Bulldogs best Hawks in Double-OT Thriller


Scotty Hocking sets up plays from the top of the key – Zachary McGee

Liam Bradford, Sports Editor

The streak is over! The Sandpoint Bulldogs(6-16, 1-8) won their first league 4A league game out of their last 35 IEL games on Feb. 21. Unfortunately for Lakeland, the Hawks(8-11, 3-6) had their season ended in an absolute shocker of a game that finished 75-73 in two overtime periods. 

The tension between the two rival schools was unmatched in any of the Hawk’s other games all season. Rocking a construction theme, the Lakeland student section held a very high level of intensity. 

As usual in a Lakeland vs. Sandpoint game, there were a few near-altercations in the bleachers between each school’s student sections. The high tension of the entire game was felt as a few Sandpoint parents joined in, heckling the Hawk’s student section. 

“It’s definitely always going to be intense between our schools, and I wasn’t surprised that so many people were getting involved in the smack talk. I guess it can get out of hand at times, but it is the fun of the rivalry,” said Lakeland student Sean Tierney. 

The district matchup was back and forth from the very start, and neither team was able to pull away by a significant margin at any point in the game. The largest lead that either team held was when the Hawks started the second half on an 11-0 run to take a 45-33 lead. However, following this run, in an attempt to stop the bleeding, Sandpoint went on a 10-0 run of their own. 

The seniors on the Lakeland team played very well, including a 26 point performance from Granth Roth, who played the majority of the game with an injury, and a 15 point performance from Bryce Henry, who fouled out early in the second overtime. Roth was outstanding from beyond the arc and made a number of clutch threes to propel the Hawks ahead late in the fourth quarter, 60-57. 

With just over four seconds remaining in regulation, Sandpoint had one last chance to try to force overtime. Rusty Lee passed the ball in to Ethan Butler, who quickly flipped it back to Lee as he sprinted up past the half-court line and fired a prayer at the rim. Lakeland’s defense was somewhat relaxed on this play to avoid committing a foul. However, this gave Lee an open shot, and he drained the buzzer-beater to tie the score at 60 and force overtime. 

In overtime, Hawks forward Alden Waddington was removed from the game with an apparent ankle injury. Waddington was seen after the game with some form of the cast on his leg, and a speedy recovery is hopefully in order for the Hawk’s rebounding king. 

Lee was the leading scorer for the Bulldogs, as he scored 18 points, while Ethan Butler also contributed 17 points of his own. The two of them scoring nearly half of Sandpoint’s points was a very impressive showing out from the two veteran Bulldogs. 

The second overtime period started with each team tied at 67, and with two minutes remaining, Grant Roth hit another dagger three-pointer to give the Hawks a 71-67 lead. After Scotty Hocking and Bryce Henry fouled out, Nick Nowell was given the point guard duties, and he hit a clutch lay-in to give the Hawks a 73-71 lead with 1:06 left in the game. 

After Randy Lane sunk three free throws in two trips to the line, the Bulldogs held a 74-73 lead with just over 20 seconds left in the game. The Hawk’s final full possession ended with Caysen Loutzenhiser attempting a game-winning layup which was blocked by a swarm of Bulldogs in the paint. Sandpoint made one of their two free throws on the other end, as they left less than one second on the clock for the Hawk’s final possession. Grant Roth threw up a prayer as the clock winded down and fell just short of a miracle shot. 

With mixed emotions after the game, Scotty Hocking said, “I think that we played very well, but it would’ve been a great game to win. I feel the worst for these seniors and wish that we could’ve pulled it off.”

The Bulldogs will head to Moscow to play the top-seeded Bears(12-9) in a best-of-three series.