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Greg Lee: Another winter full of golden moments

The very young Central Valley girls basketball team provided a “golden moment” with their undefeated season capped off by the state title in the Tacoma dome. (Patrick Hagerty / Special to The Spokesman-Review)
The very young Central Valley girls basketball team provided a “golden moment” with their undefeated season capped off by the state title in the Tacoma dome. (Patrick Hagerty / Special to The Spokesman-Review)

Another winter is in the books, and it was another winter chock full of golden moments.

Six schools in the region hoisted title banners this winter.

There’s something significant when a school captures its first. Of the six, the Timberlake girls basketball team broke through.

This after taking second four of the last five years in the Idaho State 3A ranks.

The Tigers of Spirit Lake lost their season opener 54-52 at 5A Lewiston and then rattled off 23 straight victories. Coach Matt Miller’s team did it by playing 12-13 players a game.

Miller wasn’t sure playing so many would work. Five games in, though, and he could tell his players had warmed to the idea.

Timberlake was led by juniors Keelie Lawler and Allison Kirby, who were named co-most valuable players of the Intermountain League. Miller rotated his starting five each game, and Lawler and Kirby took their turns not starting.

And when Miller called on his bench, many times he put in five different players at a time.

Miller will lose five players to graduation. He’d like not to have to juggle playing time amongst so many players next year if he can avoid it. Timberlake will be a strong favorite to repeat next year.

The Central Valley girls basketball team didn’t win the school’s first state title. As it turned out, it was the fourth in girls basketball. But it was the third time a CV team has gone undefeated.

What made this year’s team so extraordinary were the ages of the players. The Bears (28-0) started three sophomores and two freshmen. There were three other sophomores and two other freshmen that made up the bench.

CV went into the season with a senior (Emily Burns) and a junior (Courtney Carolan). Burns was going to see minutes off the bench and Carolan was expected to challenge for a starting position.

But Carolan suffered a season-ending injury before the season began and Burns suffered a season-ending injury two thirds of the way through the regular season.

Most of the underclassmen play on the same club team – one that will play against some of the best players across the nation this spring and summer. They’re going to get better.

They’ll need to, really. Next year, there isn’t likely to be a team in league that will push them like Lewis and Clark did this winter.

While I’m talking about girls basketball, I have to applaud Colton for an eighth straight title. What Clark Vining has built there has stood the test of time.

Colton graduates its final Moser sister, Zoe. But the winning is expected to continue.

In boys basketball, Clarkston pulled off a repeat. The Bantams used defense and standout play from league MVP Trevon Allen, who has signed with the University of Idaho, to get back to the title game.

In wrestling, Post Falls proved for a second straight year it was not only the best team in Idaho but the best team in the Pacific Northwest.

The Trojans steamrolled to titles in the Tri-State and Rollie Lane tournaments along with a dominating encore in the State 5A tournament.

And like a year ago, Post Falls will graduate two individual state champs. But the Trojans return plenty of talent and will add some more with incoming freshmen.

Coach Pete Reardon has reaped the fruits of two youth feeder programs – programs established before he arrived at Post Falls. He’ll be the first to tell you that he had great timing when he took the job.

For the second time in three years, Deer Park captured a state title – and did so in the final match.

And wrestling that final match both years was the dominating Trevor Eicher.

This time Deer Park leap frogged past Colville to take the 1A state title.


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