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Grangeville’s title defense continues

Photo by Andrew Ottoson.

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— As five early lead changes would suggest, St. Maries put Grangeville into a bit of a wobble during the first quarter of the 2A District I-II title game last Thursday night, Feb. 27. But as the big run the Bulldogs delivered with a state berth at stake would suggest, the reigning state champions are capable of strong defense when they play balanced basketball.

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The 2014 Grangeville Bulldogs won the District I-II title last Thursday night, Feb. 27, and are headed to the 2A boys state basketball tournament, March 6-8 at Capital High School in Boise. Pictured are (from left): Central Idaho League “Coach of the Year” Skip Hall, Garrett Kennedy, Alex Koberstein, Jake Stokes, Jasper Sabatino, Quaid Blankenship, Michael Stevens, Josh Dame, Austin Parks, Dylan Canaday, Tanner Higgins, Layton Harris, Michael Wilson and Wyatt Thanstrom.

Grangeville’s 15-2 burst during the first five minutes of the second quarter turned around a 7-9 deficit and boosted the Bulldogs to a 56-44 victory. Grangeville’s lead reached 15 during the third quarter and 16 during the fourth, but the bulk of that margin was accumulated immediately after Lumberjacks post Leighton Gertje completed a traditional three-point play, starting with a game-tying short range shot by Jasper Sabatino.

Then Michael Wilson — who had exited the first quarter with two early fouls — converted an offensive rebound into a layup and an 11-9 GHS lead.

St. Maries made it 11-all, then the Bulldogs ripped off 11 straight points. Grangeville’s possessions went as follows: a Wilson jumper; a Wilson baseline dribble-drive; a Sabatino jumper assisted by Austin Parks; a barely mistimed stick-back dunk attempt by Wilson off a long miss by Parks, which led to a Wilson jumper; and an “and-one” layup by Alex Koberstein.

St. Maries answered by posting up Gertje for two plus a foul shot, which he missed.

Grangeville’s defense stayed tight, giving the Bulldogs’ transition offense chances to break loose. Josh Dame punched in a fast break layup, then tallied two free throws, then Garrett Kennedy booked a layup-and-one. Dame dribbled end-to-end for a layup and a 31-19 halftime lead.

St. Maries cut Grangeville’s lead briefly to nine during the third quarter, but came no closer.

Dame led all scorers with 20 points. Wilson cracked double-digits with 15.

Coming — With the district championship squared away, Grangeville (19-4) is set to take on Wendell at 8 p.m. MT. Thursday, March 6, at Capital High School in Boise. However GHS fares, the tournament will continue, culminating with the 2A championship game at 1:40 p.m. MT Saturday, March 8. With a first-round win, GHS would play the Firth/Melba winner at 8 p.m. MT March 7.

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