NAMPA, Idaho – It was nothing short of a defensive and offensive exhibition – from the best player to the last one on the bench.
And that was just in the first half for the defending state champ Coeur d’Alene High girls basketball team.
The Vikings opened the 5A state tournament Thursday in dominating fashion, putting a 60-33 collar on the Eagle Mustangs at the Idaho Center.
No. 1-ranked Coeur d’Alene (23-0), which won its 27th straight, will meet Vallivue (20-4) in a semifinal at 7 p.m. PST in a rematch of last year’s state final. Vallivue stopped Madison 58-52.
In the other semifinal, second-ranked Centennial (24-0), which held off Lake City 59-51, will meet Boise (20-4). Boise stymied previously undefeated Highland 38-26.
Lake City (15-7) will face Highland (23-1) in a loser-out game at 12:15. In the other elimination game, Madison (13-12) goes against Eagle (13-12).
Coeur d’Alene 60, Eagle 33: The Mustangs led briefly at 4-2. Before they knew what had hit them, the game was over.
The Vikings outscored Eagle 26-4 thereafter for a 28-8 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Mustangs’ final field goal in the opening quarter came at the 3:10 mark.
CdA’s full-court man-to-man defense forced 12 turnovers in the first 8 minutes.
Eagle went scoreless until making two free throws with 1:57 to go before halftime. The Mustangs didn’t score a basket until 42 seconds to go in the second period.
A free throw by senior reserve post Kelsey DeHaas gave CdA a 41-13 lead at intermission.
The Vikings maintained a 30-point margin most of the second half.
CdA coach Dale Poffenroth offered a dramatic understatement.
“Good start,” he said.
Poffenroth thought his team went through the motions in the second half.
“We got a little complacent in the second half,” he said.
Yet the Mustangs never got closer than 25 points the final two quarters.
“We got all of our kids on the floor,” Poffenroth said.
Shoot, CdA had all of its kids in the game in the first half.
Some of it was dictated by foul trouble. Senior wing Kama Griffitts, CdA’s leading scorer, played just 5:24 in the first half after picking up her second foul. Still, she scored 12 points in the brief appearance.
The Vikings didn’t miss a beat with any combination of their six substitutes in the first half. Leading the way was the seldom-used DeHaas, who finished with nine points and six rebounds in 13:46.
Poffenroth would have liked to have said that his team’s defense in the first half was the best it’s played all year. But it was hard for him to measure Eagle’s ability with league foes Lake City, Post Falls and Lewiston.
“It’s hard to tell. It looked good,” Poffenroth said.
DeHaas thought the Vikings were inspired because they hadn’t played in nine days.
“So we just came out and worked our hardest,” DeHaas said. “We really wanted to play.”
DeHaas said the Vikings’ defense wasn’t anything special.
“We just played our same game that we’ve played all year,” she said. “We focused on defense and the offense came later.”
Centennial 59, Lake City 51: A point-blank bank shot from 9 feet by senior post Katie Baker pulled the Timberwolves within 44-39 with 4:02 to go.
The Patriots made 14 straight free throws in the final 2:23 to withstand a Timberwolves rally.
“To steal a line from somebody else, it isn’t necessarily what we did wrong, it’s what they did right,” LC first-year coach Royce Johnston said.
Per usual, Baker lifted her team on her shoulders – despite picking up her second foul 2:09 into the game.
Baker settled down from that point to finish with 27 points and 18 rebounds.
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