NAMPA – The stakes in the latest Prairie-Lapwai showdown were formally lower than would have been, if not for the Friday night upsets that matched these rivals against each other once again. They played not for the 1AD1 state championship decided Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Ford Idaho Center, but for third place at Columbia High School.

The teams showed each other tremendous respect – even helping knocked-down opponents stand – until midway through the third quarter. Some unknown but perhaps unsubtle event must have changed the mood in the room before a technical foul – apparently for taunting – that was whistled against India Peery with 2:17 left in the third. From that moment on, the intensity continued to escalate with new possession.

Peery had cut a five-point lead to three with a tough shot, but the technical allowed Lapwai’s Glory Sobotta to answer from the free throw line. After Prairie stopped Lapwai’s ensuing possession, Peery converted a layup-and-one to lift PHS within two, 44-42.

Lapwai’s next possession ended on a block-charge call, with Sobotta driving hard at Prairie’s Madison Shears, who stood in and was favored by the whistle.

Peery was fouled the next time down, and lifted PHS within 44-43.

The third quarter ended on a three-pointer by Lapwai’s Grace Sobotta, who finished with 18 points.

The fourth quarter began with Shears (18 points) converting an “and-one” layup of her own. Peery leveled the score at 49-all with a three-pointer a moment later. Prairie went on to lead by as many as four, 53-49, but Lapwai tied it, 55-all, on a three by Aurelia Ellenwood (13 points) with exactly four minutes to go.

Peery drew Glory Sobotta’s fifth foul with 2:38 left, and kept the score even at 59-all by making both freebies. But with a game-high 23 points, Peery fouled out trying to check Lapwai’s Sawaya Greene on the very next possession.

If that wasn’t the play of the game, Greene’s encore was: With the score tied at 61, she shut down a drive by Shears with less than a minute remaining, and the transition resulted in a layup by Raquel Domebo (13 points).

Lapwai, up 63-61, called timeout to set its plans with 39 seconds remaining, and the Wildcats held on against Prairie’s end-game press by making their free throws.

Prairie finished 19-5 overall.

Sports Editor

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