Photo by Andrew Ottoson
With nearly 18 points per game through the early winter, Grangeville’s Hailey Sullivan has steadied the girls team in the absence of fellow seniors Sarah Wilson and Madison Brown, who are out with injuries. By coach Larson Anderson’s estimate, the sidelining of the two athletic standouts has cost the Bulldogs about 20 points per game — nearly half the total the team averaged a year ago. Pictured, Sullivan scores a layup, and draws a foul in the process.
The Grangeville girls (3-3) are off for the rest of 2015, and are set to resume Jan. 2 at CDA Charter.
KAMIAH — With a team-high 13 points, Prairie senior Brandon Higgins gave the Pirates just the extra oomph they needed Dec. 15 at KHS. With double-digit nights for Jake Bruner (11) and Tyson Schlader (10), the Prairie boys prevailed 49-42 despite a strong performance by Kamiah’s Chris Pethtel (17).
It marked the start of a key week for Prairie’s defense of the Whitepine League title, which PHS claimed with a perfect league record last year.
Lapwai ends Prairie’s WPL winning streak
COTTONWOOD — Prairie hadn’t lost a regular season league game since February 2013, but Lapwai terminated that streak with a 58-43 win over the Pirates last Friday night, Dec. 18. That was despite Jake Bruner’s 26 points, and hinged on a 21-point third quarter for Lapwai’s sharpshooters.
Despite the 15-point difference in the final score, the rivalry between the squads continues to run hot, as both teams are once again in contention for the 1AD1 title. Lapwai beat the Pirates by five points during the district tournament last season, but PHS got the better of the Wildcats by four points in last year’s state final.
CV runs Troy
TROY — Whitepine League dark horse Clearwater Valley became the WPL’s first three-win team with a 58-44 win over Troy last Friday night, Dec. 18. CV hadn’t beaten Troy in years, but with 20 points from Grant Wallace and two more players in double-figures, CV staked out a place in the top half of the WPL standings.
Tanner Coons (12) and Cody Morrow (10) also stood out on a night the Rams picked up their fifth win before Christmas.
Whipple, Pethtel lift KHS
POTLATCH — And then there are the Kubs, whose 2-3 record so far includes close losses against both CV and Prairie but also blowout victories over Orofino and, most recently, Potlatch.
Parker Whipple (19 points) and Chris Pethtel (18) boosted Kamiah to a 60-49 win over the Loggers last Friday night, Dec. 18, marking the second time this season KHS has run off 60 in a game. Though they’ve lost to two of the league leaders, look for Kamiah’s scoring ability to keep KHS in contention during the second half of the boys basketball season.
The Kubs are off for the holidays, and are set to resume with a Jan. 5 visit to Grangeville.
GIRLS: Kubs win another
OROFINO — Having snapped a year-and-a-half-long losing streak with their Upriver Rampage win over Clearwater Valley earlier this month, the KHS girls put an end to their losing streak against Orofino. The Kubs hadn’t beaten the Maniacs since December 2013, but pulled off a 49-45 victory over the Maniacs on the strength of Lacey Kludt’s 10-point night Dec. 15.
Chynna Wilcox scored 12 in Kamiah’s next outing, which Potlatch won 64-39 on Monday, Dec. 21.
GHS tops Kamiah, flops against McCall-Donnelly
GRANGEVILLE — “It was our first back-to-back,” coach Larson Anderson said, “and we were lethargic.”
The Bulldogs 47-35 loss to McCall-Donnelly last Saturday night, Dec. 19, followed from an 11-for-45 shooting night, which the Vandals carried despite putting up 16 fewer shot attempts.
“It comes down to: we need to make shots,” Anderson said. “I thought we defended OK. You just need to score in the 40s to beat any good team.”
McCall’s height presented a mismatch in the interior; the Vandals played zone defense much of the night.
“They sat back, and we couldn’t force them out of it,” Anderson said. “They hit a couple of threes, and we didn’t answer.”
The first half couldn’t have been played any closer, as the first quarter ended in a 9-9 tie and the second quarter ended 22-all.
Grangeville’s Jolene Chmelik hit a pair of eight-foot jumpers late in the first quarter, from nearly identical spots beyond the right block.
Hailey Sullivan — who is averaging nearly 18 points per game as Grangeville’s high scorer most nights — turned a five-point deficit into the tie by scoring the last eight points of the second quarter.
Grangeville’s foul trouble piled up during the third quarter, during which both offenses sputtered. But the Vandals took over with an 11-2 run. GHS closed within nine with two minutes remaining, when Sullivan drew the fifth foul from McCall high scorer Lexi Tinney, but the Vandals held on.
By Anderson’s estimate, the absence of injured seniors Sarah Wilson and Madison Brown has cut about 20 points per game from Grangeville’s offense — nearly half of the 43.6 the team averaged per game a year ago.
Grangeville beat Kamiah 58-22 the previous night, Dec. 18, with 28 points from Sullivan.