NELKE: Another hoops episode of ‘Beat the Clock’

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Tony Hanna is the latest coach to come out in favor of adding a shot clock to high school boys basketball in Idaho.

And this was after the lack of a shot clock helped his Coeur d’Alene Vikings win a key 5A Inland Empire League game last week.

The scenario:

Coeur d’Alene took a 62-59 lead on a 3-pointer by Drew Hostetter with just under 3 minutes remaining.

Lake City came down and missed a 3-pointer. Coeur d’Alene rebounded, worked the ball into the frontcourt, and called timeout with 2:22 left.

The Vikings, with no reason to shoot, ran clock. Eventually Lake City, after chasing, fouled for its sixth team foul of the half. The Vikings weren’t in the bonus, so they took the ball out and ran more clock, then took a timeout with 49.8 seconds left. The Timberwolves fouled with 48.3 seconds left, putting Coeur d’Alene in the bonus.

Sam Matheson hit both ends of a one-and-one. James Carlson answered with a pair of free throws for Lake City, but the Timberwolves, down 3, had to foul again. And again. And again.

All told, Matheson hit 10 of 10 free throws in the final 48.3 seconds, and Coeur d’Alene pulled away for a 72-61 victory.

BUT WITH a shot clock, and Lake City down by 3 with 2 1/2 minutes to go, the T-Wolves could have just played defense, and got the ball back with just under 2 minutes left, instead of having to foul.

“To be honest with you, that’s exactly why I think we need a shot clock,” Hanna said. “Because we shouldn’t be able to do that. In my opinion, we shouldn’t be able to do that — but we’re going to.

“I mean, if it’s the rules, I’m going to use them in my favor. At the same time, if I was on the other side, I would absolutely want a shot clock, and I think there should be.”

Years ago, it was more common for teams to stall at various points of the game — sometimes for an entire half, or an entire game.

You don’t see it that much anymore. You only really see it at the end of quarters, where a team — particularly one with the lead — might be a little more deliberate with the ball with, say, a minute or a minute and a half left.

“I agree, but that’s a really critical time,” Hanna said. “If I’m in their position, and I know I can get a good stop for 45 seconds or whatever I need to, we’re going to get another shot. But right now, if a team is good at keeping it away from you, you’ve got to foul them. And if you’ve got good free-throw shooters like Sammy, you’re going to make most of them.”

OTHER BOYS notes ...

• The 5A IEL season wraps up on Friday, with league champion Post Falls (15-5, 5-0 5A IEL) playing host to Lake City (9-9, 1-4), and Coeur d’Alene (9-8, 3-2) traveling to Lewiston (8-11, 1-4).

Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene have wrapped up the top two seeds to the 5A Region 1 tournament, which begins one week from Friday. If Lake City and Lewiston end up tied for third, Lake City owns the tiebreaker. The teams split in league, Lake City winning by 18 points at home, Lewiston winning by one point at home.

The league is using the same tiebreaker it has in recent years, with each team getting one point for each point in wins by, with a maximum of nine points per game.

• Lakeland (10-6, 1-2) and Sandpoint (6-12, 0-3) could also finish tied for second in the 4A IEL, if Sandpoint wins at Lakeland next Thursday. Moscow has already won the league title with a 4-0 record.

But the only thing a tiebreaker would affect is who wears the home uniforms and who wears the road unis when Sandpoint and Lakeland meet in the loser-out first-round of the 4A Region 1 tournament Feb. 19 at North Idaho College. The winner will play Moscow in a best-of-3 series for the championship beginning Feb. 21 at NIC. Because Moscow went unbeaten in league, the Bears will host Game 2 on Feb. 23, and also host Game 3 on Feb. 24 if necessary.

Had no one went undefeated in league, the Game 1 winner would have hosted Game 2, and the Game 2 winner would have hosted Game 3, if necessary.

A nice idea, an incentive for the lower seed to “steal” a game and the seed, but it didn’t go into effect this year. Sandpoint’s girls, who play Moscow tonight in Game 1 of their best-of-3 regional championship series, also went unbeaten in league.

• St. Maries clinched the Central Idaho League championship last Thursday when Grangeville beat Orofino, giving both two league losses. St. Maries is 3-0 in league with one game left, Friday at Orofino. The Lumberjacks will be the top seed when the 2A District 1-2 tourney begins Feb. 19 at Troy High. St. Maries will play the winner of the first-round game between Grangeville and Orofino in a best-of-3 championship series to determine the league’s lone berth to state.

St. Maries is CIL champions for the fourth straight season, and for the fifth time in six seasons. The Lumberjacks also won the Intermountain League in 2012, their last year in 3A.

• Genesis Prep clinched its third straight North Star League title with its victory Friday at Wallace. The Jaguars have not lost a game since joining the league three seasons ago, going 30-0 (10-0 each year). Genesis Prep won’t play again until its 1A Division II District 1 opener Feb. 21 at Lakeland.

Mark Nelke is sports editor of The Press. He can be reached at 664-8176, Ext. 2019, or via email at mnelke@cdapress.com. Follow him on Twitter@CdAPressSports.

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