The Coeur d’Alene and Lewiston girls basketball teams have done this dance before.
Except Wednesday, there was nothing light-on-your-toes about the 5A Region I championship game. No, it was a knock-down-drag-out bout between two heavyweight defensive teams with Coeur d’Alene going the distance to hold off the visiting Bengals 44-39.
CdA (20-2) advances to state, beginning Feb. 20 at the Idaho Center in Nampa. The Viks open against the District V-VI runner-up, either Hillcrest (20-3) or Highland (17-3).
Lewiston (19-3) also can earn a state berth. The Bengals play host to Lake City (11-11) in a winner-to-state game Saturday afternoon at 3.
Neither CdA nor Lewiston gave an inch. The teams battled all 32 minutes in the physical game – each team having a player earn a badge of honor – otherwise known as a bloody nose – by game’s end.
CdA, playing with a thin bench all season, wouldn’t have used a substitute had it not been for late foul trouble in the first half or Madison Sumner taking an elbow to her nose.
Lewiston’s defense was better in the first half as the Bengals took a 23-21 lead into halftime. The Bengals did a nice job taking away 6-foot-1 senior post Sydney Williams, who had just six points in the first two quarters.
But Williams got free in the second half, finishing with a team-high 16 points and 12 rebounds.
“I was frustrated in the first half,” Williams said. “It wasn’t the start we wanted. But we came out strong in the second half and showed we wanted it just a little bit more than they did.”
CdA gazelle-like wing Brittany Tackett hurt Lewiston for 13 points and six rebounds and outside shooting ace Sarah Chalich added 12 points, including two 3-pointers.
“Both teams got really physical with each other,” CdA coach Dale Poffenroth said. “It was balanced, it was fair, but they called it like a college game. Both teams got to push each other around a little bit. It was two balanced teams.”
Lewiston coach Pat Teichmer wasn’t sure which team would show up – the one that showed much promise most of the season including a 49-46 win over CdA on the road or the one that was embarrassed at home in late January by CdA, 47-27.
Teichmer got his answer. He took a timeout with 3 seconds remaining, not because he thought he could draw up some magical play that would account for the five-point deficit. No Teichmer wanted to drive home the point that if his team takes care of business Saturday against Lake City he firmly believes the state final could be a familiar matchup – CdA against Lewiston.
Poffenroth expected Lewiston to make adjustments after the last meeting.
“They came out and did some things they haven’t done before,” Poffenroth said. “They tried to take the outside away. So I said ‘let’s do what they try to do to us to them.’ We ended up going inside a little more and that helped a lot.”
Teichmer said the difference was his team didn’t pass the ball as much to CdA as it did the last time.
“Defensively, both teams played great,” Teichmer said. “They’re a little faster than we are and they played passing lanes a little better than we did.”
Emilee Schlader led Lewiston with 11 points and six rebounds.
4A Region I
Sandpoint 63, Lakeland 47: The Bulldogs (13-7) earned their first trip to state since 2004, downing the Hawks in the title game at North Idaho College. Madi Schoening led Sandpoint with 22 points and Nikole Alamillo had 15. Kelly Ramus led Lakeland (4-18) with 14.
3A District I
Priest River 43, Timberlake 37: The Spartans (15-7) topped the Tigers (14-8) in the title game at NIC. Priest River advances to state while Timberlake faces Kellogg tonight in a loser-out game with the winner advancing to a play-in game for a state berth Saturday. Angelika Clark led PR with 12 points and Jessica Norlander was tops for Timberlake with 17. PR outscored the Tigers 23-10 in the fourth.
Kellogg 47, Bonners Ferry 33: The Wildcats (13-8) outlasted the Badgers (3-16) in a loser-out game at NIC. Kellogg opened a 29-18 lead in the first half. Kennadie Arthur led the Wildcats with 10 points. Emma Kelly and Desi Minor had 10 apiece for BF.
1A Division I
Lakeside (ID) 65, Wallace 54: The Knights (10-12) extended the best-of-3 series to a final game. Lakeside and Wallace (15-5) settle things tonight at Lake City, beginning at 6. Avery Brown-Sonder led Lakeside with 18 points and six rebounds and Kim Duncan had 18 points and eight steals.
1A Division II
Kootenai 41, Clark Fork 30: The Warriors (8-9) captured the district title at Lake City and advance to a play-in game for a state berth Saturday.