More of the same
For the last six years, an Inland Empire League girls basketball team has captured the 5A state championship. In four of those years, an IEL team has finished second. In three of those years it’s been an all-IEL final. It’s likely the state champ will come from the IEL again this winter, and it’s very likely it could be an all-IEL final again. Just life as usual in arguably the state’s toughest league. The state champ might not be one of the usual suspects. Lewiston has won the last two state titles and Coeur d’Alene won three in a row before Lewiston. The team many believe could end up hoisting a state title banner is Post Falls. In 4A, Moscow, which qualified for state last year, is given the nod over Lakeland and Sandpoint to earn the region’s lone state berth. … Two coaching changes have occurred. Bryan Kelly takes over at Lake City after Royce Johnston resigned a week before preseason practices began. At Sandpoint, Bill Bender replaces Lance Bruce, who was dismissed.
Returning all-league players
In 5A, Post Falls post Dani Failor, Lewiston point guard Karlee Wilson and Coeur d’Alene guard Caelyn Orlandi and forward Kendalyn Brainard are back along with the co-newcomers of the year, guards Hailey Jackson of Lake City and Madison Sumner of CdA. In 4A, Hailey Olin of Sandpoint returns along with co-newcomers of the year Josie Coder of Lakeland and Kim Sprenger of Moscow. In the Intermountain League, conference most valuable player Steffie Pavey of Priest River returns along with Aubree Wasmer of Bonners Ferry, Taylor Sheppard of Kellogg and Jill Weimer of Priest River.
Around the area
CdA coach Dale Poffenroth, who turns 64 next week, begins his ninth year as head coach and first as a retired teacher. He helped butcher cattle the other day and then jumped in the hot tub after a bike ride. “I don’t know how I ever had time to do everything before,” he said. “I’m plenty busy.” He has a team capable of winning a fourth state title. The lone question mark might be depth. “There are three really good teams and one will have to stay home,” Poffenroth said. … CdA was ranked No. 1 in the preseason poll last week, Lewiston was second and Post Falls was fifth. … “We have a good team leader with a ton of experience who will try and elevate her teammates to fill roles after the loss of some great players due to graduation,” Lewiston coach Pat Teichmer said of Wilson, a four-year starter. … Post Falls returns the most with four starters back and a huge transfer – senior wing Hallie Gennett, a first team all-Greater Spokane League pick from University last year. PF coach Marc Allert figures to go 10 deep on his roster. “I think with the experience and talent we have returning we should be very competitive,” Allert said. … Kelly, the new kid on the block at Lake City, has spent a lot of time teaching defense. Even though Kelly realizes LC is on the bottom looking up in an ultra-difficult league, he’s excited about his team. “We have a lot of team speed, which I think will cause some problems defensively,” Kelly said. “Our work ethic is a strength and we are challenging each other on a daily basis to get better.” … Moscow returns two starters. “We’ll be scrappy, high-energy and fly around,” Bears coach Robin Barnes said. … Steve Seymour, who is back for an 18th season at Lakeland, sees a team that will improve as the season progresses. “We have enough talent, much of it untested on the varsity level right now, to compete with Moscow and Sandpoint for the league championship,” he said. … Bender, who is retired from teaching, coached at St. George’s from 2001-05. He takes over a team with two starters back. “We will go 10 deep,” Bender said. “We should be very strong on the offensive glass. By the end of the season we’ll have a very balanced offensive attack.” … Priest River returns four starters and should make a run at a 3A state title for the second time in three years. “We should have a good chance of a trophy at state if no injuries or suspensions at the end of the season,” coach Gary Stewart said. … Bonners Ferry has three starters back and some young talent. The Badgers could start as many as four sophomores. “We had a great summer,” BF coach Travis Hinthorn said. “We learned how to win and we expect to win.” … Timberlake must find some consistent scoring. “We will work hard to get better throughout the season and hopefully peak at the end,” coach Matt Miller said. … In the NSL, Clark Fork is a slight favorite and looking to advance to state for a fourth straight year. … Former Lakeside boys coach Stacey Sonder has replaced Ron Miller as the girls coach. Miller coached 20 years, with a 267-190 record. … Mullan returns four starters. “We’re looking to be competitive,” coach Sherry Leitz said.
5A Inland Empire
|1. Post Falls||3. Lewiston|
|2. Coeur d’Alene||4. Lake City|
4A Inland Empire
|1. Moscow||3. Sandpoint|
|1. Priest River||3. Timberlake|
|2. Bonners Ferry||4. Kellogg|
North Star League
|1. Wallace||4. Kootenai|
|2. Clark Fork||5. Mullan|
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