What the Coeur d’Alene-Central Valley boys basketball game lacked in offensive execution, it more than made up with effort and intensity Friday night.
In a game pitting teams favored to win their league championships, Central Valley withstood a frenetic rally by the visiting Vikings, prevailing 68-62.
The Bears (2-0) led from start to finish, but they needed most of a 15-point lead in order to hold up in the end.
Cameron Tucker made two free throws to extend the Bears’ lead to 57-42 with 6:26 remaining in the fourth quarter.
But the Viks (0-2), who lost 62-60 at Shadle Park on Thursday, just dug down deeper and kept battling.
CV committed two turnovers within 9 seconds of each other as CdA’s extended half-court 1-2-2 zone created chaos, especially with less than 2 minutes left.
Colby Daniels made a free throw and Devin Kluss got a putback on the missed second foul shot, pulling CdA within 63-60 with 56 seconds remaining.
CdA forced another turnover with 34 seconds to go, and Viks coach Kurt Lundblad called his final timeout.
But following the timeout, Max Sykes got a steal, and CV made 4 of 6 free throws in the final 27 seconds to thwart CdA’s comeback bid.
“We were this close to getting blown out and starting up the bus,” Lundblad said. “We got exactly what we wanted out of these two games but we were disappointed not to get a win.”
Each team finished with 22 turnovers – many of them caused by the other team.
CV’s top returning player, junior jumping jack Cameron Tucker, picked up two fouls just 2:34 into the first quarter, and coach Rick Sloan sat him the rest of the first half.
Tucker came up big in the second half with 11 points. But it was the steady play of Michael Hannan that provided a big spark to what appears to be a deep bench.
Hannan finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Sloan saw much to like, but didn’t like the last couple of minutes.
“We had them on the ropes,” Sloan said. “I didn’t like the way we finished but we got the win. To their (the Viks’) credit they kept battling and battling.”
Kluss led CdA with 18 points, sophomore Joey Naccarato had 15, his senior brother, Tony, had 10 and eight rebounds and sophomore Brody Lundblad had 10 points and five steals.
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