Rocky Mountain's road leads to 5A girls basketball state final

Grizzlies rally from 17-point deficit to beat Lewiston, reach its first state final.

rroberts@idahostatesman.comFebruary 22, 2014 

— One local team didn't stand a chance, and another brought the drama to the Ford Idaho Center on Friday.

While Coeur d'Alene led from start to finish in its 69-54 semifinal victory against Mountain View, Rocky Mountain stunned Lewiston with a 44-41 come-from-behind win to put the Grizzlies into the 5A state championship game for the first time in history.

Rocky Mountain trailed by 17 points in the first half and by four with 22.3 seconds remaining in the game.

Rocky Mountain faces tradition-rich Coeur d'Alene at 8 p.m. Saturday with the chance to bring the title trophy back to the Treasure Valley for the first time since 2006.

Coeur d'Alene and its northern counterparts have accounted for the past seven championships. The Vikings won three in a row from 2008-10 and own eight titles overall.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN 44, LEWISTON 41

From a distance, it was impossible to tell how Noelle Aragon felt, but it's safe to assume she was nervous.

Probably freaking out.

Even so, she wasn't going to miss those free throws.

Aragon went 4-for-4 from the line in the final 15 seconds to give Rocky Mountain the victory in a semifinal that seemed all but over moments before.

"I tried to keep calm, but I was shaking and I was scared," Aragon said. "I tried to keep my composure, and they went in."

The senior guard was fouled with 14.5 seconds left, and headed to the line with the Grizzlies trailing 41-40. As she made free throws No. 1 and No. 2, the scoreboard turned in Rocky Mountain's favor for the first time in nearly 32 minutes.

It was hard to believe what was happening.

Lewiston held a 41-37 lead with 22.3 seconds left before Rocky senior Carson Pickett hit a 3-pointer from the left corner to cut Lewiston's lead to 41-40 with 15.6 seconds on the clock.

"That didn't even feel like me shooting it," said Pickett, who finished with a team-leading 12 points despite playing with a torn ACL. "Someone else was helping me on that one."

Grizzlies coach Emery Roy immediately called a timeout, and then the unbelievable began to unfold.

Lewiston turned the ball over on its inbounds play, giving Rocky Mountain the ball under its own basket. Aragon got the pass and was fouled in a double-bonus situation.

After Aragon's made free throws, Pickett stole Lewiston's inbounds pass and sent the ball over to Aragon, who was fouled again.

"Once we started catching up, I could see Lewiston started to panic a little bit," Roy said. "We just kept the pressure on, and the girls battled through."

It was a shocking turn of events, considering the Grizzlies managed just one field goal in the first half and trailed by as many as 17 points.

"There wasn't anytime that we thought we were going to lose. Nobody quit; nobody ever thought that it was over," Pickett said. "Even at halftime, when they were running in the locker room cheering, we knew that we could do it."

COEUR D'ALENE 69, MOUNTAIN VIEW 54

The Vikings dominated inside to advance to the state championship game for the second year in a row.

Coeur d'Alene senior Sydney Williams scored 25 points with six rebounds, and teammate Brittany Tackett contributed 12 points and 10 boards.

The combination of inside pressure and feisty play from guard Madison Sumner proved more than the young Mavericks could handle.

"Today I am pretty proud of them. They played good," Coeur d'Alene coach Dale Poffenroth said. "We gave up a few more points than we probably should, but Destiny (Slocum) is so good, she's going to get some."

Slocum - Mountain View's starting point guard - finished with 23 points.

BOISE 49, HIGHLAND 43

Sophomores Issy Hadden and Hanna Orton each scored in double figures for the second straight day to help the Braves reach the consolation game.

Hadden posted 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Orton had 12 points and nine boards in an elimination win over District Five-Six champion Highland (18-5).

"I thought we played a lot more as a team tonight, and last night it was just individuals playing," said Boise guard Megan Lee, who had nine points and eight rebounds. "I think when we play as a team it works a lot better."

The Braves (17-8) play Hillcrest (21-5) at 1 p.m. Saturday at Skyview High for the consolation trophy.

Junior forward Maren Herrud led all scorers with 20 points in the loss.

HILLCREST 49, CAPITAL 43

The Knights held the Eagles to one point in the third quarter to pull away for a victory.

Makell Skidmore (15 points), Lindsay Cook (13) and Sabrina Baldwin (11) each reached double figures for Hillcrest.

Capital led by as much as 29-18 late in the second quarter, but started the second half cold, shooting 15 percent from the field.

Senior Khadija Neumeyer led the Eagles (14-11) with 18 points, and fellow senior Delaney Sauer added 11 points and nine rebounds.

Rachel Roberts: 377-6422, Twitter: @IDS_VarsityX

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