The Coeur d’Alene boys basketball team was averaging 66.5 points per game going into a 5A Inland Empire League opener Tuesday against Lake City.
Lake City coach Jim Winger was determined that his team wouldn’t give up that many points.
So Winger had his Timberwolves mix some 2-3 and 1-3-1 zone with man to man to keep the tempo slow.
It worked as the Timberwolves held off the host Vikings 44-40 at Elmer Jordan Court.
“After watching Coeur d’Alene last Saturday and Thursday, we had to control the tempo, but we didn’t necessarily want to control the tempo offensively,” Winger said. “We actually felt we could run on them. But we had to control it defensively. You can’t allow them to come down and get in that rhythm and start running up and down like you’re nuts. Teams get wrapped up in that and you don’t play your game. I thought the zone slowed things down and made them be patient. That was the key – make them be patient. That was the one and only goal, to make them think and make them slow down.”
LC junior guard Chuckie Adams made both ends of a double bonus with 12 seconds left to lock up the win. Seconds earlier, junior point guard Justin Pratt nearly lost the ball at midcourt and alertly called a timeout on his knees to retain possession.
The T-wolves, winners of five straight after an 0-2 start, opened an 18-9 lead – the biggest in the game – midway in the second quarter. But the Viks (4-1) used a 9-4 surge to end the half and pull within 22-18 at halftime.
The game remained tightly contested the final two quarters.
CdA used a 9-2 run to open the third quarter for its biggest lead at 27-24. But LC slowly regained traction. Junior wing Tucker Louis-McGee, who was fouled at the buzzer attempting a 3-point shot, made 2 of 3 foul shots to give the T-wolves a 30-29 lead going into the fourth period.
LC led the final 8 minutes. And it appeared the T-wolves were on the verge of putting the game away when junior post Kyle Guice completed a three-point play to extend the lead to 40-32 with 4:21 remaining.
CdA went nearly 3 minutes stuck on 32 points before junior Austin Paulsen and sophomore Colby Daniels made back-to-back 3-pointers within 20 seconds of each other to cut LC’s lead to 40-38 with 1:22 to go.
The Viks took advantage of two careless LC turnovers to tighten up things.
Two free throws 21 seconds apart by Riley Moreen allowed LC to go ahead 42-38 with 51 seconds remaining.
Sophomore Devon Kluss got a putback off his own miss – the Viks’ final points – to trim the lead to 42-40 with :37 to go.
“Defensively we held them to 44 points, which I thought was pretty good,” CdA coach Kent Leiss said. “We lost it on the offensive end. We as a team and individuals didn’t play very well. We turned the ball over way too much.”
Pratt, who is listed at 5-foot-8 but is closer to 5-5, came up big for LC in the first half, scoring 11 of his game-high 13 points. Moreen finished with 11 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots and Guice had nine rebounds, three blocks and two assists.
“Everyone was a little nervous for the first three quarters but the fourth quarter was just our time,” Pratt said. “A lot of our (players) are new and had to get used to it and step up.”
Winger was especially pleased with Pratt.
“I’m pretty hard on him,” Winger said. “We’ve had some great point guards at Lake City High School from day one and I have high expectations. Sometimes I think I may be a little too hard on him. I thought he played really well.”
Paulsen was the lone Vik to reach double-figure scoring with 10.
Coeur d’Alene 49, Lake City 17: The Vikings (8-3, 1-1) used airtight defense and took care of the ball in easily dispatching of the visiting Timberwolves (6-5, 0-2).
The Viks committed just six turnovers to LC’s 24.
CdA used a 15-0 run to close out the first quarter for a 15-6 lead.
Caelyn Orlandi led CdA with 14 points, nine rebounds and three assists. Sydney Williams and Kendalyn Brainard added 10 points and five rebounds each.
Hailey Jackson led LC with nine points and Amber Hawkes had eight rebounds.