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Coeur d'Alene girls basketball wins record-tying 11th Idaho state championship

The Vikings beat Lake City 58-49 in the 5A state championship game

NAMPA, IDAHO - Nicole Symons summed it all up in just a few short words.

“It’s been a season,” said the Coeur d’Alene High head girls basketball coach.

It sure has.

The Vikings dealt with injury, loss and doubt. But they still ended up as champions.

Coeur d’Alene pulled off the repeat with a 58-49 win over crosstown rival Lake City in the Class 5A state championship game Saturday at the Ford Idaho Center. It’s the first time the program has gone back-to-back in 14 years and now has 11 state titles to its name. 

It ties the Vikings (20-5) with Lapwai for the most in Idaho history.

“Every year has its challenges. And this one had a lot,” said Symons, who got her 100th career win at Coeur d’Alene in the process. “And just for our story to be written the way it was and to end this way, I don’t think anyone ever envisioned it coming. So I think that’s what makes this one pretty sweet and a great experience.”

Coeur d’Alene already had to replace three seniors from last year’s state championship team. This included multiple-time all-state player Madi Symons, who is now at the University of Wyoming. And then it didn’t help either when the Vikings lost their star player Teagan Colvin for six weeks.

The senior point guard who is signed with UNLV, suffered a double fracture in her right shooting hand against Rigby at the Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas on Dec. 20, 2023.

“When it happened I had a lot of emotions going through me,” Colvin said. “It was definitely a brutal feeling, but I didn’t think my season was over. I knew I could come back from that recovery and make it by the end.”

The Vikings also lost several other key players at various points of the season, including younger sister Brookslee Colvin (ankle) and junior Kelsey Carroll (illness). It left them with just six active players on the roster at the end of December.

(All photos by Loren Orr)

Then the losses came.

From late December to January, Coeur d’Alene went 4-3. This included getting swept by Lake City in the regular season. Teagan Colvin tried to come back for the last one at home on Jan. 22, but was limited in a 59-47 defeat. The Vikings had already lost to Rigby and Boise, the latter by double digits earlier in the season.

So the outside noise started coming in.

They were never ranked higher than fourth in the state media poll and had the same seed at the state tournament, even after handing No. 2 Lake City a 19-point loss in the district final.

“I don’t mind being the underdog. There was more pressure last year being the No. 1 seed and the expectations of everyone saying, ‘You’re going to win.’ So I think I was more stressed out last year,” Symons said. “But this year it was like, ‘Hey, nobody’s worried about us. ‘ So we just worried about ourselves and kept getting better.”

Coeur d’Alene saved its best for last Saturday.

Following eight ties and eight different lead changes, the Vikings showed their championship pedigree in the fourth quarter.

They entered with a 42-41 lead. But less than four minutes in, it had already grown to 51-43 after a Teagan Colvin layin.

Coeur d’Alene used its defense to ultimately pull away.

It didn’t allow the Timberwolves to register a single point for a near six-minute stretch. After Kaliah Frazey cut the deficit to 47-43 at the 6-minute and 30-second mark, they didn’t score again until there was only 50.8 seconds left in the game. 

Brookslee Colvin made sure of it with an emphatic block of what looked to be a walk-in layin by Avery Waddington. Colvin is only 5-foot-9-inches. Waddington, a University of Montana signee, stands 6-3.

“I think it just came down to who wanted it more,” Carroll said. ‘These seniors work so hard. They wanted it. The players that came off the bench. They wanted it. I wanted it. We all wanted it so much more.”

Perhaps none more than Teagan Colvin.

She racked up a game-high 25 points and five assists. Fifteen of those points came in the fourth quarter alone.

Colvin got the run started with one of her patented corner 3s before sealing it at the charity stripe. She made eight straight free throws in the final minute of the game. This came just 12 days after getting her cast off and being cleared.

“I could not have scripted it any better, " Colvin said. “A little adversity is good for us. And we went through that and we made it happen. So I could not be happier for this team.”

Carroll was big on the night, as well.

She scored 13 points with nine of those coming in the first half where the Colvin sisters combined for just 11 points. Carroll only had two points the night before in the semifinal win over Boise.

“She’s just an amazing kid,” Symons said. “She works so hard. She doesn’t complain. She doesn’t say a word. Just works for her teammates, works for herself.”

And rounding out Coeur d’Alene players in double figures was senior Maddie Mitchell with 10 points

Frazey led Lake City (25-3) with 23 points on nearly 82% shooting, including going a perfect 3-for-3 from 3-point range. Waddington had 11 points, but nine of those were in the first half.

The Timberwolves were playing in their first state championship game since 2007 - the year of their last title. That was also the last time the two 5A Inland Empire League foes met for it all.