NAMPA – For the second consecutive night, the Post Falls boys basketball team found a way to survive and advance at the 5A state tournament.
The Trojans were sharper Friday than they were in their tournament opener, but they had to hold off a furious Capital comeback in the final moments to secure a 61-56 semifinal victory at the Idaho Center.
Post Falls (24-1) advances to the 5A title game, where it will face Highland (22-2) tonight at 7 (PST).
“Things got a little tight, but if I trust our guys in the first three quarters, I have to trust them down the stretch,” Post Falls coach Mike McLean said. “We got a little loose with the ball and missed a few free throws, but our guys stepped up when they needed to.”
Max McCullough, Jake Blakney and Jack Millsap each scored 12 points to lead a balanced attack for Post Falls, which got contributions from up and down the bench. Wyatt Millsap, Luke Anderson, Jacob Pfennigs and Zach Hillman all hit clutch 3-pointers for the Trojans, who shot 58 percent from the field, 50 percent from 3-point territory and only committed nine turnovers—an impressive feat against Capital’s swarming defense.
“A lot of guys made big plays and hit huge shots,” McLean said. “That’s what our team does. We don’t necessarily run plays for any specific player. When you’re in position, we expect you to step up and take the shot.”
Post Falls led 30-27 after halftime and 41-36 through three quarters. The lead ballooned to 48-36 early in the fourth on back-to-back corner 3s by Hillman and Pfennigs, but defending champion Capital would not go away quietly.
The Eagles picked up their ferocious defensive pressure, guarding the Trojans full-court. Meanwhile, guards Derrick White (19 points), Talon Pinckney (10) and Justin Saunders (10) started making shots – some open, others highly contested.
Capital had a good look at the tying shot. White fired from the top of the key, but his 3-pointer rimmed out and Jack Millsap secured the rebound.
The big senior nailed both free throws to finish 10-for-12 on the night, sealing the victory with 5 seconds left.
“We came out more focused and dialed in,” Blakney said. “We’ve been working hard for this since we were little kids, and we didn’t want to go home early at state.”
Post Falls advances to its third state title game since 2010. The Trojans won it all in 2010 and lost to Borah in 2012. This year’s championship opponent, Highland, has been impressive at state, winning its first two games by a combined 47 points.
Burley 46, Lakeland 29: The Hawks came out cold, scoring just 4 points in the first quarter, and built a deficit they couldn’t overcome in a loss to the Bobcats in a 4A State elimination game at Borah High in Boise.
Lakeland trailed by 7 at the half and cut the Burley lead to 3 by the end of the third quarter before the Bobcats (15-11) surged for 19 points in the fourth to put the game away.
The Hawks (16-8), who shot 26.1 percent from the field, were led by Tyrel Derrick’s 10 points.
Burley’s Mackinley Quast scored a game-high 12 points. The Bobcatsshot 24 more free throws than Lakeland (1 for 2).
Kellogg 60, Parma 42: Gus Colburn had 16 points and 10 rebounds, Tucker Gust scored 15 and the Wildcats cruised past the Panthers in a 3A State elimination game at Meridian High.
Colburn, who also led the Wildcats with six assists, buried a game-best three 3-pointers as Kellogg (20-4) never trailed.
Parma (11-15) was paced by Tanne Kramer’s 11 points.
Kellogg will meet Fruitland today at 8:15 a.m. at Meridian in the consolation final.
Soda Springs 58, St. Maries 55: The Cardinals got 18 points from Josh Bowman, 16 points from Riley Yamacuhi and won a back-and-forth game over the Lumberjacks in a 2A State semifinal at Capital High in Boise.
Soda Springs (22-6) overcame a 3-point hole after the third quarter with a 15-point fourth to storm into today’s championship game.
Matthew Smith had 16 points and 9 rebounds, both team highs for St. Maries (17-5). AJ Becktel added 13 points for the Lumberjacks, who play today for third place against West Jefferson at 10 a.m. at Capital.
Council 67, Lakeside 47: Ryan Rosengrant scored 19 points, Jared Neal had 15 points and 10 rebounds and the hot-shooting Lumberjacks chopped down the Knights in 1A Division II State elimination game at Caldwell High.
Council (20-5) shot 55.1 percent for the game.
Hunter Kolar led Lakeside (13-10) with 14 points and Jordan Nilson chipped in 12.
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