Coeur d’Alene girls basketball coach Dale Poffenroth has had some offensively blessed teams in his 10 years as head coach.
Some of those teams could have won state tournaments without having to play much defense. That won’t be the case this week. The Vikings (20-2) open the State 5A tournament today at the Idaho Center in Nampa against Hillcrest (20-4) in the first game at 12:15 PST.
Lewiston (20-3) opens against Boise (16-7) in the final game at 7 p.m.
“Defense is what we have to win state with,” Poffenroth said matter-of-factly.
CdA has allowed just 34.4 points per game – one of the lowest averages allowed by any Poffenroth-led team.
It’s not like the Vikings, who start five seniors, are offensively challenged. Post Sydney Williams leads at 15.9 points, followed by forward Brittany Tackett (12.1) and guards Sarah Chalich (11.1), Sydni Parker (7.0) and Madison Sumner (6.5). CdA averages 59.3 per game.
“There’s not anybody on this team that will beat anybody by themselves,” Poffenroth said.
Poffenroth will take his thinnest bench to state. Two players who would have received quite a few minutes, Emily Callahan and Maddie Scholwinski, were injured most of the year. Kayli Matheson has seen the most minutes off the bench.
Had a starter not gotten into foul trouble in the first half and Sumner not had to come out with a bloody nose in the second half of the Region I championship game, Poffenroth might not have used his bench at all.
“That’s just the way I am,” he said. “Some coaches use their benches like they’re turnstiles and don’t give much thought to continuity.”
Poffenroth expects, though, to use his bench at state.
“There are always situations that come up,” he said. “They’ll have to be ready to play.”
Moments after the regional final, Poffenroth said he expected to play Lewiston again.
“A week from Saturday (in the state title game),” Poffenroth said.
Hillcrest will present a different test for CdA. The Knights start three players taller than 6 foot and bring three 6-footers off the bench.
“They’re huge,” he said. “We’ll have to outrun them.”
CdA has earned a trophy in each of its nine trips to state with Poffenroth, including three championships. The title game has featured an all-Inland Empire League final the last four years.
4A: Sandpoint qualified for the first time since 2004 as it captured its first regional title since 1982.
The tourney begins today at Mountain View High School in Meridian. Sandpoint (13-7) opens against Pocatello (13-10) at 5:15 p.m.
3A: Priest River, state champion in 2010, is making its fifth straight trip to state.
The tourney begins today at Middleton High School. District I champ Priest River (15-7) meets Fruitland (14-8) at 2 and District I runner-up and play-in qualifier Timberlake (16-8) opens against Snake River (13-9) at 5:15.