Spring of 2020, the Lakeside boys basketball team was a heavy favorite to win the 1AD2 title.
Three seasons later, as members of the 1AD1 classification, that was not the case.
Not even a little bit.
The Knights knew should they make it through the state semifinals they were likely to meet the classification’s heavyweight, Lapwai, winners of the last two state championships, in the final.
And they gave the folks at the Ford Idaho Center a shock.
The Knights ended Lapwai’s 62-game winning streak and took home their second title in four seasons March 4, opening up a 44-22 halftime lead on the Wildcat team that averages 82 points per game and holding off a furious second-half comeback to win 81-79 in overtime.
Vander Brown was the only player left from Lakeside’s 2020 title team, and after coming into his high school career at Lakeside as a champion, he left as one, too.
“Heart matters in the game of basketball, and we had more of it,” Vander said through a scratchy throat following his team’s journey back to Plummer. “Yeah, I’ve been doing a lot of screaming, a lot of talking.”
Starters Vander, Tyson Charley and Qwincy Hall each fouled out before Saturday’s game ended.
Lapwai scored 26 points in the third quarter, getting six shots from beyond the arc from Terrell Ellenwood-Jones in that frame, to cut the Knights’ lead to four points going into the final quarter.
The game was tied at several intervals through the fourth quarter, including the last seconds, and the two went to overtime, where Lakeside held its own against the two-time defending champions and outscored Lapwai 13-11.
“It was a lot of pressure when they came back,” Vander said. “Each time they’d hit a shot I knew we’d have to answer with a big shot, make the right pass, pick up a steal, do something.”
Vander finished with 29 points and junior Liam Hendrickx added 23 points, both hitting key shots late in the game.
“This one means a lot,” Vander said. “A state championship is a once-in-a-lifetime thing, honestly. So to do it twice, and as underdogs, means a little bit more. I mean, 62-0. Nobody had us winning that. We had a plan, and I feel like we came out and executed it. We just wanted it way more than they did.”
Tyson Charley put up 15 points and Brutis SiJohn, later named the tournament’s defensive MVP, added nine points.
The Knights, ranked third in the state coming into last week’s tournament, toppled second-ranked Grace in the semifinals, staving off a late push from the Grizzlies to win 53-51.
Brutis led the team with 16 points and Tyson added 13 points.
Liam scored 14 points in the first half of Lakeside’s quarterfinal win over Potlatch, a 68-44 result.
He finished with a team-high 18 points, followed by Tyson with 17 and Vander with 15.
“Our coach has been telling us how important our sixth, seventh and eighth guys were going to be,” Vander said. “And they did a great job for us, especially in that championship game. Preston Spotted Horse came in late, Corey Rivera, Blaze Callahan, they did a great job.”
Lakeside’s championship marked its third state trophy in four years (2020 – 1st; 2021 – 3rd; 2023 – 1st).
It finishes with an 18-3 record.
Lakeside 81, Lapwai 79 OT
(State 1AD1 Championship)
LHS 23 21 8 16 13 81
LAP 12 10 26 20 11 79
Brown – 29 pts.; Hendrickx – 23 pts.; Charley – 15 pts.; SiJohn – 9 pts.; Callahan – 3 pts.; Rivera – 2 pts.
Lakeside 53, Grace 51
(State 1AD1 Semifinal)
LHS 14 13 11 15 53
GRACE 10 10 14 17 51
SiJohn – 16 pts.; Charley – 13 pts.; Brown – 8 pts.; Callahan – 7 pts.; Hendrickx – 5 pts.; Hall – 4 pts.
Lakeside 68, Potlatch 44
(State 1AD1 Quarterfinal)
LHS 22 13 18 15 68
POT 12 10 15 7 44
Hendrickx – 18 pts.; Charley – 17 pts.; Brown – 15 pts.; SiJohn – 10 pts.; Hall – 6 pts.; Callahan – 2 pts.
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