The Lakeland boys basketball team graduated all its starters off a team that broke a state tournament drought a year ago.
So there’s no way coach Dave Stockwell expected the 2015-16 team, with one player back with any significant playing time, to earn a state berth.
The Hawks matured enough to capture a second straight 4A Region I championship, holding off Sandpoint 43-34 Wednesday at North Idaho College.
Lakeland (10-12) advances to state, March 3-5 at Borah High School in Boise.
“These kids have done everything I’ve asked them to do all year,” Stockwell said. “To their credit, they earned this (state) trip.”
Sandpoint (7-15) meets the District III third-place team Saturday in Grangeville to determine a state berth.
Lakeland 43, Sandpoint 34: The Hawks built a 20-10 lead by halftime.
The lead might as well have been 20 points considering how poorly Sandpoint shot the ball.
Forest Zubaly completed a three-point play to give the Hawks a 32-20 lead with 3:47 to go in the fourth quarter.
Sandpoint fought back, pulling within 32-27. But that’s as close as the Bulldogs would get.
Lakeland’s plan was to get Sandpoint out of its zone and it worked, allowing the Hawks to open the double-digit lead in the second half.
“We hit some timely shots,” Stockwell said.
Kaden Davis led Lakeland with 14 points and Zubaly had 11 to go with seven rebounds. Carlos Collado led Sandpoint with 10 points.
3A District I
Kellogg 73, Bonners Ferry 60: The Wildcats gave up all of a 14-point halftime lead in the third quarter.
No problem. Kellogg seemingly just hit the reset button.
The Wildcats went on another tear, building another 14-point lead before game’s end as they secured a third straight district championship.
The Wildcats (18-4) head to state, March 3-5 at Meridian High School.
Chase Jerome led Kellogg with 25 points, making 13 of 13 free throws. He also had six rebounds, three steals and three assists.
But Jerome wasn’t alone. Toby Colburn, who was announced following the game as the Intermountain League’s most valuable player, had 18 points and five rebounds and Ryan Martin added 18 points.
Kellogg coach Jeff Lambert was especially pleased with his team’s play after it held on to beat Timberlake 60-57 in an opener Monday.
“We discussed how lucky we felt,” Lambert said. “That was more being lucky than good against Timberlake. We went hard last night in practice, kind of like what we did tonight.”
Bonners Ferry (9-12) fought back in the third quarter to pull even at 41-41. Caleb Harrington scored 14 of his team high 24 points in the period on four 3-pointers.
Kellogg didn’t panic and immediately took control.
“We did that a few times didn’t we,” Lambert said of giving up the lead. “We started to pull away and then let them back into it.”
The Badgers (7-15) play host to Timberlake on Thursday in an elimination game. The winner advances to a play-in game Saturday to decide another state berth.
The Wildcats outscored the Badgers 14-4 the final three minutes of the first half for a 33-19 at halftime.
Chase Martin and Tobias Jerome had 10 points apiece for Kellogg in the first half, and they combined for 18 points in the second period.
Jerome made two free throws with 58 seconds to go in the second, giving Kellogg its biggest lead at that point at 31-17. That margin would hold going into intermission.
Timberlake 65, Priest River 48: The Tigers pulled away in the second half in the elimination game. Daniel Smith led Timberlake with 24 points and Brayden Menti added 15. Hunter Hartwig led the Spartans (8-14) with 12.
1A Division II
Genesis Prep 52, Kootenai 25: The Jaguars, in their first year playing sanctioned ball, handled the Warriors in the title game at Timberlake.
The Jaguars (18-4) move on to state. Kootenai’s season ends at 12-10.
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