West Valley’s suddenly hot basketball teams are at East Valley on Friday for the first of six Border League games against Washington schools.
The games, boys at 6 p.m. with the girls to follow, are the continuation of a long-standing rivalry between the two Valley schools.
Frontier League members in other sports, the Washington basketball teams are officially part of the nine-team Border League, a joint-venture with Idaho schools.
Both Eagle teams are 3-2 at the mid-point of the season against Idaho foes, 5-4 overall and on three-game winning streaks.
EV’s girls are 2-3 in league and 3-5 overall while the boys have won once, Tuesday’s non-league triumph over Riverside..
The Knight boys lost just 55-54 in overtime to Lewiston last week after rallying from a 15-point halftime deficit.
EV’s girls lost a 52-51 decision despite April Tomblin’s 22 points.
For the first time, WV won both championships of the school’s Holiday Classic Tournament. The boys beat Bonners Ferry and Medical Lake, while the girls beat Medical Lake and Colville.
During league competition, WV’s boys and girls defeated Sandpoint.
“We’re playing at a really high level right now, even without seniors,” said boys coach Joe Feist.
During the three wins, Brad Groh scored 76 points.
“He has the potential to be one of the best players I’ve ever had,” said Feist.
The Eagles also welcomed back Chris Hilsabeck, who turned out late. He scored 13 against Sandpoint. Sophomore Kris Sly had a career-high 19 during that game.
“Chris was a little dinged up after football,” said Feist of his late arrival. “He gives us more quickness and depth and at 5-foot-8 fits right in.”
Without size and bulk, the Eagles have returned to the uptempo outside shooting style previous to last year.
“Offensively we’re back to doing the things I like to do,” said Feist. “There are days when we’ll be overpowered, but we’re playing well together and competing hard.”
WV girls coach Mark Kuipers also likes the effort of his young team.
“We’re better than we were three weeks ago,” he said.
Although senior Gabby McClintock is an offensive constant, sophomore Heather Huffman has provided improved defense and rebounding for additional punch.
“We’re starting to see different kids rise up each night like we did last year,” said Kuipers.
He pointed in particular to the contributions of freshmen Amanda Holstrom, Shannon Groh and sophomore Vanessa Parvey and the progress of senior Alisha Pedey.
The EV-WV girls game has more at stake for end-of-season district seeding purposes, although the likelihood that they’ll play each other to open the tournament appears strong.
“Athleticially EV is very talented and comparative scores are fairly even,” Kuipers said. “The Knights always play their best against us.”
Bears-Panthers wage war
When Central Valley and Mead’s basketball teams play each other, there’s usually something at stake.
Tuesday night was no exception.
Led by the smallest player on the floor, CV’s girls forged a three-way tie for first place with the Panthers and Ferris by winning 65-53.
Junior Courtney Phinney stands just 5 feet tall, but her scrappy play included several rebounds. She also hit a clutch three-point basket early in the fourth quarter after Mead cut a 12-point deficit to two.
The Bear boys halved a four-team tie for second place behind Ferris with its 67-60 win.
CV had shared second with Mead, Rogers and Lewis and Clark. The Pirates beat the Tigers on Tuesday.
Mead has a team with impressive height, but CV post Tom Perkes helped his team to a 13-rebound advantage and scored 17 points.
Valley Christian waxes hot
If the second-half of the basketball season resembles the first, Valley Christian school will be tough to catch for Bi-County League foes.
The Panthers reached the season mid-point with a 9-1 record and are 4-0 in the nine-team league.
Last weekend the B classification school defeated West Division unbeaten Almira/Coulee-Hartline 51-44 on the road after pounding 2A school Lakeside 76-60.
Seven players have contributed season-long to the Panther effort, led by the scoring of Michael Spuler, a 14.7 average, and Brian Sears, 10.1.
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