Sharing and balance are synonymous with Timberlake girls basketball.
Especially considering that all 13 players on Timberlake’s roster usually play.
Coach Matt Miller had 12 into the 3A District I championship game Wednesday well before the end of the first quarter, as the Tigers were on their way to a 63-28 win over the Bonners Ferry Badgers at North Idaho College.
It was Timberlake’s third straight district title. The Tigers (20-1) head to state, Feb. 18-20 at Middleton High School. The Tigers have finished runner-up four of the last five years.
The victory was also Timberlake’s 20th straight after a season-opening 54-52 loss at Lewiston.
Bonners Ferry (7-12) travels to Priest River (13-8) Thursday in an elimination game. The winner advances to a play-in game Saturday against the District III third-place team at Grangeville to decide a state berth.
Timberlake 62, Bonners Ferry 28: The Tigers’ recipe was on display early.
Fullcourt pressure and unselfish play allowed Timberlake to get out fast.
Timberlake forced 19 turnovers in the first half, opening a 40-14 lead by halftime. The Tigers finished with 15 steals and 12 assists.
“First quarter we looked a little rattled for us, a little hurried on some things,” Miller said. “We settled down and got some buckets to fall. From there we went on a couple of spurts.”
Much like the whole season, the Tigers weren’t challenged in league play and their two district games.
League opponents couldn’t match Timberlake’s strengths.
“Ever since we’ve been healthy, we have 12 to 13 bodies depending on the night,” Miller said. “They’re all very solid, so that’s really the only way we can get them enough time is to platoon them.”
Eleven Tigers scored led by the eight points each from Kellie Lawler and Payten Rhodes.
Timberlake outrebounded the Badgers 40-26. Anna Gardom led with seven rebounds and Shelby Starr had six.
Lawler and Allison Kirby were named co-MVPs of the Intermountain League. What speaks to the Tigers’ acceptance of their roles, Lawler and Kirby combined for just 12 points.
“Going into the postseason we had had eight different leading scorers throughout the season,” Miller said. ‘It’s been really balanced. Everybody contributes in a different way on a different night. They’ve done a really good job of buying in.”
Miranda Wenk led BF with 13 points and nine rebounds.
Priest River 62, Kellogg 49: The Spartans broke open the elimination game in the third quarter, outscoring the Wildcats (10-11) 21-10. Melissa Krampert led the Spartans with 17 points and Rachel Akre added 15. Abby Arthur led Kellogg with 11.
4A Region I
Sandpoint 38, Moscow 26: The Bears trailed the whole game but when they pulled within four points a little more than five minutes to go, the Bulldogs looked to their leader.
University of Montana-bound Madi Schoening scored eight of her game-high 22 points in the final 2:48 as the Bulldogs captured their third straight regional championship at NIC.
Sandpoint took a timeout leading 30-26. That’s when Schoening decided it was time for her to step up.
“I was sitting there (thinking), ‘All right, I’ve got to take control, we’ve got to get the team hyped,’ ” said Schoening, who also had eight rebounds, three steals and two assists. “I was like, ‘Let’s start having some fun,’ because this doesn’t look like fun and that’s when we started to go off.”
Sandpoint, which opened the game with a 10-0 run, scored the final eight points while Moscow (10-10) couldn’t muster any offense.
Moscow used a box-and-one to try to contain Schoening but it wasn’t effective.
Sandpoint coach Duane Ward was concerned when Moscow started cutting into the lead.
“I thought we got into a rush,” Ward said. “It started to slip away from them a little bit and they regained their composure. These kids are really tight, they’re a close-knit group. I’ve never had a group as close as they are. They’re mentally tough.”
2A District I-II
St. Maries 63, Coeur d’Alene Charter 26: The Lumberjacks (18-3) got out to a 35-15 lead by halftime over the Panthers (5-18) in an elimination game at Kootenai. The Lumberjacks advance to take on Grangeville on Thursday. St. Maries must win twice to earn a state berth. Grangeville advances with a victory. Kelsey Auer led St. Maries with 15 points, 17 rebounds and four steals and Alena Davenport had 10 points. May Alexander led Charter with nine.
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