Early in the season, when the second girls basketball contest between Lewiston and Moscow was postponed, the thought started rolling around the heads of athletic directors Corey Williams (Lewiston) and Lance Abendroth (Moscow) of doing something special.
Enter the University of Idaho.
In coordination with the Vandals' athletic department and the support staff, Williams and Abendroth agreed to move that game to the brand new Idaho Central Credit Union Arena.
But instead of making that just a one-game affair, they decided to bring the boys along for the ride.
So at 6 p.m. Monday, the arena will host its first high school basketball event involving area teams, as the Bengals and Bears will play an Inland Empire League crossover doubleheader.
The games will be broadcast on KVTY-FM (105.1) in Lewiston and KMAX-AM (840) in Moscow.
It should be an interesting pair of games.
On the girls' side, the Bengals (7-7, 3-3) have had the highs of highs and the lows of the lows in just the past 10 days. In the championship of the Avista Holiday Tournament on Dec. 30 at the P1FCU Activity Center at Lewis-Clark State College, Lewiston played probably its best game of the season in hanging with Post Falls, which enters this week tied for No. 4 with Coeur d'Alene in the latest Class 5A state media poll. Despite a 56-48 loss, things clearly were looking up for the Bengals.
Then on Saturday, Lewiston coach Karlee Stefanchik lamented the way her team play against that same Trojans team in a 51-36 loss. Even she thought it might have been a step back.
Now, the Bengals get a chance to get right back on the horse against a Moscow (3-11, 0-6) team, that at times, has struggled. The Bears enter this one on a five-game losing streak, the closest being a 41-34 home defeat at the hands of Post Falls.
In the teams' first meeting on Nov 17 in Moscow, Lewiston standout Katy Wessels had 19 points as the Bengals beat the Bears 59-31 at Bear Den. Lewiston outscored Moscow 21-3 in the second quarter of that one.
Meanwhile, in the boys game, the fourth-ranked Bengals (10-1, 3-0) enter winning their two games this week by a combined 52 points after suffering their first loss of the season, 81-63, at the hands of Lapwai in the Dec. 30 Avista Holiday Tournament title game.
Moscow (6-5, 1-2) has yet to find consistency, not winning nor losing more than two games in a row all season.
The two teams have played each other once already this season, in the semifinal round of the Avista on Dec. 29, and the Bengals used a dominating fourth quarter to beat the Bears 60-53.
In that one, Moscow had a 37-32 lead in the third before Lewiston used a 28-16 run the rest of the way. Chanse Eke, Drew Hottinger and Jace McKarcher each were in double figures for the Bengals, and Bryden Brown had a game-high 16 points for the Bears.
Tickets for the game can be purchased by going to https://govandals.evenue.net/cgi-bin/ncommerce3/SEGetEventList?groupCode=BB&linkID=twidaho&shopperContext=&caller=&appCode=. Idaho also will be selling tickets at the gate.
Here's how the rest of the week on the hardwood and the mats shape up:
Fourty contests dot the schedule this week (with the disclaimer of virus, weather, bus drivers and officials pending) and it doesn't include any possible rescheduling of games from postponements that took place toward the end of last week. The heaviest day of the season takes place Tuesday with 14 games, but Friday and Saturday also have a significant numbers contests.
Three games stand out, including the start of Washington Class 2A Greater Spokane League action. Clarkston (5-3) and Pullman (9-1) each have to head to the Spokane area to take on Shadle Park (1-6) and East Valley (3-6), respectively.
The big one could be Prairie (8-1, 4-1) playing at Kamiah (6-4, 3-2) in Whitepine League Division I play. The Pirates, ranked No. 5 in the latest Class 1A Division I state media poll, have stayed steady in winning six in a row, despite a wobble in a 53-49 victory Dec. 17 at Potlatch. On the other hand, the Kubs, who were tied for No. 2 in the latest poll, have lost four of their past five games, including a stunning 56-51 loss at Logos, a team that has played just five games so far this season.
