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Pirates top Valley, drop Genesee, take second

In her last games under a Pirates flag, Prairie senior Shayla VonBargen delivered two strong performances in the paint — both against Whitepine League rivals. During the championship game against Lapwai, VonBargen tallied 10 rebounds and five points, having demolished Genesee with 20 points on semifinals night.

Photo by Andrew Ottoson
In her last games under a Pirates flag, Prairie senior Shayla VonBargen delivered two strong performances in the paint — both against Whitepine League rivals. During the championship game against Lapwai, VonBargen tallied 10 rebounds and five points, having demolished Genesee with 20 points on semifinals night.



— The Prairie girls sputtered during the first quarter, dominated during the second, persevered during the second half and ultimately, won their 1AD1 semifinal playoff against Genesee, 64-52.

In effect, the Friday night, Feb. 19, battle between the Whitepine League rivals decided second place, as eventual champion Lapwai had beaten both Prairie and Genesee by double-digits in all recent meetings.

The championship appeared foregone both before the tournament and at halftime of the title game last Saturday, Feb. 20, at the Idaho Center. To that point, Lapwai’s Koyama Young had 17 points and the Wildcats had outscored the Pirates 22-15.

Lapwai turned it into a blowout, leading 34-20 midway through the third, but Prairie punctured Lapwai’s aura of invincibility with an 8-0 run to pull within six entering the fourth. The Pirates closed within five with about 30 seconds left and within four just before the final buzzer.

Kylie Tidwell paced the Pirates with 15 points, while Young finished with 25 as the only Wildcat in double-digits.

VonBargen sparks Prairie

Against Genesee, Shayla VonBargen struck early and often. She scored half of Prairie’s first quarter points as Genesee shot out to a 12-4 lead. Then Chaye Uptmor's buzzer-beater at the end of the first launched a 12-0 Pirates run that turned momentum in Prairie's favor.

Genesee tied it at 16-all with back-to-back hoops by gifted scorers Courtney Burt (eight points) and Kaleigh Ranisate (17), after which the lead changed only twice.

Genesee pulled ahead 18-16 on a layup off a steal, Prairie tied it at 18-all with Talyss Lustig's short jumper, and Prairie regained the lead on VonBargen’s foul shots.

Then Angela Wemhoff (who was listed with five first-half steals by a tournament scorekeeper) put in a coast-to-coast layup after picking a Genesee player's pocket, and Prairie was off to the races.

The Pirates led 29-23 at halftime and extended the lead to 14, 49-35, when Lustig (11 points) swooped in to put back a missed free throw. PHS carried a 51-38 lead into the fourth, which Genesee trimmed to eight, 56-48, with a couple of press-induced turnovers.

VonBargen led all scorers with 20, and Uptmor totaled 13.

Tidwell’s 23 trump Valley

Earlier in the week, Kylie Tidwell eviscerated Valley, starting with a steal-and-score layup that good for Prairie first lead, 9-7, on the way to a 48-25 victory.

By halftime, Tidwell had outscored Valley 19-18 and Prairie as a team had nearly doubled the Vikings’ total.

Though the totals were milder during the second half, the Pirates kept up a two-for-one pace and cruised into the semifinal round.

Prairie finished the season with 18-7 record and will graduate four seniors: VonBargen, Lustig Hailey Danly, and Krystin Uhlenkott.



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