BONNERS FERRY—The Bonners Ferry varsity girls basketball team ended their regular season in style on Tuesday night, beating the visiting Panthers from Cour d’Alene Charter by 20 points.
The win was a huge morale boost for the team as they head toward the district tournament, especially after getting worked over by Timberlake the night before (36-87).
The Lady Badgers also played Priest River for the second time this season on Jan. 27 and won that away game 53-46.
Tuesday, Jan. 31 was senior night for the Badgers team and all five of the team’s seniors — Elizabeth Cowley, Brittany Spangler, Grace Goughlin, Nicole Donn and Natasha Webster — took the court to start the game. All five of the girls contributed to the win, especially Donn, who had the hot hand in the second half and shot lights out from beyond the arc.
The game started with the Panthers running out to an early lead in the first quarter. The Bonners Ferry team just couldn’t make a shot during the first five minutes and they trailed 0-8 with roughly three minutes left on the clock.
Kadi Bateman ended the dry spell with a three, and that sparked a fire that the home team would continue to stoke as their offense heated up throughout the game. Bateman would hit another three in that quarter, but the Panthers quickly responded with a deep three ball of their own to hold onto the lead as the quarter came to a close.
The home team would open the second quarter with a 5-0 run that brought the deficit down to one, and a forced turnover around minute five set up Grace Coughlin for the breakaway. Coughlin pulled up short in the lane and knocked down a jumper for two to give her team the first lead of the game.
The Badgers’ offense continued to gain traction as the quarter progessed and more of their shots started falling. They led 19-16 at halftime.
Bonners Ferry hit the court with momentum on their side as Coughlin scored the first points of the second half.
The Panthers proved that they weren’t going to roll over easily, however, and continued to find ways to stay in the game. They would tie it up briefly during that quarter but a 3-pointed dagger from Donn dashed any hopes they had of making a comeback.
From that moment on the Badgers really caught fire. Solid defense and smart passing allowed them to build on their lead towards the end of the third and another three by Donn would bring the score to 39-32.
Bonners Ferry played conservative ball at the start of the fourth but went on an offensive tear about halfway through the quarter. Donn contined to shoot well and dropped a couple more three-pointers on the visiting Cour d’Alene Charter team, who by this point looked worn out and sluggish.
With the game clock winding down, the Badgers stretched their lead out to 18.
In the final 30 seconds the Panthers had one last opportunity to put some points on the board but an intercepted pass gave Bonners Ferry one more fast break opportunity. Coughlin took the ball down the court and dished it off to Cowley at the elbow, who knocked down the shot as the final buzzer sounded with the scoreboard reading 57-37, Badgers.
This was the second time this season that the Badgers have played Cour d’Alene charter, the newest member of the Intermountain League, and it was the second time that they won by double digits. The first was on Dec. 8, when Bonners Ferry won 50-37.
On Jan. 30, the night before, the Badgers lost their league game to Timberlake by 51 points.
Timberlake’s leading scorer Allison Kirby put up an impressive 27 points. Three other Tigers players put up double-digit numbers that night, forming an offensive front that Bonners Ferry was unable to handle.
Brittany Spangler and Kadi Bateman led the home team in scoring with 15 combined points.
The Badgers’ defense struggled throughout the game but especially in the third quarter, during which they allowed the away team to score 33 points.
That loss brought their league record to 4-1. One of those wins came three nights prior in Priest River.
Bateman and Spangler also led the offense in scoring that game with 13 points apiece, and Donn was right behind them with 11. Bonners Ferry was able to build up an early lead during the first half and kept at in the second to secure the win.
The Lady Badgers will travel to play in the 3A District 1 Championships next week. Although a potent Timberlake team stands in their way, the girls have proven over the course of this season that they can compete with just about anybody.