In the last three seasons, Coach Bryan Chase and the St. Maries boys basketball team had dropped back-to-back contests two times.
Both skids were followed by winning streaks, and with three games this week the Lumberjacks have a chance to bounce back from their consecutive losses suffered at Potlatch and Prairie.
A Jan. 7 date at Sandpoint served as a rematch of St. Maries’ season opener, which it won over the Bulldogs 52-42.
The Lumberjacks (5-3) travel to Bonners Ferry (2-3) Thursday before hosting Kellogg (4-4) Saturday in a Brawl for the Ball finale.
“It should be a really good game,” Coach Bryan Chase said of Saturday’s game with Kellogg. “I think our guard play might be a bit stronger than theirs, so hopefully we can use our speed to our advantage.”
A dismal first quarter set St. Maries up for its poorest shooting game of the season Jan. 3 at Potlatch as the Lumberjacks went 4-30 from beyond the arc in a 33-61 defeat.
“We just shot flat,” Coach Chase said. “We settled for too many three’s in that first quarter, and just had one of those nights.”
St. Maries had previously beaten Potlatch, 47-44, Dec. 19.
Brett Stancil led the team in scoring with 12 points.
St. Maries 33, Potlatch 61
SM 6 10 10 7 33
POT 18 13 13 17 61
Stancil 12 pts.; Ross 7 pts.; Sands 6 pts.; Gibson 4 pts.; Gentry 2 pts.; Ledbetter 2 pts.
The return of Prairie’s leading scorer, Cole Schlader, gave the Lumberjacks fits defensively Jan. 4 as the two teams traded baskets for the majority of St. Maries’ eventual 70-77 loss.
“It’s always tough on the road, no matter who you’re playing,” Coach Chase commented. “With the success we’ve had the last couple of years, we have to be ready for teams to throw their best at us, and we just weren’t as ready as we should have been that night.”
Eli Gibson scored 23 points and dished out five assists for the Jacks, who split with the Pirates after defeating Prairie 80-57 Dec. 7.
St. Maries 70, Prairie 77
SM 17 18 27 8 70
PR 16 24 22 14 77
Gibson 23 pts., 5 as.; Becktel 15 pts., 8 reb.; Ross 10 pts.; Stancil 10 pts.; Sands 6 pts.; Ledbetter 6 pts.
Upcoming: St. Maries traveled to Sandpoint Jan. 7, plays at Bonners Ferry Thursday (7 p.m.) and hosts Kellogg Saturday at 4:15 p.m.