Vallivue’s Ryan Lundgren is only 28 years old. But the Falcons’ second-year coach pulled a veteran move Friday.
After his team’s 55-45 victory over Idaho Falls in the 4A state semifinals at Borah High, Lundgren left his sport jacket outside the locker room in preparation for the celebratory water fight as Vallivue clinched its first berth in the state championship game since 2008.
“I know these guys,” a soaked Lundgren said. “We work really hard, and we hold these guys to a high standard. So when we win, we love to celebrate.”
Vallivue (19-7) faces defending state champ and No. 1-ranked Preston (22-4) at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Ford Idaho Center for the 4A state championship.
“I’ve been dreaming of this ever since I was a kid,” Vallivue junior Steele Hadlock said. “I know all the other guys were too. It’s just all excitement.”
The Falcons pulled away from Idaho Falls (13-13) in the second quarter and held on for the win despite going scoreless for the opening 6:23 of the fourth quarter. Vallivue’s defense bailed it out and added another chapter to its Cinderella run.
Vallivue had two starters suspended after a scuffle in a district semifinal game against Bishop Kelly. The Falcons had to win one loser-out game without them, and then the district’s third-place game just to qualify for state.
With a trip to the Idaho Center secured, all those emotions came out in the locker room celebration.
“I told them this is the type of story movies are made about and books are written about,” Lundgren said. “Just all the resiliency and backs against the wall, the us-against-the-world mentality. We just find ways to do it on a nightly basis.”
Landon Cain led a balanced scoring effort with 12 points for Vallivue. Nick Fitts added 11 points and five assists, and Hadlock also scored 11.