Kellogg boys basketball
SPIRIT LAKE — It was a moment that will go down as one of the biggest shots in Kellogg Basketball history.
With 6.7 seconds remaining and the Wildcats trailing Timberlake by three, Kellogg center Gavin Luna caught an errant pass, turned, and fired from deep.
The whistle blew, Luna had been fouled, but then suddenly the building erupted as the ball banked smoothly off the glass and dropped through the net.
A game that will be defined by its last 7 seconds, was actually an instant classic for those watching or in attendance and really was a perfect representation of the rivalry that has blossomed between Kellogg and Timberlake.
Kellogg and Timberlake traded baskets early, with neither team really gaining an advantage, but Graden Nearing’s 3-pointer late in the second quarter had the Wildcats trailing 29-26 at the intermission.
Historically the Wildcats had struggled in the third period, usually finding themselves unable to get any offense going, but that wasn’t the case on Thursday.
Kellogg came out swinging
Behind a strong second half effort from senior Raiden Rickets (10 of his game high 15 points in the second half), the Wildcats jumped all over the Tigers and put themselves on top by four points as the final frame began.
Now, this was the fourth meeting of the season between these two teams and each time the margin had grown more and more narrow each game.
And you could feel that this one was going to come down to something special.
Former Wildcat and resident Tiger shooting guard Jacob James had the Timberlake crowd on their feet as he knocked down four free throws in the final minute to keep the Tigers in control, but as the clock wound down, and the Timberlake crowd began to celebrate, Luna ripped their hearts right from their chests.
“I was waiting for Brennan (Atkins) to shoot the ball, and it ended up in my hands,” Luna said of the final play. “We were running out of time.”
Kellogg coach Jeff Nearing didn’t exactly draw the final possession up the way it played out, but he also wasn’t unhappy as he watched it develop.
“Let’s face it, the shot’s the shot, a turnaround bank shot as you’re getting fouled to force overtime,” Nearing said. “The free throw’s the big shot, and he’s the kid I wanted to shoot the free throw; he’s an 80-percent free throw shooter.”
For Luna, it was the opposite: the three was easy, now it was time to win it.
“I was doing everything to make my arms have feeling,” Luna said.
Luna’s made free throw and a missed Timberlake heave at the buzzer meant Kellogg had captured its sixth straight Intermountain League District Championship and punched their ticket to the state tournament.
Luna’s big 4-point play capped off a marvelous district tournament where he averaged 17 points and 9 rebounds per contest.
“I’m not surprised,” Kellogg coach Jeff Nearing said of Luna. “Good things happen to good people. He’s a great kid; he works his (tail) off for us.”
The last time Kellogg wasn’t the Intermountain League champs was in 2014, but (ironically) the Wildcats knocked off the top seeded Tigers to get into state that year as well.
Kellogg will lock up with Marsh Valley in the opening round of the 3A State Tournament next Thursday at Meridian High School at 6:15 p.m. (MST).
Timberlake knocked off Bonners Ferry on Saturday evening to take the Intermountain League’s second seed to State.
Kellogg 13 13 14 11 — 51
Timberlake 14 15 7 14 — 50
KELLOGG — Waller 0, Rickets 15, Atkins 8, Oertli 1, Nearing 11, Miller 0, Jerome 2, Luna 14.
TIMBERLAKE — Cramer 4, Kluss 11, James 12, Kistler 6, Gardom 14, Dickinson 3.
Kellogg 64, Bonners Ferry 44: The Wildcats jumped out to a big lead over the Badgers in their semifinal matchup on Wednesday, Feb. 20, at Timberlake High School.
No further stats or info was received for this game.
Wallace boys basketball
Prairie 58, Wallace 50: The Wallace Miners’ dream season came to sudden and unexpected end on Thursday night after falling to the Prairie Pirates at Post Falls Middle School.
The Miners had a potentially longer road to the state tournament than they had in years past, but they would need to beat the third seed from the White Pine League followed by another district play-in game and they would be off to state for the first time in a decade.
The Pirates had other ideas. After finishing the season as the second best team in the WPL, and battling through an early loss in their district tournament, they needed the win just as badly as Wallace did.
And it showed early.
The Miners generated very little offense in the first half and trailed 31-18 at the intermission, but the hope was that they could get their shots to begin dropping in the second half.
