For the first time in Timberlake’s 15-year history, the Tigers’ boys basketball team is headed to state.
Timberlake exorcised some demons Wednesday, capturing its first 3A District I championship with a 60-46 win over the Priest River Spartans at Lakeland High School in Rathdrum.
The Tigers open state Feb. 28.
Priest River (11-10) takes on Kellogg (13-9) in a loser-out game tonight at 5:30 at Lakeland. The winner advances to face either Marsh Valley or Bear Lake on Saturday in a play-in game at McCall.
Timberlake 60, Priest River 46: Senior guard Johnny Hayden put his team on his back in the early moments of the second half, and his teammates followed.
Hayden made 4 of 4 3-pointers, including 16 of his game-high 22 points in the period. He finished with four assists.
“He’s a phenomenal basketball player,” second-year Timberlake coach Tony Hanna said. “I’ve actually asked him to give up a little of his scoring this year to do some more things for his team as the point guard, as the leader on this team. He was feeling it tonight. When a guy’s feeling it like that, you’ve got to let him go. The nice part is when you don’t have to coach a lot.”
Hayden scored 16 of 18 points in the first 4:17 of the third as the Tigers opened a 42-24 lead after taking a 26-21 lead into halftime.
“We knew we could do it, but pushing past some ghosts of the past has been a challenge for us these last couple of years,” Hanna said. “Last year was a big for us, because we learned how to win. We came up short in the district tournament, but we came out with a winning year. This year we learned how to play with a lead and clinch those ones we should finish.”
Keegan Scott supported Hayden with 11 points and six rebounds.
Dalton Sommer led the Spartans with 17 points.
The Spartans got within nine points at 55-46 with 2:40 remaining. But they couldn’t get any closer.
Kellogg 55, Bonners Ferry 53: Cody Seaton hit two key free throws in the waning seconds as the Wildcats held off the Badgers. Garret Wendt led Kellogg with a game-high 28 points and nine rebounds and Jesse Lambert added 10. Evan Moe led the Badgers (5-15) with 14 points.
2A District I-II
Grangeville 55, St. Maries 41: The balanced Bulldogs were too much for the Lumberjacks in the title game at Troy. St. Maries takes on Coeur d’Alene Charter tonight in a loser-out game. The winner advances to a play-in game for state berth Saturday. Warren Joiner led St. Maries with 17 points.
Coeur d’Alene Charter 54, Orofino 51: The Panthers placed four players in double-figure scoring in the loser-out game at Troy. Chris Adams led Charter with 16 points and Christian Pedersen had 15.
1A Division I
Lakeside 49, Wallace 33: The Knights took the best-of-3 series for the district title at Lake City. They can earn a state berth in a play-in game Saturday. Leighton Boyd led with 19 points.