Back in his early days as a head coach, Jim Winger was known to have a fiery halftime speech or two.
The Lake City boys basketball coach has mellowed with age and understands that method probably doesn’t work often today.
But he harkened back to his early days Friday, peeling the paint some off in the locker room.
It must have worked as Winger’s Timberwolves responded in the second half to knock off the rival Coeur d’Alene Vikings 66-60 in an Inland Empire League and Fight for the Fish game at LC.
In the opener, the Lake City girls pulled away from the Vikings 55-37.
Lake City 66, Coeur d’Alene 60: What had Winger frustrated was his team’s 0-for-8 shooting at the free-throw line and 14 turnovers in the first half.
Still, the T-Wolves (10-2 overall, 1-1 league) managed to go into intermission only trailing 24-22.
LC didn’t shoot an overly warm percentage from the foul line in the second half (14 of 22), but it was enough for the T-Wolves to hold off the Vikings (4-7, 1-2).
The play of senior point guard Kenny Louie-McGee also proved pivotal. Louie-McGee scored 22 of his game-high 31 points in the final two quarters.
LC bounced back in the third quarter to take a 39-37 lead into the final period.
Two made foul shots from Kodie Kolden gave LC its biggest lead at 53-45 with 3:52 remaining.
CdA pulled within two points twice in the final 43 seconds. Needing at least one free throw to make it a two-possession game, Louie-McGee made the second of a double bonus to increase LC’s lead to 62-58.
Louie-McGee got two more free throws and a run out as time expired for the final margin.
“For this day and age I kind of challenged them at halftime,” Winger said. “I don’t do that as much as I used to. I thought we played hard (first half) and got after it a little bit, but 0 for 8 (free throws) and some of the things we did at the beginning of the game I thought it was time to play like we’ve been out there before. Most of them played last year. To be down two they way we played I thought was a good sign for us.”
It was apparent immediately in the second half that the T-Wolves were going to play better.
The reason CdA led at halftime was the play of standout Joey Naccarato. He scored all 14 of his first-half points in the second quarter, and he finished with a team-high 22 to go with 10 rebounds. Colson Yankoff added 17 points and eight rebounds.
“It was a tale of two halves, really (for both teams),” Winger said. “It wasn’t the play either team could do. I won’t speak for Tony (Hanna, CdA coach), but from my perspective. Then I thought the second half was a heckuva ballgame.”
Hanna thought Louie-McGee hit some big shots and the T-Wolves made some key free throws in the second half.
“We kept fighting with the ball in our hands and a one-possession game with a minute to go,” Hanna said. “We kept fighting. It was tight down the stretch and it went their way.”
Lake City 55, Coeur d’Alene 37: The T-Wolves’ 6-foot-4 post Lauren Rewers had 17 points and nine blocked shots as LC took control in the second half.
Nina Carlson added 17 points, Bridget Rieken had a team-high 13 rebounds and Chloe Teets had 10 points and five assists. LC improved to 13-2 and 2-1.
Rieken pushed LC’s lead to 39-28 when she got her 10th rebound for a basket with one second left in the third quarter. CdA (5-8, 0-4) never got closer than 11 points in the fourth quarter.
“I thought we did an excellent job of executing,” LC coach Bryan Kelley said. “Especially our posts. I thought we did a great job of running what we wanted to run and get the ball where we needed to get it, and they finished.”
Kayla Fagan led CdA with 13 points.
“That’s a big team and they put the smack down on us after the run we had early,” CdA coach Scott Stockwell said. “We couldn’t respond. We couldn’t get over the hump.”
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