NAMPA — There’s been times when Post Falls High girls basketball coach Marc Allert has told his junior post, sometimes we just need a “Mel game.”
So what better time than the program’s first state 5A tournament appearance since 2013?
And Melody Kempton, the Gonzaga commit, delivered — finishing with 29 points and 10 rebounds — to lead the Trojans past the two-time defending champion Mountain View Mavericks of Meridian 60-48 at the Ford Idaho Center on Thursday.
“We really competed well,” Allert said. “Mentally, we haven’t been in a lot of situations like that this season and we had the opportunity to fold a little bit. We kind of got knocked back on our heels toward the end of the first half. But the way they came out and played in the second half, mentally and physically, they just did a great job. They executed everything they needed to do.”
Kempton, a 6-foot junior, scored 19 of her 29 in the second half, playing with three fouls from the second quarter on.
“I tell her once in a while, we need a ‘Mel game,’” Allert said. “And that was a ‘Mel game.’ She came out and dominated. Everything she did at the end, she was getting to the basket. And the other kids did a great job of getting her the ball. The spacing was good, but she just finished it.”
Post Falls (20-2) will face Eagle in a semifinal game tonight at 5:15 p.m. PST at the Ford Idaho Center. Mountain View (20-5) will face Highland of Pocatello in a loser-out game today at 12:15. Eagle beat Highland 68-44 in its opening round matchup.
“Eagle, I haven’t seen them play much, but they’re really talented and a good team,” Allert said. “We’ve got our work cut out for us. Whoever we play tomorrow should be really good.”
Kempton finished 9 of 12 from the free-throw line after going 4 for 10 in the Trojans’ regional championship game win against Lewiston on Feb. 7 in Post Falls.
“We had been practicing all the week before state because we did not shoot the ball well from the line in our last game,” Kempton said. “It was important to knock down our shots because of how close of a game these are going to be.”
“She’s a strong player and we don’t quite have the players to challenge her,” Mountain View coach Connie Skogrand said. “She was young when we saw them before (in 2014 at the Coeur d’Alene High Holiday Classic), and wasn’t near as strong as she is now.”
Post Falls took a 12-3 lead early in the first quarter, extending the advantage to 20-10 on a pair of free throws by Bayley Brennan. Mountain View rallied to cut the deficit to 25-23 at halftime.
Post Falls took the lead for good on a 3-pointer by freshman Jacksen McCliment-Call with under five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
Freshman Tyler McCliment-Call scored all 11 of her points in the second half — including 9 of the team’s final 11 points — after junior point guard Bayley Brennan injured her ankle and was limited in the final 16 minutes.
“We didn’t want to lose this game so it was big to get involved on the scoring end,” Tyler McCliment-Call said. “I was a little nervous coming into the game, but hopefully things slow down a little bit from here.”
“Tyler kind of took over bringing the ball up the court, and Jacksen hit a big 3-pointer,” Allert said. “Tyler hit a big shot, that she probably shouldn’t have shot and it went in, and it ended up being huge.”
Mountain View was 18 of 62 from the field and 7 of 12 from the free-throw line.
“Defensively, I thought we really did a good job,” Allert said. “They’ve got some kids that can score and did score in double figures. But we made them earn their shots. Defensively we did a good job, especially in the second half.
Senior Abby Kresier scored 14 points for Mountain View.
“Shots didn’t fall and we didn’t get to the offensive boards,” Skogrand said. “We got outrebounded by double digits and that was huge.”
Mountain View 10 13 11 14 — 48
Post Falls 16 9 15 20 — 60
MOUNTAIN VIEW — Vickery 3, Cladwell 0, Chanhthala 7, Saenz 8, Kreiser 14, Carrillo 11, Anderson 2, Good 3. Totals 18-62 7-12 48.
POST FALLS — Morris 6, Gardiner 0, Brennan 11, T. McCliment-Call 11, J. McCliment-Call 3, Robinson 0, Kempton 29, Parks 0. Totals 19-37 21-29 60.