What happened was kind of a mixed bag for Wallace.
The Pirates were exceptionally stout on defense and only allowed the Miners one made field goal inside the 3-point line, compared to seven made 3-pointers.
As soon as shots started dropping for the Miners they began attacking the basket and getting to the free throw line, where they made up a ton of ground on the Pirates.
With three minutes remaining, the Miners had closed the gap down to just three points, but suddenly there was a lid on the rim that wouldn’t budge.
Meanwhile, the Pirates rode their dominant senior post Spencer Shumacher (17 points) to the win.
Miner standout Zach Welch was fantastic despite struggling early, finishing with 23 points to lead all scorers, while Triston Neubauer chipped in 11.
This play-in game format has not been kind to the Miners over the years, but coach Corey Miller isn’t going to let this game dictate how he looks back the season.
“I’m really gonna miss the seniors. They are such good kids and they are all going to be successful in life and great contributors to whatever community they settle in,” Miller said. “This was a great season and we’re not going to let one game define us.”
Wallace finished its season with a 17-4 record and the memory of one of the most fun seasons in recent history.
Mullan boys basketball
Mullan 51, Clark Fork 41: Luke Trogden scored 19 points and Chandler Holling added 17 points to lead the Tigers past the Wampus Cats in a 1A Division II District 1 loser-out game at the Mullan Pavilion. “Luke was solid the entire game,” Mullan coach Paul Elston said. “Wyatt (King) came in and shot the ball well and hit some shots for us when he was open. We had a bunch of guys that stepped up and did a tremendous job for us.”
Cameron Garcia scored 20 points for Clark Fork, which finished 1-14.
“Garcia, he’s a good athlete,” Elston said. “He had a great game for them.”
Cl. Fork 10 14 9 8 — 41
Mullan 16 12 12 11 — 51
CLARK FORK — Garcia 20, Sutton 7, Constantin 10, Abbott 4, Heisel 0, Holbron 0.
MULLAN — L. Trogden 19, Holling 17, Hess 4, R. Trogden 4, King 7.
Genesis Prep d. Mullan, forfeit: The Tigers, who have played with just five players all season, were down to four on Wednesday as one of them came down with pneumonia. Mullan finished 7-12.
POCATELLO — It was a tough outing for local competitors at the Idaho State High School Wrestling Tournament, but Kellogg did return with a few placers who will carry the program into the next few seasons.
Dakota Eixenberger (106 pounds) finished fourth, while Ethan Guy (120) and Judson Hall (132) both finished sixth for the Wildcats.
“Our kids wrestled hard this weekend and it was a good learning experience for them,” coach Scott Miller said. “We had nine kids who were freshmen or sophomores and seven first-time qualifiers so it was good for them to understand the intensity and the pressure that goes with a state tournament.”
As mentioned, the Wildcats are going to be a tough team to beat next year as they return the entirety of their team, and will look to have Taylor Bush back after being kept out all season due to illness.
“We will return all 21 of our wrestlers from Kellogg, including all qualifiers and placers so we have a bright future,” Miller said. “We have some outstanding middle school wrestlers coming up next year from both Kellogg and Wallace so we are excited about the future.”
Miller was very proud of how his top guys battled down at State, especially due to the fact that this team was led by all underclassmen.
“I’m really proud of our state placers. Judson Hall led our team all season and showed his tremendous heart coming back to take fifth after two difficult losses,” Miller said. “Dakota Eixenberger narrowly lost to the three-time state champion in the semifinals and then came back from that to take a well-earned fourth place. Ethan Guy won 44 matches as a freshman and wrestled his tail off to get on the podium.”
Kellogg finished 17th overall as a team.
98 Carter Stepro (1-2, DNP)
106 Dakota Eixenberger (4-2, 4th)
113 Raymond Heely (1-2, DNP)
120 Ethan Guy (2-3, 6th)
120 Cody Sverdsten (0-2, DNP)
132 Judson Hall (3-2, 6th)
138 Austin Manty (0-2, DNP)
145 Roman Bisaro (0-2, DNP)
160 Austin Stepro (0-2, DNP)
160 Blaine Goodner (0-2, DNP)
195 Carson Hudson (1-2, DNP)
285 Myles Hayman (0-2, DNP)