NAMPA, Idaho – With Post Falls down by one and less than 30 seconds to play, all eyes in the Ford Idaho Center were on Melody Kempton.
But instead of looking to score, Kempton kept her eyes up and found an open teammate. With Borah defenders swarming the Gonzaga-bound standout, sophomore guard Tyler McCliment-Call was left alone in the corner. She took Kempton’s kick-out pass and nailed the winning 3-pointer with 15 seconds remaining as Post Falls edged Borah, 47-45, Friday night.
Post Falls (23-2) advances to play top-ranked, undefeated Eagle (26-0) in the 7 p.m. championship game on Saturday.
“I was just so happy when it went in,” said McCliment-Call, who led all scorers with 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting. She is averaging 23 points and eight rebounds per game at the state tournament.
“She has confidence in herself, and her teammates have confidence in her,” Post Falls coach Marc Allert said. “There’s no doubt in her mind – she’s going to make that shot.”
Few would have predicted the dramatic finish in the game’s early going. Post Falls got off to a sluggish start, but finished the first quarter on a 15-1 run to take a 19-10 lead.
The Trojans extended their cushion to 28-16 at halftime, using hot shooting from McCliment-Call and a pressing defense that gave Borah fits.
But in the second half, the Lions cranked up the intensity and clawed their way back.
“We played with more energy than them in the first half,” Allert said. “They probably got a good chewing out at halftime, because they came out with way more energy.”
Led by senior forward Alyssa Bolt (20 points, eight rebounds), Borah cut the lead to 38-36 after three quarters and took the lead early in the fourth.
The lead changed hands four more times down the stretch – twice on clutch 3-points. With Post Falls leading by two, Borah senior Alesia Jones hit a deep 3 to give the Lions a 45-44 lead with 1:57 to play.
After a Post Falls miss, Borah stalled for almost a minute. But the Trojans forced a jump ball with 31 seconds left, setting the stage for McCliment-Call’s go-ahead shot from the corner. A late defensive stop and a contested rebound by Mackenzie Morris sealed the victory.
Kempton finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds for Post Falls, her second double-double in as many nights. But in the end, it was her heads-up pass that made the difference.
“I could feel two bodies behind me, and I know Tyler is always good for a basket when we need one,” Kempton said. “It’s great to have a player like her ready to shoot it.”
“That’s the best thing about Melody,” added Allert. “She is all about the team and all about winning, and that’s what makes us better.”
The unselfish play helped the Trojans earn a rematch with unbeaten Eagle, which beat Post Falls in a thriller at last year’s state semifinals.
“They’re very good, obviously,” Allert said. “This is the matchup everyone has been talking about. I guess it’s the way it’s supposed to be.”
Minico 44, Sandpoint 36: Saydi Anderson scored 14 points and the Spartans (14-8) eliminated the Bulldogs (14-8) in a consolation round matchup at Mt. View HS in Meridian. Grace Kirscher, an Eastern Washington commitment, scored 11 points to pace Sandpoint.
Sugar-Salem 56, Timberlake 41: Macie Knapp scored 23 points and the Diggers (24-2) defeated the Tigers (20-4) in semifinal at Skyview HS in Nampa. Lilly Kelley led Timberlake with 21 points. The Tigers face South Fremont in the third-place game on Saturday.
Parma 36, Bonners Ferry 24: Madison Jackson scored 22 points and the Panthers (21-4) eliminated the Badgers (18-7) in a consolation round game. Kadi Bateman led Bonners Ferry with 11 points.
St. Maries 62, Malad 58: Kaylee Auer scored 19 points, Kaci Haeg added 16 and the Lumberjacks (15-7) defeated the Dragons (14-10) in a consolation round game at Kuna HS. Shawnee Simpson led Malad with a game-high 28 points. St. Maries faces West Jefferson in the consolation final on Saturday.
Genesis Prep 58, Sho-Ban 45: Rachel Schoreder and Bella Murekatete scored 28 points apiece and the Jaguars (15-9) eliminated the Chiefs (19-7) in a semifinal clash at Nampa HS. Genesis Prep advances to play Butte County in the title game on Saturday. Siona Astorga led Sho-Ban with 19 points.
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