For the second year in a row, the Post Falls boys basketball team came tantalizingly close to reaching the 5A State championship game.
But for the second year in a row, a painful semifinal loss kept the Trojans out of the big dance. This time, the culprit was a feisty Hillcrest squad that rallied for a 65-61 victory Friday at the Ford Idaho Center in Nampa.
Post Falls (19-6) plays Borah in the 11 a.m. third-place game Saturday at Columbia High. Hillcrest (21-5) advances to its first title game versus defending champion Rocky Mountain.
“We pride ourselves in playing big-boy basketball, and when you play those types of teams, you can get beat,” Post Falls coach Mike McLean said. “Tonight, we got beat.”
Post Falls senior Jake Pfennigs had his second double-double of the tournament, posting 23 points and 11 rebounds on 7-for-11 shooting. He made five 3-pointers and helped the Trojans play from ahead for most of the night, but it wasn’t enough to hold off Hillcrest’s fourth-quarter rally.
“We made some good shots down the stretch, but they made shots back at us,” Pfennigs said. “They didn’t miss.”
The game was played with good pace throughout. Post Falls led 16-13 after one quarter, 29-25 at half and 47-44 through three quarters, but it could never build a comfortable cushion.
In the pivotal quarter, the Knights’ superior depth and clutch shot-making carried the day. Senior guard Derek Marlowe led four players in double figures with 17 points and Jaxon Weatherly (12 points, six rebounds) came up with two huge offensive boards as the Knights grabbed the lead and held on tightly.
“They got three offensive rebounds there in the fourth to kind of steal extra possessions, and that hurt us,” McLean said. “And I thought they played with supreme confidence. They made some incredible shots.”
Sophomore guard Colby Gennett chipped in 20 points for Post Falls, including two 3-pointers that kept the Trojans within striking distance late. But Marlowe and Weatherly went 6 for 7 at the free-throw line to seal it in the final 2 minutes.
“Post Falls is such a great team, they’re never going to get rattled,” Hillcrest coach Dave Austin said. “You have to keep playing defense and you have to step up in those big situations, and that’s what our kids did tonight.”
Parker Boyle (11 points), Trey Johnson (10) and Kyle Austin (nine) helped carry the scoring load for Hillcrest, which shot 47 percent from the field and 52 percent (11 for 21) on 3s.
Post Falls shot 50 percent from the floor and 47 percent (10 for 21) from distance, but the Trojans were outrebounded 27-22. Each team had just five turnovers.
Last year, McLean felt his team’s deflating semifinal loss to Centennial carried over into the third-place game the next morning. In his final game with the Trojans, Pfennigs hopes to go out a winner.
“We can’t let Hillcrest beat us twice,” Pfennigs said. “We’ve got to come out with a good mindset and a good attitude (Saturday) and try to take home some hardware, at least.”
Twin Falls 61, Moscow 34: Hudson Klundt scored 15 points and the Bruins (19-11) eliminated the Bears (10-14) during the tournament at Borah High School in Boise.
Peyton Broenneke scored 10 points for Moscow.
Twin Falls will meet Bishop Kelly at 8:15 a.m. Saturday for the consolation title.
Kellogg 45, Parma 35: Tyler Gibbons scored 12 points, and Chase Jerome added 10 points and five assists as the Wildcats (18-4) eliminated the Panthers (15-11) at Meridian High School.
Both teams struggled in the second half, with Kellogg shooting 5 of 22 from the field and Parma 4 of 18.
Kellogg will meet Sugar-Salem at 8:15 a.m. Saturday for the consolation title.
Sugar-Salem 61, Timberlake 43: Chandler Pincock scored 16 points to guide the Diggers (21-8) past the Tigers (10-13) in a loser-out game.
Sugar-Salem outrebounded Timberlake 39-19.
Jordan Hardy led the Tigers with 13 points, four assists and three steals.
Ririe 54, St. Maries 28: Jace Johnson and Michael Ure scored 14 points apiece to lead the Bulldogs (22-3) past the Lumberjacks (18-5) in a semifinal at Capital High School in Boise.
The Lumberjacks shot just 3 of 27 on 3-pointers.
St. Maries will meet Declo for third place at 10 a.m. Saturday. Ririe will play Bear Lake for the title.
1A Division II State
Genesis Prep 68, Dietrich 59: Jonny Hillman scored 26 points, hitting 3 of 7 on 3-pointers, and the Jaguars (21-4) defeated the Blue Devils (19-1) in a semifinal at Rocky Mountain High School in Meridian.
Junior Williams added 14 points and six rebounds, and Kon Ajang scored 13 for the Jaguars.
Genesis Prep, riding a 16-game winning streak, will meet Carey (18-2) for the title at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at Ford Idaho Center in Nampa.
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