Priest River wins at home, falls on road

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  • (Photo by JUDD WILSON) Keegan Hegel assessed the Upper Columbia Academy defense during Priest River’s 44-31 victory Jan. 4.

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    (Photo by JUDD WILSON) Priest River athlete Caden Brennan took to the air for a reverse layup attempt against Upper Columbia Academy Jan. 4.

  • (Photo by JUDD WILSON) Keegan Hegel assessed the Upper Columbia Academy defense during Priest River’s 44-31 victory Jan. 4.

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    (Photo by JUDD WILSON) Priest River athlete Caden Brennan took to the air for a reverse layup attempt against Upper Columbia Academy Jan. 4.

PRIEST RIVER - After a slow first quarter, the Priest River varsity boys basketball team found its groove and crushed the visiting Upper Columbia Academy Lions 44-31 here Jan. 4. The home team held a 3-2 lead early but did not lead again until two minutes into the third quarter, when it had clawed its way back from a seven-point deficit to take a 26-23 lead. The team’s 8-2 run to start the second half came thanks to a multitude of scorers such as Brandon McCracken, Ronnie Downs, and Dausen O’Brien. In all, the team outscored UCA 36-16 during the last three quarters of play. Its defense was solid but benefited from UCA’s bad fortune in missing several layups. Each team made several unforced turnovers and attempted its fair share of three-points shots, but Priest River’s better shooting from beyond the arc was key to its victory.

At Lakeland Jan. 5, head coach Kevin Wylie said the team “came out with great intensity.” After trailing by five points in the first quarter, the Spartans got blown out 26-8 in the second quarter due to poor shooting and defensive breakdowns, Wylie said. The coach said the 25-13 third quarter was a similar story. “We continued to not execute on the defensive side. We struggle with rebounds against two 6 feet 6 inches posts which allowed too many second or third chance opportunities.” The Spartans lost, 75-34. At Bonners Ferry Jan. 6, the visitors anticipated the Badgers would use a full-court press, said Wylie. “We prepared and discussed how to break the pressure. Unfortunately we did not execute effectively.” The Spartans attempted a whopping 25 three-point shots but only sank five of them in the 66-41 loss. “We went 9-13 from FG range. We were much more effective inside the arch but we didn’t look to attack the inside. We would break the press and take the first three we saw, which led to long rebounds and run outs for Bonners.”

PR 8 12 12 12 - 44

UCA 15 8 4 4 - 31

Priest River

Hegel 10, O’Brien 6, Downs 6, McCracken 1, Brennan 14, Salesky 2, Glazier 5

Upper Columbia Academy

Wang 0, Contreares 0, Tucker 0, Daley 11, Urbin 0, Wiggins 10, Terry 2, Pierce 8

PR 11 8 13 2 - 34

Lkl 16 26 25 8 - 75

Priest River

Hegel 16, O’Brien 3, Downs 2, McCracken 3,l Brennan 5,l Johnson 0, Anselmo 0, Salesky 2, Glazier 3.

Lakeland

Taylor 4, Zublay 13, Munyer 0, Johnson 8, Knight 9, Vahey 7, Davis 13, Skalskiy 5, Neilson 13, Haaland 3.

PR 6 10 13 12 - 41

BF 15 13 21 17 - 66

Priest River

Hegel 12, O’Brien 7, Johnson 2, Downs 5, McCracken 4, Brenan 11, Salesky 0, Colazier 0, Thompson 0.

Bonners Ferry

Ryan 2, Sabin 21, S.Bateman 17, Hittle 7, Stone 0, Pluid 8, Bell 4, B.Bateman 5, T.Bateman 0, Jelinek 2, Hill 0, Morgan 0.

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