POST FALLS — Two weeks ago, Genesis Prep found itself staring at a 7-9 record, the third seed into the 1A Division II District 1 tournament and seeking the same fire that took the program to a state championship game appearance in 2018.
Consider the switch flipped.
Genesis Prep guard Rachel Schroeder scored 15 of her game-high 25 points in the second half, leading the Jaguars past the top-seeded Lakeside Knights 56-46 in the district championship game at The Courts at Real Life Ministries on Friday evening.
“Having a guard like Rachel makes it easier to coach in tough situations,” second-year Genesis Prep coach Brandon Haas said. “When she can just physically take care of the game, see people that are open, not turn the ball over and make tough shots, it’s a dream to be able to coach that.”
“She was able to get past our initial defender, and another one,” said Lakeside coach Chris Dohrman of Schroeder. “She’s probably one of the most talented players in the league, or other leagues I’ve seen. She’s very smart, and has a high basketball IQ. It’s tough to stay in front of her, and once she gets by you, she has those floaters. And their role players did what they needed to do as well.”
It was the third straight district title for Genesis Prep (12-10), which opens at state against the winner of today’s play-in game between Nezperce and Tri-Valley next Thursday at 5:15 p.m. PST at Nampa High.
“He (Haas) just told us that it was a game we’d have to grind out,” Schroeder said. “Our offense wasn’t flowing, shots weren’t falling and kind of what we had planned wasn’t going as planned. We just had to keep getting the 50/50 balls and keep getting turnovers on defense.”
Genesis Prep enters state on a four-game winning streak, with its last loss coming against Hellgate High of Missoula, Mont., in a nonleague game on Jan. 26.
“We hit a turning point about two weeks ago in our season,” Haas said. “I’ve been telling the girls it’s a 20-game preseason, and you’ve got to get hot at the right time for tournament play. And they completely bought into that in tournament play. And the effects were good stops and great games. I think the girls realized time was running out and we saw the switch and flipped it, and we’ve been playing well ever since.”
Bella Murekatete added 20 points for Genesis Prep. But the senior and perennial all-leaguer, who has signed with Washington State, was left off the 10-person all-North Star League team.
“No comment,” Haas said.
“The biggest thing is we didn’t shoot the ball that well tonight,” Haas said. “But we got some stops defensively. We got some rebounds at the right time, and that kept us in the game. This court can be a little tough at times — and it was only our second time on it — so we knew we were going to have to play defense and get rebounds to win this game.”
Lakeside freshman Jolissa Holt scored 15 points, all coming on 3-point field goals. Tommia Pakootas, who scored 28 points in an opening-round win over Kootenai, finished with eight points for Lakeside (9-10).
“Lakeside gives us a great game and they play with so much effort,” Haas said. “To see those seniors battle it out one last time, it was fun to watch.”
Genesis Prep outscored Lakeside 20-9 in the third quarter, extending a 21-17 halftime lead to 41-26 after three quarters en route to earning the district’s lone berth to state.
“That’s kind of been our issue playing Genesis Prep this year,” Dohrman said. “They’re a good basketball team. In the first game, we played two good quarters and in the second game, we played three. Once again, we played three good quarters here, and you’ve got to play a full game of basketball. Give credit to Genesis Prep. They’re a good basketball team. They’re a hard matchup, especially with Bella and Rachel. Our girls did fight hard and I’m very proud of them for the effort they put out there. We’ve got nothing to hang our heads about. It’s tough not to move forward, but that’s the way it goes.”
Genesis Prep 8 13 20 15 — 56
Lakeside 9 8 9 20 — 46
GENESIS PREP — Morrow 0, Kim 0, Schroeder 25, Greiner 5, Martinez 6, Blood 0, Murekatete 20.
LAKESIDE — J. Holt 15, Twoteeth 3, S. Pakootas 0, SiJohn 3, Olson 0, Adrian 9, T. Pakootas 8, Peters 0, A. Holt 8, Hendrickx 0.
ALL-NORTH STAR LEAGUE
Brooke Stevens, sr., Clark Fork (MVP); Rachel Schroeder, sr., Genesis Prep; Tommia Pakootas, sr., Lakeside; Catie Sheppard, sr., Wallace; Alyssa SiJohn, sr., Lakeside; Ellie Kiebert, jr., Clark Fork; Suzanna Pakootas, sr., Lakeside; Jaden House, fr., Wallace; Lily Simko, sr., Clark Fork; Maggie Howard, sr., Wallace; Tayva Maitland, fr., Kootenai; Sarah Johnson, jr., Wallace.