It would be hard not to mention Lewiston's game at Lake City on Thursday. The Bengals will have to gather themselves quickly after Monday's game to take on a team that is the undisputed No. 1 team in Class 5A entering the week. The Timberwolves (11-0, 2-0) was the state runners-up a year ago and have won three of the past five games in the series. Lewiston's last victory at Lake City was on Jan. 18, 2019, a 73-66 decision.
Logos at Prairie on Friday could provide for some interesting fodder. It will be interesting to see how the Knights of Moscow match up with the Pirates.
Clarkston plays at Rogers and Pullman visits Shadle Park in GSL action.
Saturday's nine games doesn't have one standout game, but a few that could be interesting, including Kendrick at Logos, Northwest Christian at Asotin and Garden Valley at Salmon River.
This week, a total of 44 games tentatively are on the docket (again, with the much-needed disclaimer: virus, weather, bus drivers and officials pending) and it doesn't include any possible rescheduling of games from postponements that took place toward the end of last week. Heavy days are Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Tuesday is a highly-anticipated league day, with the agenda showing Washington Class 2A GSL games beginning.
Clarkston (6-3) and Pullman (1-8) each will visit the Spokane area with games against Shadle Park (1-6) and East Valley (0-8), respectively.
The Bantams are looking to get right after a seventh-place showing at the Avista Holiday Tournament at the end of the calendar year, while the Greyhounds search for some cohesion and hope to get better at the hands of the Knights.
Thursday has a whopping 12 games on the schedule, with another heavy league set.
The biggest game of the day could be the rematch between Lapwai and Clearwater Valley. The Wildcats (9-2, 7-0), who enter the week still at No. 1 in Class 1A Division I despite a pair of losses in the Avista tournament, hold a half-game lead over Prairie (8-2, 7-1) entering the week. The Rams of Kooskia (9-3, 5-3) have won three in a row since a 66-49 home loss Dec. 16 to the Pirates and now are alone in third place in the league. The average margin of victory in those three games is 17.7, which includes a 42-40 home win Saturday against Potlatch (6-5, 4-4).
Friday is relatively light, but sees another league day in which Clarkston plays at Rogers and Pullman heads to Shadle Park. Moscow also has an opportunity at Lakeland in Class 4A Inland Empire League action.
Saturday could be another interesting day in league races. The Wildcats host the Loggers in what could be the best contest of the 10-game bunch.
It's another big weekend of action on the mats, as there are three huge tournaments Friday and Saturday, all leading up to the Clearwater Classic, which takes place Jan. 21-22 at Lewiston High School.
The boys teams from Lewiston and Moscow will travel head north to take part in the two-day, 24-team River City Duals at Post Falls Arena.
The format is the first round will be four pods of six teams each competing head-to-head. Then depending on the records of each team, teams will be moved into four more pods — Gold, Silver, Bronze and Copper — and will compete for those respective team titles.
The boys teams from Clearwater Valley and Grangeville will head to Orofino for the two-day Maniac Wrestling tournament that starts at 3 p.m. Friday.
The biggest tournament of the weekend might be taking place at Columbia High School in Nampa, where a total of 101 girls teams will take part in the fifth Jaybird Memorial.
The one-day event, which was the first ever standalone girls invitational in Idaho, will feature teams from Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Utah.
It has grown in stature since the first tournament took place in 2018, when 22 teams took part.
This year, all of the teams from this area who have girls participating in the sport will take part.
Also competing this weekend will be Colfax in the one-day Bronco Invitational at Lind-Ritzville/Sprague at 10 a.m. Saturday.
The only other mat action this week takes place Wednesday, as Clarkston visits Rogers and Pullman wrestles at East Valley in dual action. Each match begins at 7 p.m.
Walden may be reached at (208) 848-2258, email@example.com, or on Twitter @waldo9939.