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Lapwai snags district title with Prairie upset

— Seven lead changes during the first half signaled a close game, but for much of the contest, Lapwai stood firmly in control of the 1AD1 District II boys district title game Friday, Feb. 27, at the LCSC Activity Center. During the short stretches when the Pirates' shots were falling, Prairie evened up the game — but a bit of treachery in the Pirates' shooting touch combined with timely shooting by the Wildcats allowed Lapwai to sustain scoring runs up to double-digit leads early and late in the game.

Rhett Schlader broke Prairie's bad breaks with 11 points including three three-pointers during the final minute, but PHS nevertheless fell 61-56. Schlader finished with 20, with Jake Bruner's 15, Tanner Ross's 10 and Lucas Arnzen's nine providing much of the scoring that kept Prairie within striking distance.

Down by 12 with a bit more than a minute remaining, Prairie closed within one possession of a tie when Schlader was whacked during his try for a fourth late three-pointer. He holed two of the three ensuing foul shots, lifting PHS within three, 59-56.

Lapwai added on a couple of foul shots, after which the clock became unbeatable.

PHS pulled briefly ahead by dominating the offensive glass, with Ross scoring a short-range shot to snap a 21-all tie. Lapwai answered with a three, which Schlader answered by cherry-picking a layup. Courage Lone Bear, Lapwai's leading scorer during the early going, put in his 10th point of the first half to keep the Wildcats ahead at halftime. Imani Mitchell paced the Wildcats with 19, and Cameron Shawl totaled 14.

Prairie nearly survived a slow start —three for 13 from the field during the early going— as well as a rocky third quarter. The third turned on Shawl sinking a trey off of an ankle-breaking crossover dribble and ended with a block-charge call that went against Ross and allowed Mitchell's late layup to stand.

Coming — Prairie (18-3) may meet Lapwai (16-4) again at the 1AD1 state tournament, which runs next Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Vallivue High School in Caldwell. The teams are seeded on opposite sides of the bracket, and so could meet in the March 7 championship game at the Idaho Center in Nampa.

Prairie will open against

District III champion Ambrose at 8 p.m. MT on March 5.


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