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Salmon River running for another sweep

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The 2014 Salmon River Savages won the District III title last Thursday night, Feb. 27, and are headed to the 1AD2 boys state basketball tournament, March 6-8 at Caldwell High School. Pictured are (from left): assistant coaches Brandon Ratcliff and Darwin Vander Esch, Terrun Zolman, McCoy Hale, Leighton Vander Esch, Nolan Richerson, Riley Travis, Fred Taylor, Alex Diaz, Stephen Hackler, Tucker Boyd, Jimmy Shepherd, Johnny Shepherd and head coach Charlie Shepherd.

With three state titles — a football title, a basketball title and another football title — to their credit since the autumn of 2013, Salmon River tacked on a 1AD2 District III title with a cutting victory over Ambrose last Thursday night, Feb. 27.

Ambrose’s Travis Yenor (26 points) proved a match for Leighton Vander Esch (14 points), but the Savages proved more than a match for Ambrose, winning by a dozen, 52-40, after drawing out a 27-26 halftime lead.

Jimmy Shepherd posted a team-high 17 points against Ambrose, draining four three-pointers in the process.

Under different circumstances during the district semi-final — with Vander Esch slowed by fouls — a dozen points separated the Savages from Horseshoe Bend — a team Salmon River had repeatedly clobbered during the regular season. Horseshoe Bend trailed the Savages by six at halftime on Feb. 25, but took a 40-39 lead into the fourth quarter.

That scare sent Salmon River into a 15-2 run during the final frame — a highly productive stretch by any measure, nearly in line with the Savages’ regular season offensive output against their fellows from the Long Pin Conference.

Coming — Salmon River (20-2) will meet Carey at Caldwell High School at 8 p.m. MT March 6. With a win, SRHS would play at 3 p.m. March 7.

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