NAMPA The Prairie boys once again took Lapwai down to the final minute, but having shocked the state’s top-ranked 1AD1 team during the district tournament, the Pirates fell to Lapwai 57-49 during the championship game last Saturday, March 4.
“It was a great contest and my guys played their guts out,” coach Kevin Chaffee said. “The ball just didn’t go in when we needed it to.”
Having trailed by as many as 12 during the first half, Prairie twice cut Lapwai’s lead to four on hoops by senior forward Tyson Schlader late in the fourth quarter.
With the Wildcats playing a clock-conscious style and making their foul shots, there was no repeat of a magic moment like the one PHS senior forward Patrick Chmelik had during the last seconds of the district title game.
Rather, Lapwai extended the lead during the final minute.
The Pirates had turned a 5-0 deficit into an 8-8 tie during the first quarter. During the second quarter, the Wildcats switched to a zone defense and rolled off a 13-3 run that prompted a PHS timeout with 2:17 left in the first half.
After Lapwai standout Ivory Miles-Williams checked out with an injury, Chmelik and sophomore forward Spencer Schumacher reversed the Pirates’ fortunes. Chmelik trimmed the deficit to five, 32-27, with a post-up and Schumacher cut it to four, twice.
Schumacher notched two free throws ahead of a Lapwai timeout midway through the third and lifted PHS to 37-33 with an offensive rebound and putback.
Lapwai’s three-point shooters found the net with regularity but right at the end of the third, Chmelik tallied a tip-drill putback that kept the Pirates within seven.
Chmelik tallied a traditional three-point play starting the fourth, and kept PHS within 47-43 with a couple of charities before he was hit with three quick fouls. Chmelik’s third personal came on a block-charge call with about five minutes left.
The score remained unchanged after his fourth, with just less than four minutes to go, and Lapwai’s lead ticked up to six after his fifth, with 2:27 left in the game.
Chmelik finished with 11 points and nine rebounds, according to the Idaho High School Activities Association.
Junior Hunter Chaffee paced Prairie with 12 points.
The Pirates finished as 1AD1 runners-up, and 20-5 overall.
Earlier in the week, Prairie crushed Wilder 69-25 and topped Valley 44-32.
Against Valley, Chaffee scored 15 on five three-pointers and Gavin Branson scored 11, primarily on free throws late in the game. The Pirates broke out of a 20-20 halftime tie, initially on the strength of Schlader’s sharp play.
He knocked down jump shots out of the high post and low post in rapid succession, then came from across the lane to put back a wild rebound. Nobody had blocked him out, but there was enough contact on the play for a whistle, and he converted the freebie for a 27-22 lead.
Then Chaffee found the range, with triples at the midpoint and the end of the fourth quarter helping extend the lead to 11.
Chaffee and Chmelik tallied 18 points apiece against Wilder, and senior guard Brandon Anderson scored 11. Prairie led Wilder 15-6 after one quarter and took a 27-11 lead to halftime. Late in the game, Wilder trailed by 48, 67-19.