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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Snow 28° Snow

Vikings, Trojans grab early attention

I hope your 2009 has started better than mine.

Nothing like a non-injury car accident two blocks from home – at a residential four-way intersection where snow berms blinded the drivers’ view of possible traffic – to get the adrenaline pumping. I’m thankful there were no injuries.

You didn’t plunk down 50 cents to read about my accident. Long before the incident, though, I had already decided I was not enjoying this avalanche of a winter. There was just enough of a break between storms that they were able to get in the Coeur d’Alene Holiday Inn Express boys and girls basketball tournament hosted by North Idaho College last week.

•You’re not going to find two teams hotter than the Coeur d’Alene girls or Post Falls boys as the 2009 portion of the season begins. Both teams ended the 2008 slice of their schedules undefeated.

The Coeur d’Alene girls (12-0 overall, 4-0 Inland Empire League), the defending 5A state champs, are better than a year ago with essentially the same players back.

The Vikings have defeated at least three teams that may be better than any they’ll play in Idaho. The first quality victory came in early December at Moses Lake (64-53), which lost to Lewis and Clark in the Washington State 4A final last year.

Then the Vikings overcame some epic travel delays that almost forced them to miss their opening game in the Diamond State Classic in Wilmington, Del. In their second game, the Vikings defeated Holy Cross of Washington, D.C., 58-48.

“I don’t know if I’ve seen a team that athletic in my life,” said CdA coach Dale Poffenroth, who is in his fifth season at CdA and 22nd overall as a head coach. “Somebody told me there are 20 (NCAA) Division I players that come out of the league they play in every year. They started four sophomores and a freshman. Two kids came off the bench that have already signed Division I.”

The win vaulted CdA into the championship game against Oregon powerhouse Oregon City. The Vikings won 63-52. The key to CdA’s win over Oregon City was defense.

“We played very well and we’re definitely headed in the right direction,” Poffenroth said. “At this point we can’t get complacent and start reading our press clippings. Last year I thought we got complacent a couple of times (in the second half of) the season.”

CdA senior wing Kama Griffitts was named the tournament’s most valuable player. Vikings senior guard Amy Warbrick and sophomore post Carli Rosenthal were named to the all-tourney team.

•The Post Falls boys (8-0) purposely had a delayed start to their season. Coach Mike McLean wanted a later start in hopes that his players would have fresher legs and minds later in the season.

After 23 practices and just two games, though, the strategy could have back fired when poor weather caused a tournament the Trojans were scheduled to attend in Portland to be scrapped.

Meanwhile, the Trojans went 3-0 at the NIC tourney and turned some heads in the process with wins over Walla Walla, Chief Sealth of Seattle and Monroe (Wash.). Lake City and Coeur d’Alene both went 1-2 as each defeated Monroe.

Post Falls junior wing Shawn Reid was named the MVP of the tourney. Senior teammate Justin Carter was named to the all-tourney team.

The Trojans managed to find two games to replace the ones lost at the Portland tourney. They traveled to the Seattle area last weekend and notched victories over Woodinville and West Seattle. They followed that up with an 89-87 win at the buzzer at Pasco on Tuesday.

•Weather permitting, the first showdowns between the Lake City and Coeur d’Alene boys and girls will be Friday at CdA. Those games might have to be rescheduled if the latest weather-related hazard – flooding – causes more school closures.

School officials are still trying to decide when to squeeze in the remake of the Fight for the Fish doubleheader. Perhaps early May could be a workable date.

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