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THE FRONT ROW WITH JASON ELLIOTT: The film, bad shots and noise

| December 5, 2020 1:15 AM

It’s understandable that only until a few weeks ago, Post Falls High boys basketball coach Mike McLean had yet to watch game film of the state 5A championship game in March.

Watching the highlights of that game, a 65-56 loss to Borah High of Boise on March 7, might not be a high priority.

Especially considering that one week later — on March 14 — the final games of a COVID-19 shortened spring sports season were played.

BACK TO that March night at the Ford Idaho Center in Nampa.

Austin Bolt, who is now playing football at Boise State, scored 35 points on 12-of-16 shooting in the championship game. He also had four steals and six rebounds for the Lions, who shot 24 of 42 from the floor.

“I thought that if Bolt doesn’t play at a video-game level where he goes out and makes shots, we win that tournament,” McLean said. “I didn’t think we matched his level of play and it was a level that we hadn’t seen all year. We’re going to have to match the level of each team we play against, and learn to find a way to win those kinds of games.”

For the time being, those games won’t involve fans in the stands. Post Falls won’t open the season until Dec. 17 against Pocatello at a tournament in Middleton. The Trojans’ home opener is scheduled to be against fellow 5A Inland Empire League foe Coeur d’Alene on Jan. 5.

“It will be interesting to play a big rivalry game with nobody in the gym,” McLean said. “Hopefully, the state changes it to allow parents and kids in. We’re not in college, and you only get to do this one time. The kids have a chance to play, but it doesn’t seem like we’re going to have parents for the near future. We can’t control what stage we’re in, but as long as we’re doing what we can not to get sick, that’s our mindset.”

ST. MARIES advanced to the semifinals of the state 2A boys basketball tournament, but had a cold shooting night against West Side, going 13 of 45 in a 62-41 loss.

The Lumberjacks bounced back the next day to finish third, beating Cole Valley Christian 47-29.

In an effort to get some court time, St. Maries was scheduled to play some summer league games in Lewiston and Coeur d’Alene, but those were canceled due to COVID.

“We’ve taken some pride in getting a full season under our belt during the summer,” St. Maries coach Bryan Chase said. “But for a lot of these guys, they haven’t been in the gym since February or March.”

St. Maries, which lost just one player to graduation, opened the season with a 74-47 win over Bonners Ferry on Thursday.

“We’ve got a good veteran group back,” Chase said. “We’re hoping to get back to where we’ve been the last few years. We’ve played in the Lewiston league for the last few years, and were going to get some games with Coeur d’Alene teams. Just playing them during the summer has made us better. Some schools were able to get some games in, but only (sophomore) Greyson Sands was able to play some travel ball, but they didn’t get a lot of games under their belt.”

LAKELAND BOYS basketball coach Dave Stockwell might have summed it up the best when it came to games in gyms without fans.

“The only problem I see is if I start yelling at an official, they might be able to hear me and I’ll get a talking to,” Stockwell said.

Here’s hoping that Dave — and the rest of the coaches in this area — have a few more people in the stands soon to help with that noise.

Jason Elliott is a sports writer for The Press. He can be reached by telephone at (208) 664-8176, Ext. 2020 or via email at jelliott@cdapress.com. Follow him on Twitter @JECdAPress.