After the buzzer sounded on Borah’s 65-56 victory over Post Falls in the 5A state championship game, Borah star Austin Bolt carried teammate Mohammed Naing across the floor.
It was symbolic of the effort Bolt gave all night, willing the Lions to victory in a dominant performance. The senior, who has signed to play tight end at Boise State, scored a career-high 35 points, adding six rebounds and four steals as the Lions (22-5) successfully defended their 5A title.
“We’ve played against (current NBA star) Zach Lavine and other NBA-level guys,” Post Falls coach Mike McLean said. “And none of them dominated a game the way Austin Bolt does. Iron sharpens iron. It’s an honor to play against a program like Borah, and when you compete at that level, sometimes you lose.”
Post Falls (22-4) fought to the end and had a balanced attack with Caden McLean (14 points), Colby Gennett (12), Cole Rutherford (12) and Alex Horning (11) all scoring in double figures. But it wasn’t enough to overcome Bolt, who shot 12 of 16 from the field and earned 17 trips to the free throw line.
“It was a huge accomplishment because we had so many doubters this year,” Bolt said. “I just kept making my post shots tonight, and my guys did a good job getting me the ball for easy shots.”
Borah got off to a fast start, with senior guard Isaac Dewberry scoring nine of his 19 points in the first quarter, including a buzzer-beating 3. Early foul trouble for Horning also hurt Post Falls.
But the Trojans settled in and battled back, drawing to within 24-21 at halftime. Gennett spearheaded the effort, throwing down an alley-oop dunk off an assist from Caden McLean. Gennett added eight rebounds and three steals in his final game for Post Falls.
“All I can say is I’m so proud of my guys,” Gennett said. “We fought to the very end, but they just fought a little harder than us tonight, and we couldn’t get over the hump.”
The second half belonged to Bolt. He scored 26 points on an unstoppable array of hook shots, drives to the hoop and put-back layups as Borah’s lead grew to as many as 14 points.
“We got beat by a really tough competitor, the likes of which I’ve never seen,” Mike McLean said.
Post Falls never stopped competing and made things interesting down the stretch. A full-court press led to several steals, and Rutherford had two three-point plays to help trim the deficit to 60-55 with 1:18 remaining. But the Trojans couldn’t complete the rally, and Dewberry provided the exclamation mark by breaking the press and throwing down a thunderous one-handed jam.
Borah now has 13 state titles, an Idaho record. The Lions also topped Post Falls in the 2011 state final. McLean and the Trojans were seeking their third 5A championship since 2010.
Preston 59, Moscow 43: Cooper Hobson scored 17 points, and the Indians (28-1) defeated the Bears (17-12) in the 4A State championship game at the Ford Idaho Center.
Benny Kitchel scored 12 points for Moscow.
Snake River 47, Kellogg 42: Michael Ibarra scored 14 points, and the Panthers (11-9) defeated the Wildcats (16-8) in the 3A State consolation game in Meridian.
Graden Nearing scored 17 points for Kellogg.
St. Maries 47, Cole Valley 29: Tristan Gentry scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds as the Lumberjacks (19-6) topped the Chargers (15-10) in the 2A State third-place game in Boise.
Randie Becktel chipped in 11 points for St. Maries while Garrett Smith led Cole Valley with eight.
Lakeside 74, Cascade 57: Kenyon Spotter Horse scored 22 points, and the Knights completed their perfect season by defeating the Ramblers (20-4) in the 1AD2 State championship game at the Ford Idaho Center.
Jayson Hall and Day Day Higgins chipped in 12 points apiece for Lakeside (24-0).
Cody Moosman scored 19 points for Cascade (20-4).
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