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Pirates smoke Ambrose, reach state semifinal

— Prairie's Lucas Arnzen powered up a double-double as the Pirates surged to a first-round victory over one of the classification's most highly-touted teams. Ambrose, which came into the game as perhaps the only other 1AD1 team with a regular season resume on par with Prairie's, banked 26 points from 6-7 standout Travis Yenor but fell by a 64-48 final score Thursday night at Vallivue High School.

When Arnzen tallied a layup-and-one early in the fourth quarter, Prairie led by 15. Ambrose closed within 11, but PHS maintained a double-digit margin down the stretch. Ambrose mounted its best run — a 10-2 stint — about midway through the second quarter. Prairie had staked out a 12-11 first quarter lead and widened it to five, 18-13, on back-to-back baskets by Arnzen. PHS had held Yenor scoreless through the early going, but he tallied eight quick points as Ambrose began to strike back.

With a tip-in by Jake Bruner and a traditional three-point play by Tanner Ross late in the quarter, the Pirates turned the Archers back. Prairie shot better than 41 percent from the field during the first half, and converted nearly 58 percent while pulling away during the second half. Perhaps even more effective was Prairie's mix of man-to-man and zone defenses, which held Ambrose to about 32 percent from the field during each half.

Arnzen finished with 22 points while Yenor led all scorers with 26. Rhett Schlader (15 points), Bruner (11) and Ross (10) also finished in double-figures.

Coming — Prairie will face Valley on Friday night at Vallivue High School; Valley defeated Challis 50-32 earlier Thursday. Across the bracket, Lapwai — which edged PHS out of the District II title last week — avanced with a 60-29 win over Liberty Charter. Lapwai will play Oakley at 6:15 p.m. MT, with Prairie-Valley to follow at 8 p.m. MT.


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