Post Falls senior Connor Hill knew one thing going into his Trojans’ loser-out game against Lake City: He wasn’t ready for his season to be over.
Having held the state’s No. 1 ranking earlier this year and winning the IEL 5A regular-season title, there were few people more surprised at the Trojans’ first-round loss in the 5A Region 1 tournament than the players and coaches themselves.
“Our focus was that this was a must-win game,” said Hill, who scored 13 of his team-leading 15 points in the second half.
“We just had to buckle down, play defense and rebound and we would win this game.”
Backed into a corner, though, host Post Falls did everything it had to in order to stave off elimination, outbattling Lake City 42-38 Tuesday.
The Trojans got a combined 19 second-half points from Hill and Luke Thoreson to erase a halftime deficit, staying alive to play the loser of today’s game between Coeur d’Alene and Lewiston.
Thoreson, who was held scoreless in the opening half, also came up big in the final minute drilling the go-ahead basket with 40 seconds remaining after LC’s Chris Wheelock put the Timberwolves in front on a steal of an inbound pass. After a PF timeout, Thoreson caught a pass from Marcus Colbert in the paint and nailed a 10-foot jumper to put the Trojans on top for good.
“Coach (Matt McLean) said we had to stick together,” said Thoreson of the timeout that set up the winning shot. “No one has to do it by themselves. It’s a team game and we would find each other and just need to hit the shot.”
“That was a big shot that Luke hit,” McLean said. “I have a lot of confidence in Luke and that’s not the first big shot he’s hit. Tonight just happened to be the first time he hit that shot in a loser-out game.”
While second-half offense was a key component in the win for the Trojans, LC coach Jim Winger said his team could not have played any better defense on its high-scoring foe.
The Timberwolves held PF to 20 points in the opening half, taking a one-point lead into the break.
“I thought we executed what we wanted to do defensively to a T,” Winger said. “When you hold Post Falls to 40 points, you’re doing something right. We just weren’t scoring.”
3A District I
Bonners Ferry 71, Timberlake 49: Mat Evans and Alex Awbrey scored 16 points apiece as the Badgers (4-14) eliminated the Tigers (3-18) at Lakeland High in Rathdrum. BF will play Priest River (15-5) at 7:30 tonight at Lakeland.