Friday, July 12, 2024


| February 11, 2024 1:25 AM


Bonner County Daily Bee

SANDPOINT — In the teams’ fifth meeting of the season — and third in four days — the Lakeland Hawks used a large third quarter to take the lead and eventually win the 4A Region 1 championship by beating the Sandpoint Bulldogs 43-35 in Game 3 of a best-of-3 series for the regional title Saturday night at Les Rogers Court.

Lakeland (13-9) advances to state for the first time since 2019, and will open play Thursday at Timberline High in Boise.

Sandpoint, the defending state champion and winner of the last four regional titles, finishes 19-5.

“Tonight was just a performance in which our girls banded together and said ‘we’re going to be resilient, we’re going to persevere — not get too high on the highs and too low on the lows,’” second-year Lakeland coach Tyrel Derrick said. “I honestly don’t have a lot of words; this team is just special.”

Landree Simon had 16 points and three steals for Lakeland, which won the last two games of the series. Lila Kiefer added nine points and 12 rebounds, Macy Bretveld eight points and nine boards, Karstyn Kiefer four steals.

“I think this is a group who have proven so much to themselves,” Derrick said. “I don’t think we’re going down (to state) with a lot of expectations, but I know we’re going to play our brand of basketball, and hopefully that’s good enough to win a game or two. I know the team I have and they compete every second.”

Freshman Brecken Mire scored 12 points for Sandpoint. Karlie Banks added seven points, Demi Driggs six for the Bulldogs, who played the last chunk of the season without star guard Aliya Strock, who suffered a torn ACL in December.

“We’re disappointed in the outcome of the series, but I am so proud of the season the girls put together,” Sandpoint coach Will Love said. “When you step back and look at the season as a whole, they accomplished some really spectacular things that a lot of teams throughout the state would be very jealous of right now. I thought that they did it with class.”

Neither team could really gain an edge in the first half. The Bulldogs led 14-12 at the end of the second quarter. In the third, Lakeland came out on fire, outscoring the Bulldogs 17-8. The Hawks, who led by as much as 13 points, saw Sandpoint rally late as the Bulldogs got clutch baskets from both Mire and Jordyn Tomco. However, it was Lakeland’s Payton Sterling who hit the dagger 3-pointer with 1:28 remaining in the game to put things out of reach.

“It’s obviously tough to know that our season has ended,” said Love, whose Bulldogs had gone to state in nine of the last 10 seasons. “Last year we were one of the few teams who ended their season on a win, but this year we just finished with a loss — a bit short of our goal. I am very proud of the effort the girls put in tonight and throughout the season.”

Lakeland     7     5     17     14    —    43

Sandpoint     8     6     8     13    —    35

LAKELAND — Simon 16, L. Kiefer 9, Bretveld 8, Sterling 6, K. Kiefer 3, Holte 1, H. McMurray 0.

SANDPOINT — B. Mire 12, Banks 7, D. Driggs 6, Laybourne 4, Tomco 4, Richardson 2, Thaete 0. 

    JASON DUCHOW PHOTOGRAPHY Demi Driggs (2) of Sandpoint and Karstyn Kiefer (1) of Lakeland battle for a rebound Saturday night in Sandpoint, in the deciding game of a best-of-3 series for the 4A Region 1 title.