POST FALLS — Granted, the roads of the Genesis Prep and Wallace boys basketball teams won’t cross again this year, no matter what happens the rest of the way in North Star League play.
Not at a district tournament.
Nor a state tournament, should both find their way through the postseason.
Genesis Prep entered this week’s state prep boys basketball media poll ranked third in 1A Division II in the state. Wallace was second in 1A Division I.
“It really prepares us for when we go south for the state tournament,” Genesis Prep coach Marsell Colbert said. “Wallace is one of the best 1A Division I schools in the state every year. It’s really good to have them twice a year.”
On Saturday, Jonny Hillman had 16 points, five assists, five rebounds and five steals as the Jaguars (10-6, 6-1 NSL) avenged an earlier defeat with a 46-35 win over the Miners (12-1, 5-1) at Post Falls Middle School.
“Whenever we play Wallace, it’s a nice atmosphere and it has a state feel to it,” Colbert said. “It really helps us get mentally prepared for those moments later, along with our nonconference schedule that much more.”
Wallace snapped Genesis Prep’s 31-game win streak in league with a 57-50 victory Dec. 13 at Kirby Krulitz Court in Wallace. Hillman did not play in that game because of an ankle injury.
The Miners have been the team most competitive with the Jaguars since Genesis Prep joined the league in 2015.
“It really feels like a play-in game,” Wallace coach Corey Miller said. “They want to compete. We want to compete. We got them last time, so I knew they were going to come out and play incredibly hard. That’s the kind of intensity you get when the gym is packed. The Coeur d’Alene Press shows up and everything else.”
Wallace’s district playoff game against the third-place team from District 2 will be Feb. 21 at Post Falls Middle School. The winner plays the District 4 runner-up Feb. 23 at McCall in a state play-in game.
“Our first game is in this gym, so that helps,” Miller said. “It’s always nice to play in the gym where that game is going to be. I don’t know if they’ll be any less athletic than Genesis Prep, but I doubt it unless it’s Lapwai. It will be a good team, no question.”
Seth Neely and Jacob Schultz scored 10 points each for Genesis Prep, which held Erik Brackebusch to two points in the game. Brackebusch scored a game-high 28 points in Wallace’s win over Kootenai on Wednesday.
“We wanted to make Brackebusch and Zack (Welch) work for their points,” Colbert said. “We wanted the other guys to step up. They played a good game. Corey does a good job with his teams, and this year’s team is no exception. They’re a scrappy, well-coached team. It was gutsy performance on both sides of the floor for both teams.”
Neely had seven rebounds, Schultz six rebounds and Kon Ajang eight points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots for Genesis Prep.
“That’s what we want,” Colbert said. “We need to be able to go to our third, fourth and fifth options. We can’t just depend on Jonny and Kon every night. We need to have guys step up and have that continuity and pick who you’re going to take away, as opposed to knowing who to take away. We have to make teams defend all five guys. We can’t just have teams defending two guys and have the other three guys just doing whatever. We need five guys on the floor that are going to put pressure on the defense. And I thought those guys played significant minutes and it mattered tonight.”
Hillman scored six points in the final quarter for Genesis Prep.
“They’ve got Hillman, and that’s just a tough matchup, both offensively and defensively,” said Miller, who did not substitute. “We didn’t make a lot of shots we usually make, but they played really good defense. It’s tough to say if it was them, or if we just had an off night. They’re a good team. It was a tough battle. Congrats to them.”
Genesis Prep, which picked up a forfeit victory over Mullan in North Star play Friday night when the Tigers chose to play the Jaguar junior varsity instead, visits St. George’s on Tuesday.
Wallace travels to Kellogg on Wednesday.
Wallace 9 10 10 6 — 35
Genesis Prep 8 12 12 14 — 46
WALLACE — Welch 16, Brackebusch 2, Neubauer 11, Brantz 4, Hull 2.
GENESIS PREP — Ajang 8, Peterson 0, Mwinuka 0, Schultz 10, Neely 10, Hillman 16, Gonzales 2, Bohannan 2.