggs 3, Bligh 18, Beck 0, Walker 3, Burns 13, Malinauskas 0, Wild 2, Larson 12 .
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