The Coeur d’Alene boys and girls basketball teams used solid defense to sweep crosstown rival Lake City on Friday.
Then the Vikings reeled in the wooden rainbow trout trophy for displaying the most spirit in the annual Fight for the Fish doubleheader.
Despite a slow start, the Coeur d’Alene boys pulled away in the second half for a 53-43 decision before a capacity crowd of 1,700 at Elmer Jordan Court.
The CdA girls got out fast, hit a pothole early in the second half and regained control for a 55-41 decision.
Both games count in the Inland Empire League standings.
The Timberwolves (6-4, 0-1 IEL) tied the score at 29-29 with 2:08 remaining in the third quarter when reserve guard J.J. Stoddard made a driving basket.
But CdA clamped down thereafter, holding LC scoreless the rest of the quarter and essentially the first 3 minutes of the final period. The T-Wolves found themselves in a hole they couldn’t dig out of.
LC guard Chris Wheelock and wing Mark Smyly combined for 17 points in the first half. In the final two quarters, they didn’t score a basket and were limited to a combined five points.
“We’ve been a pretty good defensive team this year so holding them to 43 points … our goal was 48,” CdA coach Kent Leiss said. “I still think there’s some room for improvement.”
If it hadn’t been for Stoddard scoring nine of his 11 points in the fourth quarter, the margin would have been wider and LC’s offensive shortcomings even more glaring than they already appear.
“We’ve played good defense all year, but we just struggle to score,” LC coach Jim Winger said. “I thought we had some decent looks for three quarters, but in the fourth quarter we stopped attacking a little bit.”
Winger likened his team’s scoring woes to running uphill.
“You’re working your butt off but the ball just won’t go in,” he said. “It’s not like we’re coming down and just launching (3-pointers).”
Deon Watson led CdA (10-2, 2-0) with 15 points and Devon Austin had 13.
Connor Williams had 10 points to go with nine rebounds.
Wheelock led LC with 14 points and five rebounds.
The Vikings took advantage of their size.
CdA posts Carli Rosenthal and Kendalyn Brainard were especially effective, and the T-Wolves didn’t have an answer for them.
The Vikings (14-1, 2-0) opened a 28-11 lead in the first half.
“The defense in the first half was really good,” CdA coach Dale Poffenroth said. “The kids were scrambling to the ball, knocking the ball free … and limiting what they (the T-Wolves) did.”
Despite the big hole, LC (10-4, 1-2) fought back, pulling within 36-30 when Gina Mitchell made a 3-pointer with 2:05 to go in the third quarter.
But CdA closed out the quarter with two baskets to push the lead to 40-30, squelching LC’s comeback hopes.
“We kind of weathered the storm of not getting it done early,” LC coach Royce Johnston said. “We kind of got it going a bit and tightened the game, but we gave them two easy ones to end the quarter.”
CdA used a 10-4 spurt to start the final period, building a 50-34 lead.
Rosenthal, a difficult matchup for LC at 6-foot-3, finished with 11 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists – most of which came to teammates on backdoor cuts.
Brainard, a freshman, scored a team-high 15 points to go with nine rebounds and three assists.
LC guard Sydney Butler had 16 points and nine rebounds.
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