NAMPA – Nothing would go in the basket in the first half for Lapwai and it felt like everything dropped in for Lakeside. Lapwai fans, including me, could not believe our eyes as the scoreboard showed 44 to 22 at half-time in favor of Lakeside. A humongous surprise to just about everybody from Lapwai as the Wildcats were sitting at a 22 point deficit. First half shooting stats had Lakeside shooting 17 for 25 (68%). In comparison Lapwai shot only 6 for 24 (25%) from the field. Somebody forgot to tell Lakeside they were the underdogs. Can you say, dig a hole ?
Not sure what Coach Zach Eastman said to his Wildcat team at half time, but whatever it was, inspired the Wildcats to come scratching and clawing their way back into the game. Terrell Ellenwood Jones did his part for the comeback effort by splashing 4 NBA range three pointers in a row. Splash! Then splash! Then splash! Then splash, again! So beautiful to watch that three ball splash down into the bottom of the net when Terrell gets it going. Terrel Ellenwood jones had 20 points for the game. And just like that the Wildcats are back in it. By the end of the 3rd quarter, Lapwai had cut Lakeside’s lead down to 4 and you sensed a “here we go” electricity in the Ford Center.
Foul trouble was a concern in the final quarter of the game for both teams as key players were dancing on the edge of fouling out. Eventually, several did. I watched as a kid who looked like a 7th grader came in off the bench for Lakeside simply because he had to.
Lapwai’s stand out player Kase Wynott carried 4 fouls going down the stretch but was careful not get #5. As a result of his controlled caution he finished the game. Ellenwood Jones fouled out. Then Miles went to the bench. Then Yearout had to sit down. Kase Wynott staying in the game is always a very good thing. Wynott was fouled with no time left on the clock in regulation time while shooting a long range three point attempt that barely missed. Wynott stepped up to the charity stripe calm as a cucumber and hit 3 free-throws in a row to send the game into overtime. Wynott finished the game with 40 and he earned every single one of them.
In the end the scrappy Lakeside Knights would not relent as they answered back time and time again with key baskets along with some nerve shaking free-throws. The Knights Vander Brown had a 29 point game and was a huge difference maker for the Lakeside Knights answering the call time and time again. The Knights hit just enough free throws going down the stretch to hang on for the win. In a game where everyone was out of their seats gnawing on fingernails, or grinding their teeth at a referee, one thing is for sure we all got one heck of an Idaho State High School Championship Basketball Game. It truly lacked for nothing.
To express the frustration, the disappointment, the pain, and the deep emotions of losing a State Championship Game is beyond difficult. In fact, there are seriously just no words that would suffice to even attempt to describe it. All I know is the Lapwai Wildcats are an amazing team with amazing coaches and have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. I am confident when I say that those boys in powder blue with the red accent will get right back to their winning ways of that I am sure. Don’t be surprised if the Wildcat Nation isn’t right back here next year taking pictures of a Wildcat team holding one more State Championship Trophy.
I love BASKETBALL. I had a great time and refs seem to always suck on their whistles. LOL. Just kidding but not really !