In a game that featured difficult stretches for both teams, the Coeur d’Alene Vikings had the most determination in the end.
The Vikings overcame some frigid shooting from the free-throw line, especially late, to knock off the Lake City Timberwolves 58-54 in a hard-fought 5A Inland Empire League opener before a crowd of 1,700 Tuesday at LC.
Single free throws by Colby Daniels and Devin Kluss in the final 19 seconds provided the difference as the Viks withstood a furious LC rally.
The Vikings (8-1 overall, 1-0 IEL 5A) made 9 of 19 attempts from the foul line in the final 2 minutes, 47 seconds. That allowed LC (6-4, 0-1) to rally from a nine-point deficit. Overall, CdA made just 14 of 29 from the free-throw line.
“We haven’t shot free throws well all year,” said Kurt Lundblad, a CdA graduate in his first year as head coach at his alma mater. “We work on it, of course, every day. It’s one of those situations where we shoot them well in practice.”
LC opened a 27-20 lead early in the third quarter. But from the 5-minute mark on, the Timberwolves couldn’t score and the Viks took advantage.
CdA ended the quarter on a 12-0 run to take a 35-29 lead into the fourth quarter.
Chuckie Adams, who scored 13 of his 15 points in the final period for LC, hit two free throws and a 3-pointer in the opening 35 seconds of the fourth to pull the Timberwolves within 35-34.
CdA answered, opening a nine-point cushion twice – the last one, 46-37, coming with 3:31 left.
That’s when the Viks went cold at the foul line. LC slowly chipped away and eventually had to send CdA to the free-throw line each time the Viks got possession in the final 2 minutes.
LC’s Kyle Guice, who made just 7 of 21 shots from the field, hit a couple of big shots that cut into CdA’s lead. Adams drove the lane and hit a 7-foot runner that banked off the glass as he was fouled with 21 seconds to go, cutting the lead to 55-54. Adams missed the foul shot.
The Timberwolves had another opportunity to tie the score when Adams, following a timeout, drove from midcourt but had a layup attempt blocked with 10 seconds remaining.
“It was a regional-type game to me,” Lundblad said. “The crowd was great, the atmosphere was great. It was just a great basketball game. It doesn’t mean the execution was great, I just thought it was a high-energy high school basketball game.”
Both coaches complimented the other team for how hard it played.
LC coach Jim Winger appreciated his team’s effort in the final-period rally, but he said the T-wolves had too many breakdowns.
“It was quite a spirited game,” Winger said. “I have nothing but compliments for Coeur d’Alene. I’m really not displeased with us. I’ll have to look at the film … I know for a fact we had seven or eight severe breakdowns on defensive changes. You can’t do that.”
Ryan Walde led CdA with 15 points, 10 rebounds and four assists, Daniels, who made 7 of 10 foul shots, finished with 13 points and Kluss had 11. Guice led LC with 17 points and 12 rebounds.