In its first two games of 2020 the St. Maries boys basketball team will face two teams that competed for a 1AD1 state championship last season at the Ford Idaho Center in Nampa.

And they’ll do it in back-to-back nights.

On the road.

The Lumberjacks return from winter break Jan. 3 at Potlatch following their three-point win over the Loggers to close out 2019, and after that will travel to Prairie (2019 state champion, 1AD1) Jan. 4 to face the fifth-ranked Pirates.

“It’s going to be tough,” Coach Bryan Chase said. “It’s tough enough to play Potlatch at their place, especially after we got them here. Let alone travel to Prairie the next night.”

The good news for St. Maries – it has beaten each already – and one of them by more than 30 points.

The Lumberjacks’ second game of the season was a 80-57 throttling over Prairie, and with their recent 47-44 win over Potlatch they now hold a perfect 2-0 record against the White Pine League.

Tristan Gentry hit a three-pointer on St. Maries’ first possession of the fourth quarter Dec. 19 in a nonleague contest with the Loggers to give his team a one-point advantage.

From there, the Jacks did not relinquish the lead in their eventual 47-44 win.

“That three was pretty big,” Coach Chase said. “We had a few letdowns in the third quarter, their leading scorer had the majority of his points in that quarter, but I felt like Eli (Gibson) locked him down in the fourth.”

Coleman Ross led St. Maries in scoring with 15 points on 7-9 shooting. Tristan had 11 points to go with five steals and Randie Becktel pulled down eight rebounds along with eight points.

St. Maries 47, Potlatch 44

SM 13 13 12 9 47

POT 11 15 14 4 44

Ross 15 pts., 7-9 FG; Gentry 11 pts., 5 st.; Becktel 8 pts., 8 reb.; Stancil 6 pts.; Gibson 6 pts.; Sands 1 pt.

The Jacks traveled to face the fourth-ranked team in the 4A classification Dec. 17 at Lakeland (8-0).

A 26-39 halftime deficit was enough to hold St. Maries back in the 57-70 loss.

“The size and speed was something we had not seen to that caliber yet,” Coach Chase commented. “The hope was that we could go in there and hang with them, and I think we did that. We got down 15, 17 points several times and fought back.”

Brett Stancil led his team with 21 points in the effort, and Tristan had 18 as St. Maries suffered its first loss.

St. Maries 57, Lakeland 70

SM 13 13 15 16 57

LAK 20 19 14 17 70

Stancil 21 pts.; Gentry 18 pts.; Ross 10 pts.; Sands 3 pts.; Gibson 3pts.; Becktel 2 pts.

Upcoming: St. Maries is idle this week for Christmas Break, and returns Jan. 3 at Potlatch (6:30 p.m.). A Jan. 4 contest at Prairie is slated for 5:30 p.m.

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