SPIRIT LAKE — Taryn Soumas started it in the first quarter.
Then Brooke Jessen finished it in the second half.
Soumas scored 10 of her 13 points in the first quarter, and Jessen added 10 of her game-high 18 in the second half, leading the Timberlake Tigers past the Kellogg Wildcats 52-19 in 3A District 1 girls basketball championship game at Timberlake High on Thursday.
“I was just thinking that we needed to keep driving,” Jessen said. “We’re so close to state, and just needed to fight, fight, fight and keep working hard toward that goal. We’ve all improved over the summer and all put in 10 times the work to get back to the championship game (at state).”
Jessen, Soumas and McKeeley Tonkin — who also scored 13 points for Timberlake — were named to the all-Intermountain League team following the game.
“They’ve been doing it all season,” Timberlake coach Matt Miller said. “They’ve been really tough all season. All three of them, they feed off each other and if one of them sets the tone, the other two follow along. They’re hard to guard when you’ve got three legitimate scorers on the court.”
Jessen scored all 10 of her second-half points in the third quarter.
“She came out really well in the second half,” said Miller, who was named co-coach of the year along with Bonners Ferry coach Travis Hinthorn following the game. “It wasn’t anything that I did. It was all her. She came out and really working hard and wanting the ball, her teammates found her and she did a good job of finishing tonight.”
It is the fifth straight District 1 title for Timberlake, which opens at the state tournament next Thursday at 5:15 p.m. PST against the winner of Saturday’s play-in game between the District 4 and District 5-6 second-place teams.
“We’ve been really fortunate to have some great players come through the program,” said Miller, who led the Tigers to their first district title in 2011 before starting the current run with the 2015 season. “You don’t win any kinds of championships without really good players, and same goes with what we’ve done at state. You’ve got to have really good players to get it done there.”
“It’s great to have that in our bag,” Jessen said. “It feels really great to be headed back to state.”
Kellogg fell behind 16-2 midway through the first quarter.
“Our girls worked hard,” Kellogg coach Jana Nearing-Kothe said. “We hustled, and I can’t complain about our effort. It’s real tough to get organized against defensive pressure like that. We’ve got a starting point guard (Jaron Figueroa) that’s injured, and a freshman guard (Grace Nearing) that’s trying to take her place and hasn’t seen pressure like that before. We just got really unorganized and we couldn’t get going. Timberlake is very aggressive and organized.”
Kellogg (10-11) travels to Bonners Ferry on Saturday at 6 p.m. for the second-place game and second bid to state. The winner faces Sugar-Salem (21-2) in the opening round of the state 3A tournament next Thursday at 12:15 p.m. PST at Skyview High in Nampa.
“If we make sure this one doesn’t get into our heads, we can come out strong on Saturday.” Nearing-Kothe said. “Hopefully, we’ll give them a good game. We certainly match up better against them. And I think have the ability to be a little more organized against them.”
Kellogg 6 7 5 1 — 19
Timberlake 21 13 15 3 — 52
KELLOGG — Rauenhorst 0, Senteney 3, Sheppard 2, Cheney 2, Nearing 5, Figueroa 3, Brandt 3, VanHoose 0, Allred 1, Bristow 0.
TIMBERLAKE — Tonkin 13, Soumas 13, Suko 3, Hammond 0, P. Kronenberg 2, M. Kronenberg 0, Gustin 0, Carhart 0, Sande 0, Jessen 18, Bain 0, Jeffs 3, Willis 0.
Bonners Ferry 60, Priest River 32: Baylee Blackmore scored 15 points for the Badgers in a win over the Spartans in a loser-out game.
Sadie Hill scored 11 points for Bonners Ferry (16-6).
Karah Fink scored 15 points for Priest River, which finishes 2-19.
Priest River 9 5 8 10 — 32
Bonners Ferry 17 12 14 17 — 60
PRIEST RIVER — Kren 7, Rusho 2, Fink 15, Fitzmorris 0, Palfrey 0, Barnes 2, Minish 2, Martin 3.
BONNERS FERRY — Blackmore 15, Liermann 2, Jackson 3, Sa. Hill 11, Pluid 10, Ansley 9, Si. Hill 8, Villelli 0, Pinkerton 2.
MVP — Brooke Jessen, so., Timberlake
Coach of the Year — Matt Miller, Timberlake; Travis Hinthorn, Bonners Ferry
McKeeley Tonkin, sr., Timberlake; Taryn Soumas, so., Timberlake; Karissa Willis, sr., Timberlake; Holly Ansley, so., Bonners Ferry; Baylee Blackmore, jr., Bonners Ferry; Jerzie Pluid, sr., Bonners Ferry; Hailey Cheney, fr., Kellogg; Jaron Figueroa, jr., Kellogg; Karah Fink, jr., Priest River.