Troy visited St. Maries High School Saturday to face the Lumberjack girls basketball team.

The Trojans are part of the ever-competitive White Pine League comprised of powerhouse teams Lapwai and Prairie, which have both qualified for the 1AD1 girls state basketball tournament in each of the last 11 seasons.

In that span of 11 consecutive trips, Lapwai has won the state championship five times and Prairie twice.

And those four times it wasn’t one of them, twice it was another team from the White Pine League that won the title, Kamiah in 2013 and Clearwater Valley in 2010.

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That’s a tough league to play in if you’re the Troy Trojans.

Of course, everything has a way of balancing out, and the White Pine’s volleyball teams that are not Troy have the same situation to deal with each year as the Trojans make their annual trip to the volleyball tournament.

But man, talk about ‘good’ not being good enough.

Troy put together a 16-7 record in 2019, winning greater than twice as many games as it lost, and was left out of the state tournament because of stronger teams in its league.

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Now, sixteen wins against seven losses is not history-making, by any means. But there are plenty of girls basketball teams that would give an arm and a leg to finish with that record.

Troy’s last appearance at state was in 2017 when the Trojans finished 21-7, and ran into league opponent Lapwai in the first round of the 1AD1 tournament, losing by 41.

Before that, 2012 was the Trojans’ last state trip. Troy ran into Prairie in the championship game and lost by ten.

The White Pine League is a big one, fielding seven – and sometimes eight – girls teams each year.

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The Central Idaho League is smaller than half that size, comprised of St. Maries, Orofino and Grangeville, but the boys basketball side has had a similar dominance in the last decade.

Since joining in 2012, the Lumberjacks have qualified as the Central Idaho League’s champion seven of nine seasons.

In that time, Grangeville’s boys team has finished its season with a winning record seven times.

Most of those seasons were good, just not good enough, as the Lumberjacks earned the league’s berth to state.

It looks like things will be as tough as ever for the Bulldogs to make it this spring, with St. Maries returning the bulk of its state-championship team from last year.

But, like Troy has done in so many recent years, Grangeville may have to take solace in its regular-season efforts and watch the league’s more-dominant team play in the state tournament.

Collin Scheel is the sports reporter at the Gazette Record.

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