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PREP BOYS BASKETBALL: Coeur d'Alene fends off Bonners Ferry, last year's state 3A runner-up

| November 28, 2023 1:05 AM

BONNERS FERRY — After the 3A Bonners Ferry Badgers stormed back to take the lead on the 5A Coeur d’Alene Vikings on Monday night, the bigger-school Vikings had an answer.

Sophomore Caden Symons scored 11 straight points in a 15-0 run as Coeur d’Alene pulled away from Bonners Ferry 60-48 in a matchup of two of the top teams in the state in their classifications.

“We missed a lot of stuff early and late,” Coeur d’Alene acting head coach Arnold Brown said. “But we stayed in there and scratched and clawed defensively. And Caden was like Stella — he got his groove back.”

Coeur d’Alene (2-0) is expected to challenge for a state title this season. Bonners Ferry, in its season opener, is coming off a runner-up finish at state last year.

“Good team; glad to have played them and see why they are ranked so highly,” Bonners Ferry coach Nathan Williams said of Coeur d’Alene.

“I think we ran out of steam,” Williams added, noting the Badgers are not as deep as they were last year. “Playing (such a strong) 5A team, I wasn’t comfortable playing with some kids as much.” 

Bonners Ferry, which trailed by 10 points after the first quarter, and 12 in the second half, took a 44-43 lead on Trey Bateman’s jumper in the lane early in the fourth quarter. Asher Williams’ two free throws with 5 ½ minutes left put the Badgers up 46-43.

Carter Rupp’s driving layup pulled Coeur d’Alene within one, and Logan Orchard’s steal and score put the Vikings ahead to stay.

Symons then hit back-to-back 3-pointers, added a runner in the lane, and sank 3 of 4 free throws to hike Coeur d’Alene’s lead to 58-46 with 1:02 remaining.

“You could see why (the Badgers) have the potential to be state champs,” Brown said. “They never led down. They made that run, and we were able to withstand it. We went to that press, and our press slowed them down from running their stuff.”

Symons and Kai Wheeler each finished with 15 points for Coeur d’Alene. Orchard added 11 points, Rupp 10.

Asher Williams, son of the coach and last year’s 3A Player of the Year, scored a game-high 21 points for Bonners Ferry. Bateman added 11.

Coeur d’Alene is back at it on Monday at Moscow.

Bonners Ferry returns to action next Tuesday at Deer Park.

Coeur d’Alene 21    14    8    17    —    60

Bonners Ferry    11    12    17    8    —    48

COEUR d’ALENE — Orchard 11, Rupp 10, Nipp 0, Entzi 5, Riley 4, Wheeler 15, Sylte 0, Symons 15.

BONNERS FERRY — Blackmore 3, Rice 2, Smith 0, Hinthorn 2, Williams 21, Th. Bateman 9, Tr. Bateman 11.