Neither a box-and-one defense nor illnesses that slowed down a pair of starters could handcuff the No. 1-ranked Coeur d’Alene girls basketball Friday.
The defending 5A state champion Vikings secured no worse than a share of the Inland Empire League championship with a 55-37 win over Post Falls at The Arena.
Most important to Coeur d’Alene (17-0 overall, 8-0 league) is it secured the top seed in the Region I tournament. The Vikings will play host to a first-round doubleheader featuring the four 5A teams.
Junior wing Dayna Drager took advantage of Post Falls’ attempt to shut down senior Kama Griffitts. Drager found the open spots to finish with a career-high 20 points.
The 5-foot-9 Drager was equally effective on defense as she drew the assignment of trying to stop the Trojans’ do-everything junior wing Katelyn Loper.
Drager held Loper, who was saddled with foul trouble in the first half, to nine points, six below her average.
The Trojans (12-5, 6-2) did a fine job on Griffitts, holding her to no field goals and just two points. The problem was, though, that Post Falls didn’t have an answer for Drager and too frequently got beat in transition.
In CdA’s first game against Post Falls in late November, Drager held the Trojans’ other top scorer, senior guard Jordan Schoening, to five points.
“Not only did she play great defense, but she scored some points,” CdA coach Dale Poffenroth said. “Without her we were kind of stuck in sand tonight. It’s one of those deals where kids step up in a team situation, and tonight was her night. She had to work hard at both ends. There was no easy flow to it at all.”
Drager enjoys being CdA’s defensive stopper.
“Poff always says concentrate on defense and your offense will come,” Drager said. “I tried concentrating on Loper. I wasn’t really thinking about offense. I was just trying to move it (the ball) around and find open spots.”
Loper picked up a third foul early in the second quarter and had to sit the final 7 minutes, 18 seconds of the half.
With one less offensive threat, Post Falls struggled the rest of the half. CdA used a 6-0 spurt to take a 26-18 lead into intermission.
The Vikings went on an 11-2 run to close out the third quarter and open up a cushion that would only grow in the final period.
“Transition really made the difference,” Post Falls coach Chris Johnson said. “We gave up way too many easy layups. They’re extremely fast, everybody knows that. If we don’t get back on defense, they get easy shots. You just can’t give up easy looks that way.”
Poffenroth praised the Trojans.
“(They) played hard, they just wore out,” Poffenroth said.
Schoening led PF with 17 points. CdA sophomore post Carli Rosenthal had eight points to go with eight rebounds and three blocked shots. Natalie Stewart came off the bench to get several steals and eight points.
CdA turns around and goes to Lake City this afternoon. Tipoff is at 4:15.
Lake City 65, Moscow 33: The visiting Timberwolves (10-5, 4-4) opened up a 32-19 lead by halftime and never looked back.
LC sophomore guard Sydney Butler had a game-high 24 points on 8-of-11 shooting to go with four assists. Senior Katie Baker chipped in 16. Timena Shebala led Moscow (3-12, 1-6) with 11.
Lewiston 57, Sandpoint 28: The visiting Bengals (12-4, 4-3) cruised to victory over the Bulldogs (2-13, 0-8). Nicole Redd and Kiki Edwards-Teasley scored 10 points apiece for Lewiston.
Inland Empire boys
Post Falls 55, Coeur d’Alene 43: Juniors Shawn Reid (foot) and Malcolm Colbert (knee) sat out the first half with injuries.
They came in midway through the third period, and their presence provided an immediate lift. They combined for 21 points and seven rebounds as the Trojans (10-1, 2-1) pulled away.
Freshman Deon Watson led CdA (6-7, 2-2) with 14 points and seven rebounds.
Lake City 62, Moscow 47: The visiting Timberwolves broke open a two-point game in the third quarter behind sophomore Mark Smyly.
Smyly hit three straight 3-pointers as league-leading and second-ranked LC (9-2, 4-0) pulled away.
Four LC players reached double-figure scoring. Ben Frisbie led with 16 points while Smyly had 13. Jason Wheelock added 12 and Nate Frisbie chipped in 10.
Mac Stannard led Moscow (4-6, 1-3) with 18.
LC plays host to Coeur d’Alene this evening at 6.
Lewiston 69, Sandpoint 56: The Bulldogs (2-7, 0-4) raced to a 19-9 lead after one quarter, but they couldn’t hold back the visiting Bengals (10-2, 2-1).
The Bengals proceeded to outscore Sandpoint 40-20 over the next two periods to win going away.
Justin Podrabsky led four Bengals in double figures with 12 points.
Spencer Swerin led Sandpoint with 24 points and 10 rebounds. He had 10 points in the first quarter.
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