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Sports >  High school sports

Clutch: Madi Symons seals Coeur d’Alene district title win over Lake City

UPDATED: Wed., Feb. 10, 2021

Coaches love fundamentals. Especially at the free-throw line in close games. And it doesn’t hurt when it comes from your kid.

Sophomore guard Madi Symons hit six consecutive free throws with less than a minute remaining and Coeur d’Alene edged visiting Lake City 55-49 in the Idaho 5A District 1-2 championship game on Tuesday.

The Vikings (18-1), ranked No. 1 in the final state media poll, advance to the state tournament next weekend. The Timberwolves (13-6) face Post Falls in the district second-place game on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. for a trip to state.

Post Falls (12-7) handled Lewiston (2-15) 49-38 in an elimination game on Tuesday.

“I’ve been working on those free throws all season, so I’m glad I got to get those last shots,” Symons said.

“You know when the games are on the line, she’s pretty mentally tough,” coach Nicole Symons said of her daughter at the line. “There’s no one else I’d rather be on there.

“I’ve seen her do it before and I’m just super proud of her. I don’t watch. I put my head down. Hopefully, it goes in. I look if there’s cheering. But yeah, proud of her effort tonight.”

Symons finished with a game-high 25 points and hit 10 of 11 free throws overall. Junior guard Skylar Burke added 19 points for the Vikings.

“We’re not even at our peak yet,” Burke said. “That wasn’t even our best basketball and we still came out on top, and I just can’t wait to see what we do at state.”

“This feels really good,” Madi Symons said. “Our seniors worked really hard all four years, so I’m glad we got to do it for them.

“It’s a new season for us. Clean slate. We’ve got work to do to down at state. Those are some good teams down there.”

CdA coach Symons couldn’t have been more proud of her squad.

“I knew (the Timberwolves) were gonna bring everything they had tonight and I’m glad – I mean, it was a good game, they’re a great team,” she said. “We didn’t shoot as well as we normally do, so we kind of put ourselves in a bind, but man, this is what a district game should be about – both teams playing their hearts out to the very end. I’m just blessed that we came out on top.”

Michigan State-bound 6-foot-4 post Brooklyn Rewers led Lake City with 15 points, including nine in the third quarter when the Timberwolves cut an eight-point halftime deficit to one.

Symons hit a pair of 3s in the first and CdA led 15-14 after one quarter.

The Vikings went on an 8-0 run at the start of the second, but frosh Sophia Zufelt drained a pair of 3-pointers to halt the streak. Symons and Burke nailed 3s later in the quarter and CdA led 33-25 at intermission.

Symons led all scorers with 15 at the break and Burke added 14 for the Vikings. Zufelt paced the Timberwolves with 10, including three 3s.

Rewers was held to two points in the half.

At the start of the third, Rewers finally got loose for an inside basket. Next time down, she scored from the free-throw line to cut the deficit to six. Rewers drained a 3 and Brenna Hawkins’ 3-pointer with just over a minute left in the quarter made it a one-point game.

“We knew (Rewers) was gonna get hers at some point,” coach Symons said. “We just had to contend with that and try not to get in foul trouble trying to defend her.”

Hailey Jo Parks’ fast-break layup gave LC its first lead of the game at 39-38 with 18.2 seconds left in the third quarter, but Jaelyn Brainard-Adams’ two free throws put the Vikings up 40-39 heading into the fourth.

“We knew that this was gonna be their best game because we both been working so hard all year for this,” Burke said. “We knew they weren’t gonna go out without a fight.”

The teams traded one-point leads for much of the fourth quarter until Tori Younker hit a corner 3 with just over 3 minutes to go to put CdA up 49-45.

That’s when Symons took over at the line. She made a pair of 1-and-1s then iced a couple of bonus free throws to seal it.

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