The state of Idaho awarded six state championship trophies to boys basketball teams last season.

Two of those teams will meet at St. Maries High School Friday when the reigning 1AD1 champion Lapwai Wildcats and reigning 2A champion, St. Maries, square off.

Lapwai returns the majority of its roster from last season’s title run, including senior guard Titus Yearout, who is committed to play basketball at the University of Idaho following graduation.

“We probably over-focused on him in that loss to them last season,” St. Maries Head Coach Bryan Chase said. “When you play a team as good as Lapwai, you have to be ready for some adversity, whatever form it comes in.”

St. Maries’ one loss en route to its state title came at Lapwai Feb. 8. The Lumberjacks ran out to a 16-6 start through one quarter before foul trouble force Coach Bryan Chase to shift his lineups. Lapwai took advantage of the lapse and outscored the Lumberjacks 7-28 in the second quarter.

“We know how good they are,” Coach Chase said. “They are definitely one of the best teams we’ll see all year long.”

Lapwai’s return to St. Maries Friday will mark its first game of the season following its run of 20 wins and four losses in 2020-21. The Wildcats lost to eventual 1AD2 state champion, Garden Valley, 2A champion, St. Maries, 4A Lakeland and league opponent Genesee last season.

Lapwai finished its title run on a nine-game winning streak, and averaged 77 points per game in that span.

While St. Maries was in the midst of a highly-contested 2A tournament, winning its three games by a combined total of 14 points, Lapwai outscored its opposition by 90 in three tournament games.

Following Friday’s front end of the two-game series, the teams will meet again Feb. 8 at Lapwai.

St. Maries opened its regular season Nov. 30 at Priest River, and begins a three-game home stretch Friday against Lapwai. The Lumberjacks host Genesis Prep Monday and welcome Lakeland Tuesday, with both contests starting at 7 p.m.

The Wildcats play Saturday at Logos, and travel to face Orofino Monday.

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