NAMPA, Idaho – State tournament games often are wrought with adversity. And Thursday night at the State 5A tournament, the Post Falls girls faced their share of challenges.
Star senior Melody Kempton was plagued by foul trouble. Point guard Bayley Brennan was mired in a shooting slump. And the entire team was cold from 3-point territory – all against a feisty Capital team that could smell the upset.
Still, the Trojans found a way to survive and advance. Kempton had 20 points and 11 rebounds in just 24 minutes, Brennan hit three big shots in crunch time and sophomore Tyler McCliment-Call scored a game-high 22 points as Post Falls emerged with a 58-55 victory at the Ford Idaho Center.
Post Falls (22-2) faces Borah (19-5) in a semifinal on Friday at 7 p.m. The Trojans are seeking their first state championship since 2013.
“We really came together as a team,” said McCliment-Call, who added nine rebounds and five assists. “It was stressful, but we worked together and stuck to our game plan.”
The game was tight early, but Post Falls opened the second quarter on a 10-0 run and took a 29-22 advantage into halftime. The game turned when Kempton picked up two quick fouls early in the third quarter. With the Gonzaga signee on the bench, Capital went on a 7-0 run and took a 41-38 lead into the fourth quarter.
Post Falls’ ultimate test came when Kempton picked up her fourth foul with 7:09 remaining, forcing her to sit for some crunch time minutes down the stretch.
“I have to do a better job of staying straight up on defense,” Kempton said. “I get really anxious on the bench, but it was awesome to see everyone else step up and keep it rolling.”
After missing her first 10 shot attempts, Brennan came to life with back-to-back buckets that gave the Trojans their first lead of the fourth quarter with less than 5 minutes to play.
A corner 3-pointer by McCliment-Call gave Post Falls a 51-50 lead with 2:21 remaining, and a defensive stop set the stage for the game’s pivotal play.
After a missed 3, senior Mackenzie Morris snagged a huge offensive rebound and found Brennan on the wing. Despite her cold-shooting night, Brennan fired without hesitation, burying the deep 3 for a 54-50 advantage the Trojans never surrendered.
“I knew I had to pick it up and do something for us to win that game,” Brennan said. “It was a great offensive rebound and kick-out by Mack, and I just knew that one was going in.”
Kempton had six blocked shots and Morris finished with eight rebounds off the bench for Post Falls, which won despite shooting 39 percent from the field and 3 of 16 (19 percent) from 3-point land.
Beverly Slater had a huge double-double with 20 points and 16 rebounds to lead Capital (18-6). Elly Johnson added 13 points and seven rebounds, but the Eagles were held to 30-percent shooting.
Middleton 46, Sandpoint 35: Lexi Mitchell tallied 13 points and nine rebounds, Zoey Moore also scored 13 and the Vikings defeated the Bulldogs at Mountain View High School in Meridian to advance to the semifinals.
Grace Kirscher notched 22 points for Sandpoint, which will play Minico in the consolation bracket on Friday.
Timberlake 46, Bulh 25: McKeeley Tonkin totaled 15 points and the Tigers bested the Indians at Skyview High School in Nampa to move on.
Timberlake will battle Sugar-Salem in the semifinals. Emily Gorell led Buhl with nine points.
Snake River 58, Bonners Ferry 51: Josee Steadmon scored 21 points, Kelsey Higginson added 20 and the Panthers sank the Badgers.
Kadi Bateman led Bonners Ferry with 21 points and eight rebounds, while Jerzie Pluid contributed 12 points. Bonners plays Parma in a consolation.
Cole Valley 54, St. Maries 49: Holly Golenor notched 18 points and 13 rebounds, Madeline Cooke added 15 points and 12 boards and the Chargers rallied in the second half to beat the Lumberjacks in an opener at Kuna High School.
Madison Cordell led St. Maries with 18 points, while Kaci Haeg chipped in 10 points and 12 rebounds. The Lumberjacks face Malad in a consolation contest.
State 1A Division II
Genesis Prep 60, Tri-Valley 47: Bella Murekateta scored 33 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and the Jaguars beat the Titans in the opening round at Nampa High School.
Rachel Schroeder added 19 points and seven assists for Genesis Prep, which advances against Sho-Ban in a semifinal.
Grace Ertel paced Tri-Valley with 11 points and six rebounds.
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