THE FRONT ROW WITH JASON ELLIOTT: The Clichés, Shoes and Seeds of State

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Yes, we know there are traditions when it comes to a state tournament.

Teams have them, as do some players.

AS THE Lake City Timberwolves took to the floor for Thursday’s 5A basketball tournament opener, the team wore similar shoes that day.

The shoes weren’t hard to miss, with multiple colors.

“A few of us had team shoes earlier in the season,” Lake City second-year guard Sophia Zufelt said. “And some of the other girls really liked them and have them too. We had talked about doing it, but we never really followed through on it during the regular season.

For those basketball fanatics, it wasn’t an homage to the all-black shoes the Chicago Bulls wore during their playoffs in the 1990s, but just something the Timberwolves wanted to do.

“We’ve had them pretty much all season,” Zufelt said. “There’s not a whole lot of meaning behind it. We just thought it would be cool since our team of guys have matching shoes too.

Everything a team has to do to come together, right?

When it comes to Ford Idaho Center memorabilia, Post Falls senior guard Lexi Heath will have a lot to say.

As a sophomore, Heath scored 16 points, making 4 of 5 3-pointers in a 69-53 win over Rigby in 2020. Heath missed his freshman and freshman year with a torn ACL in his left knee.

“It brought back a lot of flashbacks to this game walking here,” Heath said. “That game against Rigby was a fun game.”

Post Falls went 8 of 11 from the 3-point line that day.

On Thursday, Heath was 5 of 10 shooting — including 3 of 6 from deep — with a team-high 13 points for Post Falls against Boise.

“I just wanted to try to do it again and bring back some of those memories,” Heath said. “These are my last games, so I really have to put everything on the pitch. I really can’t hold anything back now and I have to keep giving my best.

This IS the first year the Idaho High School Activities Association has used MaxPreps leaderboards to seed state tournaments. In the 5A tournament, fourth-seeded Post Falls and third-seeded Thunder Ridge were defeated on day one. But these seeds could have been very different if the schedule had gone as planned.

“We were supposed to play Lake City and Coeur d’Alene earlier this year,” Boise coach Kim Brydges said. “We made commercial plays with those two, and this year we were supposed to go to them.”

But the COVID pandemic had other ideas in November, when the Braves were scheduled to travel to Coeur d’Alene.

“Our district had a no-nights rule in place,” Brydges said. “So we had to scramble to find games. Luckily Lewiston was able to come and play us, which was fantastic, but that’s also why we’re short because we couldn’t get another opponent to come and play us.

Post Falls (21.90 odds) finished ahead of Boise (21.88) in regular season final odds, giving the Trojans a higher seed.

“It’s a shame because it made a bit of a difference in terms of the standings because we didn’t get to play some of those teams out of state,” Brydges said. “And that really could have helped us a bit.”

Jason Elliott is a sports reporter for The Press. He can be reached by phone at 208-664-8176, Ext. 2020 or by email at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @JECdAPress.


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