Coaches often shorten the bench come playoff time. Lake City’s Jim Winger did that out of necessity, and it worked for the Timberwolves on Tuesday.
He played just seven players, and only the five starters scored – but those five were enough.
Kolton Mitchell led the way with 20 points and Lake City beat visiting Post Falls 63-47 in the Idaho 5A District 1-2 title game.
“That’s not totally unusual for us,” Winger said, noting the T-Wolves have been nursing some injuries down the stretch. “We didn’t really sub too much.”
Lake City (16-6), which finished No. 4 in the media poll, is headed to state at the Ford Idaho Center in Nampa.
Jack Kiesbuy scored 17 points, including three 3-pointers, Zach Johnson added 12 points and 6-foot-9 sophomore Blake Buchanan had 11 for the Timberwolves, who found themselves down 19-11 after the first quarter.
“I certainly didn’t think the game would end up the way it did,” Winger said. “But … the kids were very composed when we would huddle. I thought, ‘All right, we’ll weather this and see how it goes.’ ”
Lake City used an extended 22-5 run over the latter stages of the first half through the third quarter to take control. Johnson had eight points during the run.
“Zach is a rebounding machine,” Winger said. “He’s all business out there. He plays really hard, ran the floor well.
“I thought (Kiesbuy) was a huge key for us. We were a little shaky early, but he kept us in there in the first half.”
The schools split their regular-season series this season, with both teams winning at home. This time, though, Lake City had a packed gym cheering for it since the district eased the spectator limitations before the playoffs started.
“It was a big help,” Winger said of the crowd. “To beat Post Falls, they’ve had a three-year run as district champ, they’re the ones we gotta knock off. I have a great deal of respect for (Post Falls coach) Mike (McLean). To beat them anytime is a feather in your cap.”
Caden McLean led Post Falls (14-7) with 17 points and Cole Rutherford added 12.
The Trojans travel to Lewiston for the district second-place game on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
Lewiston 58, Coeur d’Alene 49: George Forsmann scored 16 points and the Bengals (11-6) eliminated the Vikings (7-10) in the 5A loser-out game.
Forsmann, a 6-6 senior, had 12 of Lewiston’s 16 points in the third quarter as the Bengals extended a three-point lead at halftime to 10.
Kash Lang added 14 points and Jace McKarcher had 11 for Lewiston, which overcame a 14-9 deficit after one period.
Cameren Cope paced Coeur d’Alene with 20 points.
Priest River 59, Kellogg 52: The Spartans (14-7) beat the Wildcats (10-8) in the 3A District 1 title game. Details were unavailable. Priest River advanced to state. Kellogg will play host Bonners Ferry in the district second-place game on Wednesday at 6 p.m.
Bonners Ferry 64, Timberlake 53: The Badgers (9-8) eliminated the Tigers (7-14) in a 3A District 1 loser-out game.
Wallace 46, Genesis Prep 40: The Miners (9-9) beat the Jaguars (2-11) in a 1AD1 District 1 first-round game. Wallace is scheduled to face Lakeside on Friday at 6 p.m. in the championship game.
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