Bayley Brennan picked a good time to pick up her basketball team Tuesday.
Seemingly whenever Post Falls needed a big basket to quell a surge by Lewiston, Brennan made them.
Post Falls overcame pitiful free-throw shooting and some stretches of inconsistencies to top the visiting Lewiston Bengals 53-39 in the 5A Region I championship game.
The Trojans (19-2) advance to state, which begins Feb. 16 at the Ford Idaho Center in Nampa. Post Falls will open against Mountain View (20-4), the District III third-place team.
Lewiston (14-7) travels to Lake City (17-5) on Thursday for a loser-out game. The winner advances to meet the District III fifth-place team to decide a state berth Saturday.
In a loser-out game Tuesday, Lake City rallied to top Coeur d’Alene (7-12) in overtime.
Post Falls 53, Lewiston 39: The game was never in doubt, but the Trojans made it much more difficult than it had to be.
The chief challenge came at the free-throw line when Post Falls shot just 44 percent, making 11 of 25.
“We just made enough silly errors that weren’t forced,” Post Falls coach Marc Allert said. “Lewiston did a good job but a lot of ours were our own errors getting a little too anxious and trying to do things a little too quick.”
Post Falls’ biggest lead in the first half came at 25-11 before Lewiston used a 7-1 surge to pull within 26-18 at halftime.
The Trojans extended the lead to double digits in the third quarter. A jumper by Kendyll Kinzer allowed the Bengals to pull within 33-28 with 2:50 to go in the period. Post Falls used a 6-0 surge to close the third.
With Lewiston creeping closer again in the fourth, Brennan made a 3-pointer to extend the lead to 42-31 with 5:23 to go.
Lewiston had to turn to fouling with 3 minutes remaining. Post Falls made just enough free throws – 7 of 11 – in the final 2:43 to secure the win.
Brennan finished with a game-high 20 points.
“I thought Bayley played really solid. She was nails,” Allert said. “When we needed a basket, she got a basket. And she got us into our stuff.”
Brennan couldn’t explain the free-throw woes, only to say she knows it’ll be a point of emphasis in pre-state practices.
“When we needed a basket at certain times I looked (to score),” Brennan said.
Junior post Melody Kempton said Brennan saved the Trojans.
“Luckily Bayley pulled it out for us. She had an amazing game,” Kempton said.
Lake City 45, Coeur d’Alene 42: Nina Carlson led the T-Wolves with 15 points and Bridget Rieken added 11. LC rallied from an 11-point deficit in the third.
4A Region I
Lakeland 74, Moscow 45: The Hawks rolled past the Bears in a tourney opener at North Idaho College. The Hawks meet top-seeded Sandpoint on Thursday to decide the regional title and lone state berth. Tauna Kirk had 21 points, Lauren Cooper had 20 and Sofie Schnepf added 14 to lead Lakeland.
3A District I
Timberlake 89, Priest River 32: Intermountain League champ Timberlake kept it rolling in the easy win over the Spartans at NIC. Jacquelyn Mallet had 19 points, Keelie Lawler 15 and Kaylee Jezek 11 for the Tigers, who play Bonners Ferry in the title game Thursday. BF eliminated Kellogg 54-45.
2A District I-II
St. Maries 61, Grangeville 42: The Lumberjacks surged past the Bulldogs to earn a state berth.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.