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Sports >  High school sports

Idaho girls state basketball: Taryn Soumas leads Timberlake past Snake River for 3A title

The hoop is shown as the Memphis Grizzlies and Oklahoma City Thunder play during Game 2 of their Western Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff series Tuesday, May 7, 2013, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
The hoop is shown as the Memphis Grizzlies and Oklahoma City Thunder play during Game 2 of their Western Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff series Tuesday, May 7, 2013, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
By Jordan Rodriguez For The Spokesman-Review

Saturday’s 3A State championship game took on the personality of Timberlake High School’s small but fearless leader, Taryn Soumas.

Poised, aggressive and always in control, the Tigers toppled the Snake River Panthers 42-32 to claim their third state championship since 2016. Soumas, a junior point guard, scored a game-high 16 points as Timberlake led from start to finish at the Ford Idaho Center in Nampa.

“Taryn’s had a tremendous season as a player, but even more so as a leader,” Timberlake coach Matt Miller said. “You could see how our girls kept fighting, kept working to find a way to get the win. That’s Taryn. She doesn’t want to take no for an answer.”

It was a balanced effort for the Tigers (19-4), who also got 14 points and 12 rebounds from junior forward Brooke Jessen and 10 points and five rebounds from junior post Blayre Jeffs.

“We just wanted to keep it simple,” Soumas said. “That’s what’s been working for us, to execute and make the simple play. We were able to do that again today, and it’s awesome, because being here and winning this game has been the goal for all of us from the beginning.”

This was Timberlake’s seventh appearance in the 3A final over the past decade, with the program capturing titles in 2016 and ’17. On Saturday, the Tigers played with urgency from the outset, racing to a 17-4 lead behind aggressive play from Soumas, inside scoring from Jeffs and a suffocating defensive effort. In a stretch that spanned the first and second quarters, Timberlake held Snake River without a field goal for more than 8 minutes.

The key to Timberlake’s defense was limiting Snake River sharpshooter Josee Steadman, who made three 3-pointers to break the 3A state tournament record – a mark previously set by Soumas last year – with 15. But the Tigers, led by Jessen, made life difficult and held Steadman to 6-of-15 shooting, part of a 27% effort for the Panthers overall.

“That was our main priority, not letting her shoot it,” Jessen said. “She got a few shots, but we just stuck with it and kept working hard on defense.”

Steadman finished with 15 points to lead Snake River (15-11). The Panthers picked up their play in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to overcome their early 13-point deficit.

“I thought that was the game – if we didn’t come out as fast and aggressive as we did, the outcome may have been different,” Miller said. “That was a huge deal.”

Timberlake shot 43% for the game, buoyed by Jeffs and Jessen scoring most of their points in the paint. That proved to be a key difference in a short, clean game that only featured 16 total turnovers and 14 combined free-throw attempts.

While Saturday’s game wasn’t always pretty, the outcome couldn’t have been sweeter for Miller and the Tigers.

“This was a new experience for this group, and they rose to the challenge,” Miller said. “I don’t think I’ve ever had a championship team improve as much as these girls did over the course of the season.”

Boise 54, Post Falls 44: Peyton McFarland scored 16 points and the Braves (17-9) beat the Trojans (14-12) in the 5A State consolation finals at the Ford Idaho Center. Allison Ross added 12 points for Boise. Dylan Lovett led Post Falls with 18 points.

Caldwell 44, Sandpoint 29: Jade Martinez scored 15 points and the Cougars (23-4) defeated the Bulldogs (17-9) in the 4A State third-place game at Timberline HS in Boise. Maddie Morgan led Sandpoint with eight points.

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