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Win over Orofino propels GHS to play-in game



— Orofino nicked Grangeville twice in the final three meetings between the Central Idaho League rivals, but only the last one counted -- and after falling to the Maniacs earlier in the tournament, GHS took the 2A District I-II consolation playoff 47-40 to set up a meeting with District III's third best team, New Plymouth, in McCall, Saturday, Feb. 28.

Orofino played on short rest the night after giving St. Maries a run for the bidistrict title game, which the Lumberjacks eked out 51-50 last Tuesday. The Maniacs visibly had little energy left for the final minutes of the consolation game against the Bulldogs on Wednesday, which saw GHS fritter away a few bonus free throws before locking Orofino out with a couple of nice post plays by Garrett Kennedy.

Late in the third quarter, Austin Parks put GHS ahead 39-29 with a three-pointer, after which Orofino rallied within four points. Kennedy added a pair of free throws after scoring on a post-up midway through the third, with his foul shots extending Grangeville's lead back to 46-38. GHS went through an extended drought for much of the final three minutes, scoring a solitary point even as Orofino scrambled to extend the game with fouls.

The Maniacs, who had shot the lights out during the two previous meetings, finished with four treys as a team. One Bulldog -- Layton Harris -- more than off-set that entire production by way of five triples en route to a team-high 17 points. Parks finished with 10 points, and Kennedy totaled eight while Orofino aligned its defense to limit Grangeville's opportunities off the dribble.

Grangeville's hopes of returning to the state tournament now rest on finding a way past New Plymouth, which swept McCall-Donnelly, the only opponent they've had in common with GHS this season. The play-in winner earns the right to play District VI champion Firth in the first round of the 2A state tournament, which will run March 5-7 at Capital High School in Boise. Grangeville will play New Plymouth at McCall at 1 p.m. MT at McCall; KORT will broadcast the game starting at noon PT.



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