The Lake City Timberwolves didn’t have much wiggle room.
After falling to crosstown rival Coeur d’Alene in a 5A Inland Empire League boys basketball opener 10 days ago, Lake City knew what it had to do to stay in the chase for the league championship.
A torrid start to the third quarter allowed the visiting Timberwolves to build an 18-point lead. CdA fought back within two before LC finished for a 53-47 victory.
“We had to have this. That’s all there was to it,” said LC coach Jim Winger, whose team improved to 9-4, 2-1. “With them winning at Post Falls and us losing at home … to host district you lose this one …” he said, stopping short of saying the obvious.
CdA topped LC 58-54 in the league opener for both teams.
Except for a stretch to open the fourth quarter, LC played solid Friday night.
“I was impressed with the start and I was fairly pleased with the third quarter,” Winger said. “They made their run, you knew they would, they’ve got a big bunch of tough athletes. I thought we hung in there and pulled it out, which is what we needed considering everything. I was absolutely thrilled with how we finished.”
LC made its first six shots of the second half, including three straight 3-pointers, and the T-Wolves stretched their lead to 39-21 with 3:53 to go in the period when CdA was called for goaltending on a shot by Justin Pratt.
CdA slowly chipped away, pulling within 40-28 by quarter’s end.
The Viks (9-2, 2-1) used a 16-6 surge to open the fourth period to pull within 46-44 with 2:44 to go.
That’s when LC finished what it started. The T-Wolves made 7 of 8 foul shots in the final 1:10 to hold off the Viks.
LC played three varieties of zone defense, and the Vikings didn’t attack the zones well.
Winger didn’t think his team would use zone the entire game, but he couldn’t change while it worked.
Winger’s son, JJ, and Kyle Guice led with 12 points each.
“This was huge coming off that loss at home,” JJ said.
CdA coach Kurt Lundblad praised his team for fighting back.
“Couldn’t be prouder of the effort and the scrappiness to get back into the game,” he said. “We dug too big of a hole obviously.”
Tony Naccarato led CdA with 19 points and five rebounds.