The Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene girls played for the Inland Empire League 5A basketball title Friday night in Post Falls, an honor earned by the Trojans with a 48-45 overtime victory.
No one led by more than six. That was Coeur d’Alene, 36-30 with 6 minutes, 30 seconds left in regulation.
No one had a run of more than four points, until the Trojans closed out regulation with four clutch free throws in the final 1:39 and then scored the first bucket of overtime.
And no one scored more than Hallie Gennett’s 16 points, a total that included four of the Trojans’ six overtime points.
“She can score,” said Post Falls coach Marc Allert after his team had posted its best regular-season record (18-1) ever and assured itself of the top seed in districts, which begin next Friday at Post Falls.
“She hadn’t had a real great night but we have other options out of those, (though) she ended up getting shots out of them. She did a good job finishing at the end of the game.”
No one had a great night offensively and that wasn’t a product of poor shooting as much as great defense – and one great decision by Allert as time ran down in regulation.
The top-ranked Viks (15-5, 4-2) led 42-38 and had just 1:47 between themselves and another IEL title. But they didn’t get another shot until overtime, turning the ball over three consecutive times.
As Cd’A tried to get the final shot in regulation, the Trojans (5-1 in IEL play) switched to a 3-2 zone, something they have played for no more than a couple minutes all season, according to Allert.
It worked, as the Viks committed the last of their 17 turnovers with 2.8 seconds left.
On the other end, Post Falls was running its offense through Gennett, one of six seniors honored before the game. But it was Dani Failor, headed to West Point next season, who put the Trojans ahead for good with two free throws with 1:57 left in overtime.
The Viks had trouble attacking the zone – “I wasn’t planning on staying in it … it worked and they looked a little confused,” Allert said – and used all but 14 seconds of the clock before Gennett and Caelyn Orlandi collided in front of the Cd’A bench.
Orlandi was so shaken up she couldn’t shoot the free throws and Sara Chalich was summoned from the bench with a chance to tie.
Chalich, who had taken just one shot while playing sparingly, hit the first free throw but missed the second and Gennett grabbed the board. Two more free throws and a Cd’A missed 3-pointer later, Post Falls was the champion.
“This league goes through Coeur d’Alene,” Allert admitted. “It has for a number of years now. And (the Post Falls girls) know that. That’s their drive.”
Kendalyn Brainard, who limped off in the first half but returned a few minutes later, tried to ensure it would again, pacing Cd’A with 12 points, including four consecutive free throws that gave the Viks a 40-35 lead.
Failor added 10 for Post Falls while senior guard Brooke Litalien, who had just two points in the Viks’ earlier 47-41 win over the Trojans, added nine, all in the first half that ended tied at 18.
Lewiston 48, Lake City 35: Lynzee Wilson scored 22 points and the Bengals (15-5, 3-3) opened the game on an 11-3 run and cruised past the visiting Timberwolves (10-10, 0-6). Kassie Torres scored nine points and Madi Farrell added eight for Lake City.