COEUR d'ALENE - For three periods, the Coeur d'Alene High lacrosse team looked everything like a state championship contender.
The fourth was too much to overcome.
Coeur d'Alene led 2-1 afer the first period, but Timberline of Boise scored 10 unanswered goals, including eight in the third and fourth period, to defeat Coeur d'Alene 11-2 in the state high school boys lacrosse championship match Saturday at Coeur d'Alene High.
Timberline won its third state title in five years.
"We played them great for three quarters and a quarter of the other one," Coeur d'Alene coach Jamison Mortensen said. "Then they went on a spree of goals, but it was a lot closer than the score ended up."
Coeur d'Alene (13-4) defeated Sandpoint last week in the North Idaho Lacrosse League championship game to advance to its first state title match since the winner of the North Idaho and Treasure Valley leagues started playing for the title in 2006. The team from the Treasure Valley (Boise area) league has won all seven state title matchups.
"Up here, I think they're still developing their program," sixth-year Timberline coach Tom Blanchard said of the North Idaho Lacrosse League teams. "We're at this year-round, where a lot of the teams in North Idaho can only practice three to four months a year. They're getting better at it."
“Last year, we lost 12 seniors and eight of them were starters,” Mortensen said. “We had a lot of gaps to fill this season and I didn’t know where we’d be at. To progress through the league and win it was just awesome.”
Coeur d’Alene had won its previous 12 games. Timberline finishes 15-7.
“We’ve got to invest more time to hang at a more competitive level,” Mortensen said. “A lot of the reasons they and a lot of Boise teams are in that place is because their elementary and middle school programs are in place. Ours is developed, but we’re just waiting for that kick-in to come.”
Senior attacker Cody Seibold had both first-period goals for Coeur d’Alene.
“It felt good,” Seibold said. “I just wish I could have put a few more up. It would have been nice to throw up some more goals and give them a better game. They came up more upbeat and got a few more bounces in front of the goal. They came out a little more fired up than we did.”
Andrew Rusin had five goals, Keven Brown 14 saves for Timberline.
“We traditionally have had slow starts this year and turn it on in the second half,” said Blanchard, whose team won the state title two years ago on the same field, beating Lake City. “We kind of knew with the drive and coming up here, we were going to start slow again and we just had to weather the storm. We knew Coeur d’Alene was going to come out aggressive and they did. We just weathered the storm and it worked out well.”
Sophomore goalie Nick DeSantis had nine saves for Coeur d’Alene.
“For me, it was pretty scary today,” DeSantis said. “It was a great accomplishment and it was a great year. I thought we played well until the end of the second half. We got discouraged and had a letdown.”
Timberline was upset in the Treasure Valley Lacrosse League playoffs last year by eventual state champion Bishop Kelly, which beat Gonzaga Prep in the title match.
“They came out with a good strategy early on,” said Blanchard of Coeur d’Alene. They tried to work the clock and move the ball around. If you do your homework on us, you’ll find we’re an offensive powerhouse. They really had us flustered early on. This is a special group of guys. One of the things about our program is that we don’t take anything for granted and work extremely hard year round.”
TIMBERLINE — Goals: Andrew Rusin 5, Nash Cantrell 3, Jake Jackson 1, Drew Welch 1, Phillip Engle 1. Assists: Welch 3, Engle 1. Saves: Keven Brown 14.
COEUR d’ALENE — Goals: Cody Seibold 2. Saves: Nick DeSantis 9.