Two of the top three defenses in the 2A boys basketball tournament meet in the first round Thursday at Capital High.

St. Maries and New Plymouth, each sporting points-allowed averages of fewer than 45, will clash for a spot in the semifinals Friday against the winner of West Side and Melba.

New Plymouth is the 2A tournament’s only team to come into state off of a loss, having fallen to Cole Valley Feb. 27 by 14 points in a game that served as a state placement for the Chargers and Pilgrims, who landed on opposite sides of the bracket as seeds 3A and 3B.

“We have four guys averaging over 10 points per game,” Coach Chase said. “I think the biggest thing for us is going to be getting over our nerves quickly down there. Apart from Eli (Gibson) and Tristan (Gentry), we have a lot of kids that haven’t seen too much floor time at a state tournament, so coming out with confidence and keeping our tempo up will be important for us.”

The Lumberjacks clinched a tournament spot with a 23-point win over Grangeville last week. Brett Stancil went off for 20 points in the win.

St. Maries 48, Grangeville 25

SM 15 10 13 10 48

GHS 5 2 11 7 25

Stancil 20 pts.; Ross 7 pts., 3 st.; Gentry 6 pts., 6 reb., 4 as.; Gibson 2 pts., 4 as., 3 st.; Renner 6 pts.; Becktel 4 pts.; Sands 2 pts.; Badgett 1 pt.

Upcoming: St. Maries tips off at the 2A state tournament Thursday at 2 p.m. PST. A win would put the Jacks in a 5:15 p.m. PST semifinal contest Friday.

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