COEUR d’ALENE — For 24 of the 32 minutes in Thursday’s 5A Region 1 girls basketball second-place game, Lake City did just enough to distance itself.
But the final eight by Lewiston was enough to close the gap, as well as the Timberwolves’ season at the same time.
Lewiston opened the fourth quarter on a 7-0 run, then closed out the game from the free-throw line as the third-seeded Bengals beat the second-seeded Timberwolves 47-42 at Lake City High in a loser-out game.
“We knew at some point they were going to do something,” first-year Lake City coach James Anderson said of Lewiston. “They’ve got seven seniors that have played together since second grade. We knew at some point, they were going to really push and we tried to stay above it. Tip your hat to them, they did a great job in the fourth quarter. We just couldn’t find the baskets we needed in the fourth quarter and it got away from us. Playing from behind without a shot clock is always a challenge.”
Lewiston (17-7) advances to a state 5A tournament play-in game against Boise (15-10) at Grangeville High on Saturday. Lake City, which qualified for state the last two seasons, finishes 14-10.
Junior Bridget Rieken scored 13 of her game-high 21 points in the second half for Lake City, which finished the night 18 of 49 from the field. Senior Keara Simpson scored seven points for Lake City.
“Bridget was awesome,” Anderson said. “And we knew she would be. She’s such a competitor. Every time she comes out, and in a loser-out game like this, you knew she was going to be off-the-charts good, and she was.”
Lake City graduates three seniors, including one starter (Simpson), off this year’s team.
“I talked to them and the difference between a first-year teacher and second-year teacher is a huge difference for me,” Anderson said. “Coaching staff, getting some continuity. We’ve got some good, young players in the program and we can be really good next year if they stick around and buy in.”
Lake City, which lost 42-24 at home to Lewiston in the opening round of regionals last Friday, took a 20-10 lead on a Klaire Mitchell jumper midway through the second quarter. Lewiston took its first lead since early in the first quarter on a Maya Eke jumper to go up 34-32 lead with 5:43 remaining.
“We just got off to a slow start defensively,” Lewiston coach Dave Cornelia said. “They made some shots and kind of got rolling. I just told them we had to defend like we did (last Friday) and just make a couple of shots. Demi (Randall) was huge in the second half.”
Randall scored 17 points for Lewiston, which finished 17 of 25 from the free-throw line. Lake City went 3 of 6.
“We made just enough free throws down the stretch,” Cornelia said. “It seemed like everyone was going to make 1 out of 2 for a while. We just had to get the lead, and play with the lead. After a third bus trip in six days, we needed some energy somewhere and I thought Maya Eke hit a few huge baskets for us to get the lead.”
Lewiston last went to state in 2015.
Lewiston 8 9 13 17 — 47
Lake City 14 8 10 10 — 42
LEWISTON — Randall 18, Ralstin 3, Cornelia 2, Kinzer 5, Genzer 0, Cady 10, Eke 4, Stoddard 5.
LAKE CITY — Avery 0, Barber 3, Mitchell 4, Teets 5, Rieken 21, Wilson 2, Halliday 0, Rewers 0, Simpson 7.