Another winter is in the books, and it was another winter chock full of golden moments.
Six schools in the region hoisted title banners this winter.
This after taking second four of the last five years in the Idaho State 3A ranks.
The Tigers of Spirit Lake lost their season opener 54-52 at 5A Lewiston and then rattled off 23 straight victories. Coach Matt Miller’s team did it by playing 12-13 players a game.
Miller wasn’t sure playing so many would work. Five games in, though, and he could tell his players had warmed to the idea.
Timberlake was led by juniors Keelie Lawler and Allison Kirby, who were named co-most valuable players of the Intermountain League. Miller rotated his starting five each game, and Lawler and Kirby took their turns not starting.
And when Miller called on his bench, many times he put in five different players at a time.
Miller will lose five players to graduation. He’d like not to have to juggle playing time amongst so many players next year if he can avoid it. Timberlake will be a strong favorite to repeat next year.
What made this year’s team so extraordinary were the ages of the players. The Bears (28-0) started three sophomores and two freshmen. There were three other sophomores and two other freshmen that made up the bench.
CV went into the season with a senior (Emily Burns) and a junior (Courtney Carolan). Burns was going to see minutes off the bench and Carolan was expected to challenge for a starting position.
But Carolan suffered a season-ending injury before the season began and Burns suffered a season-ending injury two thirds of the way through the regular season.
Most of the underclassmen play on the same club team – one that will play against some of the best players across the nation this spring and summer. They’re going to get better.
They’ll need to, really. Next year, there isn’t likely to be a team in league that will push them like Lewis and Clark did this winter.
Colton graduates its final Moser sister, Zoe. But the winning is expected to continue.
The Trojans steamrolled to titles in the Tri-State and Rollie Lane tournaments along with a dominating encore in the State 5A tournament.
And like a year ago, Post Falls will graduate two individual state champs. But the Trojans return plenty of talent and will add some more with incoming freshmen.
Coach Pete Reardon has reaped the fruits of two youth feeder programs – programs established before he arrived at Post Falls. He’ll be the first to tell you that he had great timing when he took the job.
And wrestling that final match both years was the dominating Trevor Eicher.
This time Deer Park leap frogged past Colville to take the 1A state title.
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