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Smith leads LC boys in tournament opener

by Joel Donofrio
| December 29, 2010 8:00 PM

COEUR d'ALENE - Basketball rosters list height, and sometimes weight. Other important attributes, such as quickness and hustle, are tougher to measure.

Lake City showed it had plenty of both Tuesday, beating a larger front line to the ball for key rebounds and steals in a 56-41 win over Lake Stevens in the opener of the Holiday Inn Express Invitational.

Both the Timberwolves (6-2) and Vikings had 30 rebounds, but it was Lake City's array of putback baskets and steals that helped the hometown team pull away in the third and fourth quarter.

"(Rebounding) is something we focus on in practice," T-Wolves senior Brady Smith said. "We're athletic ... we just try to go get it."

Lake Stevens (5-4) led 30-27 midway through the third quarter before Smith and his teammates turned up the intensity.

Smith's 3-pointer knotted the score, then consecutive tip-ins by Smith and Mark Smyly put the T-Wolves ahead for good.

"We gave them eight second-chances in the first half, and they scored on six of them, so that was our emphasis at halftime," coach Jim Winger said of Lake City's rebounding. "We also did a great job defensively, especially defending the post."

Smith scored the first nine points of the third quarter for his team en route to a season-high 20 points. The 6-foot-4 post also snared eight rebounds despite battling opponents who stood 6-7 and 6-6.

"It felt good ... it was just going in for me today," Smith said. "It's fun to play here (at NIC) in front of the hometown crowd. We all played really well today."

Smyly added 11 points and five rebounds, and senior point guard Chris Wheelock had two key drives to the basket to seal the win in the fourth quarter. Burly post player Gunnar Eklund had 10 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out for Lake Stevens, while senior guard Kyle Gellner added 14 points thanks to four 3-pointers.

The Timberwolves face last year's state 3A champs Priest River in a 4 p.m. game today, while Lake Stevens battles Post Falls at 7.

Lake Stevens 10 13 11 7 - 41

Lake City 14 9 17 16 - 56

LAKE STEVENS - Gellner 14, Gasca 2, Dodge 0, Vandegrift 4, Eklund 10, Stoen 0, Pahukoa 2, Dolphin 4, Tomson 4, Nelson 0, K. Smith 0, Iverson 1.

LAKE CITY - B. Smith 20, Wheelock 6, Carlson 4, Hartz 7, Smyly 11, Bevasqua 2, Turner 6, Guice 0, Mitchell 0.

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