NAMPA - For a team that hadn't been to the state 5A girls basketball tournament since 2008, the Post Falls Trojans looked and played like they were right at home in the confines of the Idaho Center on Thursday afternoon.
And with the team's hotel located near the arena parking lot, they were probably dreaming about it all night.
Dani Failor had 19 points and 17 rebounds - with 15 points coming in the first half - as the Trojans rolled past the Mountain View Mavericks of Meridian 50-28 to open the state tournament.
"It's nice, especially for the girls," second-year Post Falls coach Marc Allert said. "Defensively, I thought we played really well."
Post Falls (22-1) will face Highland (20-2) of Pocatello today in the semifinals at 5:15 p.m. PST at the Idaho Center. Mountain View (18-6) will face Meridian (18-6) in a loser-out game at 12:15.
Highland beat Meridian 63-39 in their opening round game. Post Falls beat Highland 57-44 in a December game at Post Falls High.
The Trojans - who entered the tournament as the top-ranked team in 5A - opened the game on a 16-0 run and held Mountain View to four field goals in the first half and 8-of-45 shooting from the field in the game.
"I was happy with the way we started in the first quarter," Allert said. "I'm kind of surprised we got out to a start like that. But we'd been talking about getting out to a good start. It was a new environment for the girls and I think (that run) was a big part of the game."
For Failor, a 6-foot senior post, the 17 rebounds are a career high.
"It's been a three-step process all year," Failor said. "To win the league, regionals, and then get a win at state. Just winning that game and getting to where we want to be was a great feeling."
Midway through the second quarter, Post Falls senior guard Brooke Litalien was called for a blocking foul, getting knocked to the floor in the process. She missed the remainder of the half with dizziness.
“She hit her head pretty hard,” Allert said. “But they evaluated her and said she had no symptoms (of a concussion). It was good to have her back out there. Her eyes looked good and didn’t have a headache (after the game), so we’ll certainly hope to have her tomorrow.”
Litalien — who signed with NAIA Lewis-Clark State College earlier this week — scored 10 points with two assists and two steals.
“I just read what she (Mountain View’s Destiny Slocum) was going to do next,” Litalien said of the collision. “And then she just plowed into me. When you get hurt, you just play through it. It was a big win for us, and we’re excited about it, but we know we’ve still got two more to go. We just came out and did what we usually do and kept the lead the entire game.”
Slocum, a 5-7 freshman guard, led Mountain View with 19 points. She had seven of the Mavericks’ eight baskets.
“The first four minutes just killed us,” Mountain View coach Connie Skogrand said. “They definitely outphysicaled us. They were able to take it to us and we weren’t used to it. We didn’t get any calls, but bottom line, they just outplayed us.”
Other than Slocum, no one else from Mountain View scored more than two points.
“(Dani) Failor did a good job of posting up and protecting the ball and making shots,” Skogrand said. “My posts (Kayley Hastings and Josie Lawrence) usually do the same thing and counter that, but they just didn’t put the ball in the hole and we didn’t get the ball inside very well. Give credit to Post Falls. They did a good job of taking us out of our game and not letting our posts really do anything like they normally do.”
Following the third quarter, a Mountain View cheerleader fell during a stunt, delaying the game for another 25 minutes for paramedics to arrive and transport her to a local hospital. It was later reported she suffered a concussion, but should be OK.
Mountain View 8 4 3 13 — 28
Post Falls 19 12 8 11 — 50
MOUNTAIN VIEW — Moore 2, Herron 2, Griffeth 0, Slocum 19, Pikes 0, Hardy 0, Olsen 0, Basura 0, Lawrence 2, Hastings 2, Routhier 1. Totals 8-45 12-19 28.
POST FALLS — Allert 0, Gonzales 2, K. King 3, Meehan 0, M. King 0, Smith 1, Litalien 10, Gennett 11, Runkle 4, Failor 19, Waller 0. Totals 16-44 13-22 50.
Katie King from Post Falls High passes the ball into the key as she's pushed by Mountain View High's Aubrey Griffeth.