Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Lake City gets off the hook

LC's Ben Widmyer, right, spins past Leon Duplessis driving toward the basket during Friday night's Fight for the Fish Spirit game at LC. Widmyer and teammate Garrett Lambson each scored 18 points.
 (Tom Davenport/ / The Spokesman-Review)

Second-year Lake City High boys basketball coach Kris Knowles could have chosen to talk about the big monkey that was finally knocked off his back.

Instead, Knowles praised his players and the school’s student body following the Timberwolves’ 58-44 win Friday over Coeur d’Alene in the annual Fight for the Fish played before a capacity crowd of 2,700 at LC.

The win may not count in the Inland Empire League standings, but Knowles expects it will do wonders for his team after the T-Wolves posted their first win over their cross-town rival in seven tries the past two years.

“I’m so happy for the student body and (my players),” Knowles said. “They put in a helluva week of practice. We had the best practice since I’ve been coach. They were focused, poised and ready to go.”

LC was especially aggressive on the boards, at which the Timberwolves used five putbacks in the first half to build a 34-26 lead by halftime.

Then in the second half, the Timberwolves (8-5 overall) survived what turned out to be one of the ugliest halves of offensive basketball by both teams.

LC senior guard Ben Widmyer hit back-to-back 3-pointers to open the third quarter, but the T-Wolves would miss their 11 other shots from the field the final 5:44 of the period.

But CdA (5-6) couldn’t take advantage because it was in the midst of its own shooting woes. The Viks made just 3 of 12 in the third, and things got worse in the fourth quarter when CdA shot 2 of 16.

“It’s a good win, but we’ve got more important games down the road that we’ve got to get up for,” said Widmyer, who tried to keep the victory in perspective.

Widmyer and teammate Garrett Lambson, who were particularly active on the boards for LC, each scored 18 points to lead all scorers.

Lambson made a driving basket with 1:16 to go and followed with four free throws in the final 42 seconds as LC protected an eight-point advantage in the final 2 minutes.

Knowles said his team took a page out of CdA’s playbook after the Viks beat LC 56-52 and 61-55 in the two league games.

“We went through a (videotape) and watched how aggressive (the Viks) went to the boards,” Knowles said. “Give credit where credit is due. We tried to find a way to beat them at their own game. I think it struck a chord with our team.”

CdA coach Kent Leiss said LC’s intensity was the difference.

“Our biggest problem was Ben Widmyer and (Garrett Lambson) – I don’t know if this is a mean way to say it – but they finally played hard and up to their ability,” Leiss said.

“They just wanted to kick our butt. Those two guys set the tone. I think Lake City showed tonight that if they play hard they can be a good team and beat some teams.”

After Jake Wolfe scored the first basket of the second half to pull CdA within six points, the Viks could never get any closer than 47-40 late in the fourth period.

“The second half we couldn’t get a shot to drop,” Leiss said. “We had three or four (shots) that were down and out. But we had to play from behind the whole game. I don’t know what the rebounding stats were in the first half, but that was the key.

“They made some nice adjustments in our man-to-man (offense) and left about two or three of our guys open and dared them to beat them. They also sagged off of Joe and Jake (Wolfe).”

Nate Bligh led CdA with 14 points and Jake Wolfe had 13.

Knowles said his team”s recent hard work paid off.

“It (the win) takes care of a lot of stuff between the ears,” Knowles said. “What I was really pleased with was there was no selfishness out there. They rebounded better and played better defense.”

For the second straight year, Lake City won the spirit competition between the schools.