Bengal girls basketball's fourth-quarter surge comes up short against Post Falls

Jan. 7—The Lewiston girls' basketball team entered the fourth quarter of Saturday's home contest against Idaho Class 5A Inland Empire League foe Post Falls trailing by 17 points.

The Trojans started putting in their reserves once the quarter got underway, but the Bengals saved their best work for the final frame, with juniors Reese DeGroot and Breanna Albright having exceptional outputs. But it was too little, too late for Lewiston, which fell 51-41 to Post Falls.

"I thought this was similar to a lot of our games this year," Lewiston coach Julie Fisher said. "I thought the first half was a struggle. We just couldn't move the basketball, we weren't taking care of the basketball and we were missing our point guard, Avery Lathen, and you could see that in the first half, we were struggling."

Here's how everything went down:

A race to the finish line

Lewiston (6-10, 1-5) got on the board first in the fourth quarter courtesy of a DeGroot layup off an Albright feed. She was fouled on the way up, and the ensuing free throw cut the Bengals' deficit to 39-25. DeGroot had just four points up to that point, but she was constantly making hustle plays in the first half. Albright's feed to DeGroot was her third of the game. She was also playing at a high clip heading into the fourth.

The pair would go on a tear from there, with DeGroot finishing with a double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds. Albright, who became more of a facilitator due to the absence of Lathen, had eight points, seven assists and 14 rebounds.

A couple of possessions later, Albright would be on the receiving end of a DeGroot assist to cut Lewiston's deficit to 43-25.

After the Albright score, the Bengals would go on a mini 7-0 spurt to put themselves within 45-32 with 4:20 remaining in regulation.

During Lewiston's run, Albright was responsible for all seven points, whether from an assist or scoring herself.

"You could see it out there," Fisher said. "She did a heck of a job. Her 14 rebounds alone contributed so much to that second-half push."

Albright dished out an assist to DeGroot, who buried a corner-3 to bring Lewiston to within 45-32. That was the Bengals' only triple of the game.

Lewiston pulled itself to within 45-36 with 3:16 remaining in regulation following another DeGroot basket off an Albright feed. She scored 12 of the Bengals' 17 points in the fourth.

"She came alive in the fourth quarter," Fisher said. "She had some good looks early on in the game; they just weren't going. She rebounded well too and helped keep us in the game."

The pair connected one more time with 1:30 left in regulation to bring the Bengals to within 47-41. That was the closest Lewiston would get for the remainder of the contest.

Another solid day from your stalwart

It was another routine night at the office for Lewiston's junior center, Addison McKarcher, who recorded a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

She was the cog that operated the Bengals' machine on both sides of the floor. Offensively, she would draw a lot of attention, which would free up scorers like DeGroot. And if she did take it to the rack, she would draw fouls, finishing 3-of-9 at the free-throw line.

On defense, she was a presence down low and had a size advantage against most of the Trojans, finishing with three blocks.

"She's our 'Rock of Gibraltar,' which is what I like to refer to her as," Fisher said. "She is there rebounding every single night, and if we could've got the ball more inside in the first half, I think it goes differently because she does a good job when she has the ball."

Coming out of the gates slowly

Lewiston struggled to find a rhythm in the first eight minutes as Post Falls (6-9, 3-1) outscored it 10-4.

The Trojans weren't explosive by any stretch, but two 3-pointers from senior guard Brooklyn Brennan made the difference.

Brennan was giving the Bengals fits early as she scored 16 of her game-high 23 points in the first half. Her scoring output nearly outpaced the Bengals, who were trailing 29-18 heading into the locker room.

"We need to understand that offensively, you have your transition and your secondary transition, and then you get ball movement after that," Fisher said. "And we have to get the ball to both sides of the court, we've got to get paint touches out, we've got to get inside out. I felt like in the first half we were in such a hurry to shoot the ball like somebody was taking it from us when we just have to take care of the basketball."

POST FALLS (6-9, 3-1)

Kinlee McLean 2 0-0 6, Katie Berg 2 1-2 5, Brooklyn Reese 0 0-0 0, Jenasea Blodgett 0 0-0 0, Olivia Hollenbeck 2 0-0 4, Brooklynn Brenan 9 3-3 23, Bailey Nipp-Berger 1 0-0 2, Leti Asper 0 0-0 0, Myckenzee Mitley 2 1-2 6, Kailey Walton 0 3-4 3, Kayden Allen 1 0-0 2. Totals 19 8-11 51.

LEWISTON (6-10, 1-5)

Addy McKarcher 6 3-9 15, Reese DeGroot 5 1-1 12, Bay Delich 0 0-0 0, Breanna Albright 3 2-4 8, Skye VanTrease 1 0-0 2, Mara Kessinger 0 2-2 2, Taylor Holman 0 0-0 0, Avery Balmer 1 0-0 2, Emery McKarcher 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 8-16 41.

Post Falls 10 19 10 12—51

Lewiston 4 14 4 17—41

3-point goals — McLean 2, Brennan 2, Mitley, DeGroot.

Pixley may be contacted at (208) 848-2290, or on Twitter @TreebTalks.