The Lake City boys basketball team was out to clinch the top seed for the postseason and no worse than a share of the 5A Inland Empire League championship on Tuesday.
Instead, the Timberwolves now could fall as far as third in the four-team league, and Post Falls now has a chance to capture the league title after the Trojans thumped visiting Lake City 63-45.
It was the worst loss of the season for Lake City (12-5, 3-2), which saw a six-game winning streak snapped. Post Falls improved to 10-6 and 2-2 with a key game Saturday at Coeur d’Alene (13-3, 4-1), now sitting in first place with a chance to clinch the league title and top postseason seed.
Post Falls played well in the first half but didn’t show any indication that it would run the Timberwolves off the court in the final two quarters.
But a 14-3 start in the third quarter – propelled by two 3-pointers and two three-point plays – allowed the Trojans to build a comfortable margin they wouldn’t relinquish.
Lake City edged Post Falls 36-35 in the first league meeting this season.
“We didn’t change our defensive game plan,” Post Falls coach Mike McLean said. “It was actually the same thing we did (at LC).”
Post Falls opened league 0-2 and McLean said his team has been overlooked to a point.
“We started 0-2 and that’s how you get yourself overlooked,” McLean said. “We’re a senior-heavy team and we’ve got some guys who, when we were pretty good, got some media attention. They learned that getting a lot of attention or not getting a lot of attention really doesn’t matter. It’s all about getting better every day in practice.”
Dalton Thompson led Post Falls with 21 points and seven rebounds. He was particularly effective from 3-point range where he made 3 of 7.
“Coach has really been pushing us in practice to shoot better,” Thompson said. “All of us set each other up for great open looks. No one was trying to force anything. We were all sharing the ball.”
LC trailed 28-22 at halftime, but couldn’t get untracked in the second half.
“I’m really disappointed in our defense,” LC coach Jim Winger said. “I think we’re a very good defensive team and we did not guard tonight at all from start to finish. I felt the last time we played them we were overly conservative and didn’t attack. Tonight we were the exact opposite. We didn’t run anything, we rushed everything, we were very undisciplined and just did not execute.”
Kyle Guice led LC with 16 points – all coming in the first half.