After taking two of three games against Kellogg last season, St. Maries’ struggles with the Wildcats seemed to come back in a big way as the two teams squared off early last month.

The loss of Tristan Gentry, who will suit up for Coach Bryan Chase Saturday as the Jacks travel to Kellogg, compounded St. Maries’ problems at Brawl for the Ball Jan. 11.

Coach Chase said his team’s ability to keep up offensively has grown since it last saw the 3A Wildcats, who won the Brawl matchup by 20 points.

“We let a couple of their shooters get loose and weren’t able to make a run back at them,” he said. “I think we’ll be able to hopefully do that this time around if they make a run on us.”

Saturday’s game at Kellogg is the week’s only for St. Maries, which returns next Friday, Feb. 14 for a final league game, at Orofino.

“The rest will be nice,” Coach Chase added. “We’ve got a few guys banged up that we’ll need to be healthy down the stretch.”

The team held Grangeville to nine points in the first half Feb. 1 en route to a 45-33 win that clinched the Central Idaho League title.

“Defensively, we did a good job,” Coach Chase said.

The Jacks managed to score just 17 points in the first half, which allowed the Bulldogs a margin to make a run in the second half before St. Maries pushed the lead back to eight going into the fourth quarter.

“It seemed like that lead went from two to 10 pretty quick,” Coach Chase said. “They cut it to 27-29, I called a timeout and right after that Randie (Becktel) hit a three, and Coleman (Ross) got a steal and score and we made our run.”

Randie led the team with 11 points, seven rebounds and three assists as his team improved to 12-4.

St. Maries 45, Grangeville 33

SM 12 5 12 16 45

GHS 5 4 12 12 33

Becktel 11 pts., 7 reb., 3 as.; Stancil 9 pts.; Gibson 7 pts., 4 st.; Gentry 7 pts.; Ross 4 pts., 4 st.; Sands 3 pts.; Peet 2 pts.; Renner 2 pts.

St. Maries outlasted Timberlake Jan. 30 by a score of 57-47, led by Randie with 21 points and nine rebounds.

The Lumberjacks outscored the Tigers 18-9 in the second quarter, the only frame that separated the two teams by greater than one point.

“We were down 15-24 at halftime the first time we played them,” Coach Chase commented. “So I really liked the way we were able to get out to a good start.”

St. Maries 57, Timberlake 47

SM 14 18 9 16 57

TL 15 9 8 15 47

Becktel 21 pts., 9 reb.; Gibson 17 pts.; Ross 10 pts., 10 reb.; Gentry 5 pts.; Peet 2 pts.; Ledbetter 2 pts.

Upcoming: St. Maries (12-4, 3-0 CIL) plays at Kellogg (9-6, 3-1 IML) Saturday. The Wildcats were recently upset by Timberlake Feb. 1 by a score of 59-60. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. at Kellogg High School.

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