The Lewiston girls’ basketball team checked several “firsts” off the proverbial list Saturday after beating Moscow 63-45 in the season opener for both schools.
Among them, the first appearance at its brand-spanking-new high school, the first game without fans in the stands, and the first win of the season for the Bengals and first-year coach Karlee Wilson.
That’s a lot of firsts.
Although fans weren’t allowed because of coronavirus protocols, it was anything but silent in the Lewiston gym. Coaches barked orders from the sideline, point guards shouted out plays to teammates and bench players cheered after every big basket. Add to that the chatter of the game’s radio broadcast in the background, and the constant squeak of sneakers and thud of the ball on hardwood.
“We’re just happy to be out here and be able to compete in this brand-new gym,” said Wilson, a Lewiston and University of Idaho product who coached at Moscow last season. “I thought our girls did great. They came out ready to work and they worked hard (and) executed our plays very well.”
Sophomore Katy Wessels powered the Bengals with a game-high 24 points. The lengthy post dominated in the paint with driving and hooking layups, and a sneaky spin move that helped put Lewiston up by double digits 21-11 midway through the second quarter. Wessels also made a layup to cap a 13-2 Lewiston run to start the second half.
“We were able to isolate her down low, and she was finishing very well,” Wilson said. “She got her confidence early in the game, so we kept feeding it to her and she kept finishing around the rim.”
In the first quarter, Moscow’s Ellie Gray hit a 3-pointer to cut the Lewiston lead to three points at 12-9 in a defense-dominated first quarter. But the Bengals stretched their lead to 35-17 by halftime and 44-21 by the middle of the third quarter.
Lewiston’s fast-break found success in the third as the Bengals built a 27-point lead — their largest of the game. A series of steals led to two or three passes and strong finishes at the glass.
“I think with their press, we were able to get out and run a little bit, which we want to do,” Wilson said. “We do want to play fast. I feel like we do have that advantage with our posts being able to get out and run and our guards being able to push the ball pretty well.”
First-year Moscow coach Alexa Hardick said turnovers were what doomed the Bears.
“We struggled with taking care of the ball,” Hardick said. “I think that really hurt us. Something to focus on for sure.”
Despite the slow start to the game, both teams flashed their offensive potential at times.
During a stretch in the second quarter, Moscow’s Monroe Mastro and Angela Lassen, and Lewiston’s Emily Collins and Ahnika U’Ren traded 3s in rapid succession.
Five Bears made long-distance shots, led by Mastro with a pair. But Lewiston dominated inside and in transition.
Collins tallied 10 points and Ameilia Foss had eight for Lewiston.
Moscow was led by Lassen (10 points), Mastro (six) and Faith Berg (six).
Class 4A Moscow and 5A Lewiston are set to face each other twice more this season. This was a nonleague game, but the next games will count towards the combined Inland Empire League standings.
“We wish fans could be here to experience the win with us, but we’re just happy to play,” Wilson said. “... It’s better than not playing, so we don’t take it for granted that we’re able to get in here and compete against other teams.”
Angela Lassen 4 1-5 10, Megan Heyns 1 0-0 3, Ellie Gray 1 1-3 4, Eryne Anderson 1 0-3 2, Trinity Craig 1 2-2 5, Jessika Lassen 0 0-0 0, Faith Berg 1 4-4 6, Chloe Baker 1 2-2- 4, Elsie Leituala 2 1-2 5, Monroe Mastro 2 0-0 6. Totals 14 11-21 45.
Emily Collins 4 0-0 10, Ahnika U’Ren 1 1-2 3, Ameila Foss 3 2-2 8, Emma Hill 0 0-0 0, Eliza Bursch 3 0-0 6, Katy Wessels 10 4-8 24, Eve Riddle 0 0-0 0, Jenika Ortiz 1 1-3 3, Sydney McRoberts 0 0-0 0, Karli Taylor 3 0-0 9. Totals 25 8-15 63.
Moscow 9 8 14 14—45
Lewiston 14 21 18 10—63
3-point goals — Taylor 3, Collins 2, Mastro 2, A. Lassen, Heyns, Gray, Craig.
Wiebe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, (208) 883-4624 and on Twitter @StephanSports.