St. Maries’ boys basketball coach, Bryan Chase, already knew from practices, but seeing his team score the way it did in two opening games last week affirmed it.
His players can shoot the ball.
And shoot it well.
The Lumberjacks opened their season with a win over 4A Sandpoint, followed by an 80-point offensive showcase against defending 1AD1 state champion Prairie two days later.
The tests will keep coming for St. Maries, which played at Timberlake Dec. 10, a team that played Kellogg to within four points last week.
The Jacks host an always-threatening Wallace team Thursday, and will take the weekend off before facing Lakeland Dec. 17, a group that has thus far dominated opponents, defeating North Central of Spokane (67-46), East Valley of Spokane (65-49) and West Valley of Spokane (70-41) each by double digits after opening its season with a 61-55 win over 5A Coeur d’Alene.
“They are the real deal,” Coach Bryan Chase said. “We really try every year to amp up our schedule and see some really strong competition. We think this will really pay off in the long run.”
Wallace has started its season 0-2, falling to Bonners Ferry 56-65 and then losing to Kellogg 45-63.
But the Miners have shown they can hang with bigger schools. In their loss to the Wildcats, they trailed by just one at halftime before slowing in the final two quarters.
“They have three kids that can really shoot the ball,” Coach Chase said. “And they always are tough, no matter where you play them.”
St. Maries opened its season Dec. 6 with a home contest against Sandpoint.
The two teams played evenly through three quarters, but after Brett Stancil hit a three from the corner early in the fourth frame, the Lumberjacks took advantage of Sandpoint’s foul trouble and held on for a 52-42 win.
“I thought at halftime that we’d have a good opportunity to win,” Coach Chase said. “We were both in a little bit of foul trouble, and we were able to capitalize on that.”
Coleman Ross led St. Maries with 16 points and Randie Becktel recorded a 13-point, 10-rebound double-double in the victory.
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
SM 9 12 13 18
SAND 9 13 12 10
Ross 16; Becktel 13 pts., 10 reb.; Sands 4 pts., 3 reb., 4 st.; Gibson 9; Nelson 7; Stancil 3
Turning Point: Junior guard Brett Stancil hit a three from the corner to give St. Maries a fourth-quarter lead Dec. 5 against Sandpoint. The two teams had played to a tie through the first three quarters, and from there, the Lumberjacks would not give up the lead in a 52-42 win.
The Jacks hosted Prairie Dec. 7 for the second time in two seasons.
The last time St. Maries and Prairie faced one another (Dec. 1, 2018), the Lumberjacks snapped the Pirates’ 13-game winning streak as they rallied from an eight-point fourth quarter deficit to win in overtime, 53-50.
Attendees to last Saturday’s game were spared those kind of dramatics.
St. Maries opened a 35-22 halftime lead and cruised to an 80-57 win as four Lumberjacks finished in double figures and the bench racked up 29 points.
“It’s been a pleasant surprise, how well the kids are shooting the ball,” Coach Chase said.
Eli finished with a team-high 17 points, Greyson Sands had 12, Sean Elliott 11 and Randie Becktel 10 points, four rebounds and three assists. Tristan Nelson pulled down seven rebounds to lead St. Maries on the boards.
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
SM 13 22 26 19
PR 12 10 17 18
Gibson 17 pts., 2 as., 3 reb.; Sands 12 pts., 2 as., 2 st.; Elliott 11 pts.; Becktel 10 pts., 3 as., 4 reb.; Nelson 9 pts., 7 reb.; Ross 8 pts., 4 reb.; Stancil 7 pts., 1 blk; Ledbetter 4 pts., 1 as., 2 reb.; Peet 2 pts., 1 as., 1 reb.
Upcoming: St. Maries (2-0 before Dec. 10 game at Timberlake) hosts Wallace (0-2) Thursday for a 7 p.m. tipoff, and plays at Lakeland (4-0 before Dec. 10 game at Bonners Ferry) Tuesday, Dec. 17.