SPIRIT LAKE — They’ve been playing for this moment since last year’s state 1A Division II girls basketball tournament.
Taking on tough nonleague competition.
Playing in a holiday tournament with schools twice its size.
The Genesis Prep Jaguars dipped their feet in the state tournament water last year.
After Friday’s 60-49 win over Lakeside in the 1A Division II District 1 championship game, they’ll get another opportunity.
Bella Murekatete had 27 points and eight blocked shots and Rachel Schroeder scored 20 points for Genesis Prep (13-9), which faces Tri-Valley (13-7) in an opening round game on Thursday at 2 p.m. PST.
“We’ve been working hard for this all season,” Schroeder said. “We’ve been preparing for this moment and working hard in practice. We know it’s going to take a lot out of us next week, but we’re prepared and ready for it.”
Genesis Prep finished third last year at state.
Murekatete scored 13 of the Jaguars’ first 25 points.
“She’s matured so much since last year and the summer,” first-year Genesis Prep coach Brandon Haas said. “The fact she can keep her composure when they’re trying to double- and triple-team her, and when you’ve got a point guard like Rachel who can keep calm on the outside and hit the shots we need ... Those two are dangerous and when we can get that deep in our bench — and I’m so proud of that bench tonight — we’re a dangerous team. It was kind of a sloppy game tonight. For the girls to keep their composure, that was very big. And I’m glad to go into the state tournament with maturity like that.”
Alyssa SiJohn scored 15 points and Tara Allen added 13 points for Lakeside (10-12), which was eliminated after advancing to state the previous two seasons.
“They did their best,” Lakeside coach Chris Dohrman said. “That’s a really tough matchup inside with Bella. They’ve got a lot of size on us and we don’t really have a post presence. We’ve got to make up for it with effort, and it’s tough because Rachel (Schroeder) is even tougher too. I was proud of how hard we worked. It was a good season, and we’ll move on.”
Lakeside beat Genesis Prep in the 2016 district title game, then lost to the Jaguars last year. Genesis Prep beat Lakeside in North Star League play 63-35 at Post Falls Middle School on Jan. 20, as well as 48-42 in Plummer on Jan. 30.
“I was proud of how the girls worked,” Dohrman said. “We definitely made Genesis Prep earn it.”
Lakeside 4 5 16 24 — 49
Genesis Prep 7 18 16 19 — 60
LAKESIDE — Brown 5, S. Pakootas 0, SiJohn 15, Allen 16, T. Pakootas 3, Janson 0, Olson 0, Hendrickx 7.
GENESIS PREP — Morrow 0, Schroeder 20, Greiner 3, iManzi 4, Scribner 6, Martinez 0, Kim 0, Murekatete 27.
ALL-NORTH STAR LEAGUE GIRLS BASKETBALL TEAM
Co-Most Valuable Players — Rachel Schroeder, Genesis Prep; Bella Murekatete, Genesis Prep
Brooke Stevens, Clark Fork; Tommia Pakootas, Lakeside; Kaili Gentry, Kootenai; Tara Allen, Lakeside; Kimmie Krous, Wallace; Jen Hayman, Wallace; Kaylee Banks, Clark Fork; Ali Sutton, Clark Fork; Alyssa SiJohn, Lakeside; Courtney Lamb, Kootenai; Maggie Howard, Wallace.