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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Stockwell breaks Bulldogs’ hearts again

Scott Stockwell did it again.

For the second time in 11 days against the same team, the Post Falls High shooting ace hit the game-winning shot as the Trojans maintained their Inland Empire League lead with a thrilling, hard-fought 62-59 win over Sandpoint in overtime Saturday at The Arena.

The 6-foot-2 senior guard stepped back and hit nothing but net from 25 feet out, despite a hand in his face from Michael Brewer, with 16 seconds remaining to regain the lead at 61-59. Teammate Kyle Turpin added a free throw five seconds later.

Sandpoint had a chance to force a second overtime, but Andrew Meaux’s shot from in front of the Bulldogs’ bench at the left angle of the basket hit off the rim.

Stockwell made a 25-footer at the buzzer in the Trojans’ 65-62 win Jan. 11 at Sandpoint.

For Sandpoint coach Tyler Haynes, watching Stockwell’s game-winning shot had to be a little déjÀ vu.

“I don’t think we could have defended him any better than that,” Haynes said of Brewer’s hand in Stockwell’s shooting vicinity. “He’s going to step up in that situation. He’s spent his whole life since he was knee-high shooting that shot in a gym by himself pretending there’s 4,000 people in there. For a coach’s kid, that’s the 3,000th time he’s shot that thing. That’s why those kids step up in those situations. Everything is practiced and everything is learned.”

Post Falls improved to 9-5 overall with its eighth straight win and 6-1 in league. Sandpoint, after drawing even in league the night before in a win at Lakeland, slipped to 8-7, 3-4 in league.

The Bulldogs had to hit a miracle shot of their own just to get to overtime. Senior guard Blake Mahler came around a screen and drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key with Stockwell’s hand in his face with 25 seconds to go.

Post Falls got one final shot off in regulation, but K.C. Billetz’ heave from the corner fell well short of the basket as the horn sounded.

It was a well-played game throughout. Both teams had specific defensive plans. Sandpoint wanted to be in Stockwell’s face and the Trojans were determined to deny Bulldog 6-4 post Ben Mitchell any good looks in the low post, doubling down most times and collapsing on the Bulldog with as many as three players.

Both strategies worked well. Mitchell, who had to sit out 8 minutes in the first half with foul trouble, had just 10 points in regulation to Stockwell’s nine. But Mitchell scored all six of Sandpoint’s points in the 4-minute overtime and Stockwell had eight of the Trojans’ nine in the extra session.

Neither team had a sizeable lead at any point in the game.

Both Stockwell and his father, Post Falls coach Dave Stockwell, thought the Trojans never got into any offensive flow the whole game. Sandpoint guard Chase Lowther – who had an appropriate first name on this night – chased and bothered Stockwell throughout the game.

“I wasn’t in a flow at all,” said Stockwell, who finished with a team-high 17 points, five assists and three steals. “Whenever I was open I was rushing my shot. That’s from them bodying me up and trying to get me out of the game. But I just got to keep shooting and at the end it came through for me again.”

Emphasis, of course, on again.

“I just knew that I wanted to shoot it,” Stockwell said of the final shot. “Fortunately it went in for me.”

Mitchell finished with 16 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Mahler led Sandpoint with 17 points.

Haynes hopes to see Post Falls again come postseason.

“We’re going to battle again – you can count on it,” Haynes said. “We want to see them again.”

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