Bishop Kelly can thank Gonzaga for another trip to the 4A state championship.
Junior wing Aubree Chatterton didn’t play basketball the past two years as she committed herself to club soccer in the winter. The decision paid off when Gonzaga offered her a full-ride scholarship, freeing her to approach Bishop Kelly coach Derek McCormick two days before tryouts looking for a spot.
Chatterton quickly worked her way into the lineup as a defensive stopper, and her steal in the final seconds Friday sealed the Knights’ 52-50 victory over No. 1-ranked Minico in the 4A high school girls basketball state semifinals at Timberline High.
“She came out to tryouts and I said, ‘I can’t put her on the JV.’ She’s just too darn fast,” McCormick said. “I can’t tell you how many times this year she’s run somebody from behind and knocked the ball out of bounds when the other girl has a 25-foot advantage on her.”
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Chatterton flashed that speed Friday after Minico called a timeout trailing by two with the ball in the front court and 4.6 seconds left. Inbounder Jilian Gilchrist slipped the defense of Gabi Harrington with a screen and bolted to the left block. Brinley Stutzman fired a pass to the cutting Gilchrist from the top of the key. But Chatterton abandoned her defender to help Harrington and found herself waiting on the block like the pass was intended for her.
“When I saw them inbound it, I saw those girls’ eyes look down at the block, and I just went for it,” Chatterton.
Chatterton then dribbled up court to run out the clock and celebrate with her screaming teammates as Bishop Kelly advances to the state finals for the first time since winning its only state title in 2013. The Knights (20-5) take on defending state champ Century (20-4), the team they beat three years ago, at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Ford Idaho Center.
Minico (22-4) started the game on fire behind the 3-point line, running out to a 19-9 lead early in the second quarter. But then Bishop Kelly went small, playing the 5-foot-7 Chatterton at power forward to keep up with the Spartans around the perimeter.
The move paid off as the Knights earned stops and Montana-bound Gabi Harrington took over, scoring seven straight points to close the second quarter and send the game into halftime tied at 24-24.
Harrington finished with 28 points on 9-of-17 shooting and added eight rebounds. After 19 points in the opening round, she’s 20 points shy of tying the 4A tournament scoring record.
CENTURY 41, SANDPOINT 28
After graduating five seniors from its first state championship in program history — including the 4A All-Idaho Player of the Year, Montana freshman Henny Hearn — Century entered the state tournament as an underdog.
But the Diamondbacks’ defense carried them back to the Idaho Center for the third time in four years.
“This team, with their work ethic and their dedication, proved everybody wrong,” Century coach Chris Shuler said. “That’s kind of the fire that’s fueling them. Nobody thought they could get back, and here we are.”
Sandpoint could never find its outside shot against a Century defense sagging into the paint, shooting 2-for-27 (7.4 percent) behind the arc and 7-for-41 (17.1 percent) from the floor.
Katie Hiller led Century with 10 points, while senior point guard Rian Rawlings added six points and seven assists.
BURLEY 48, KUNA 33
Burley’s Kortney Hutchison took over the consolation semifinal, racking up game highs in points (20), rebounds (11) and assists (three) to lead the Bobcats into the consolation final against Rigby at 9:15 a.m. Saturday at Timberline.
Allison Law scored eight points and grabbed five rebounds for Kuna (16-7), which went two-and-out at state for the second year in a row.
RIGBY 26, CALDWELL 25
The Trojans held Caldwell to 19.5-percent shooting from the floor to advance to the consolation final. Junior center Kaitlyn Bell led Rigby (12-14) with seven points and eight rebounds. Freshman guard Jalen Callendar paced Caldwell (17-10) with seven points and six rebounds.
Saturday’s state championship games
At the Ford Idaho Center, Nampa
5A: Mountain View (22-4) vs. Centennial (23-3), 8 p.m.
4A: Bishop Kelly (20-5) vs. Century (20-4), 6 p.m.
3A: Timberlake (22-1) vs. Marsh Valley (20-5), 3:50 p.m.
2A: West Jefferson (21-5) vs. Soda Springs (21-5), 1:40 p.m.
1A Division I: Lapwai (20-2) vs. Prairie (18-6), 11:30 a.m.
1A Division II: Richfield (21-6) vs. Dietrich (15-9), 9:30 a.m.