ELLIOTT: Where they stand headed down the stretch

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For the most part, any challenges presented in the nonconference schedule are long gone as area teams transition into the conference portion of the schedule.

A few, though, will still have a couple here and there, but can look back at the holiday break as a bit of a building block for later in the season.

AFTER GOING 2-2 in the Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas, the Post Falls boys basketball team went 2-1 at the Lake City Holiday Classic, winning its last two games on Thursday and Friday.

“We try to schedule a tough nonleague that will challenge us,” Post Falls coach Mike McLean said. “And we’ve faced a lot of challenges.”

Columbia River of Vancouver, Wash. — the only team to go 3-0 at the Lake City tournament — beat the Trojans 53-46 on Dec. 27. Post Falls followed with wins over Peninsula and Mead.

“Each of these games have given us a chance to learn and get ready for those games that count,” McLean said. “We’ve came a long way as a team. We’re not where we want to be yet, but we’re headed in the right direction.”

Post Falls visits Coeur d’Alene to open 5A Inland Empire League play on Thursday.

Genesis Prep sent its boys team to the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic in San Diego. The Jaguars returned with a 2-2 record.

“We’re a really good team,” said Genesis Prep coach Marsell Colbert, whose team won twice on last-second shots. “We compete regardless of the style of play. We learned that we can compete with anybody.”

The second of those wins came against British Columbia Christian of Vancouver on a Junior Williams jumper in a game that started at 9 a.m.

“It really comes down to bringing your own energy for those early games,” Colbert said. “It’s a good lesson to show these guys what they’re capable of and to continue to push through until you reach those desired results.”

AFTER PLAYING tournaments in Everett and San Jose, as well as in its own tournament last weekend, the North Idaho College men’s basketball team enters Northwest Athletic Conference play 10-3.

NIC visits Yakima Valley on Saturday.

NIC lost at Everett on Dec. 3, then dropped its first two games at the San Jose City tournament, but have won six straight, including a win over Everett last Friday at Rolly Williams Court.

“It’s been a really good last couple of weeks,” said NIC coach Corey Symons said. “We had that three-game skid, but it has been nice to get in front of the home crowd. “We’ve been trying to build our chemistry on the court, and we’re really starting to see that come together.”

NIC also had the chance to see both Wenatchee Valley and Blue Mountain, teams which the Cardinals will be competing against in the NWAC’s East Region for one of four postseason bids.

“It’s a good chance to see them and for them to play in our gym,” Symons said.

Jason Elliott is a sports writer for the Coeur d’Alene Press. He can be reached by telephone at (208) 664-8176, Ext. 2020 or via email at jelliott@cdapress.com. Follow him on Twitter @JECdAPress.

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