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Boys Basketball Weekend Preview
These are the ranked matchups you should keep your eye on this weekend
Published: 1/16/2020 1:20:18 PM

Class 5A
No. 3 Meridian @ No. 1 Rocky Mountain
6 p.m. Saturday

The Grizzlies cap off a week of rest with back-to-back matchups against Southern Idaho Conference opponents Friday and Saturday. The Grizzlies kick off the two-game stretch hosting fourth-place Eagle. The Mustangs are coming off two straight wins and have lost just three times all year. 

But the true test for top-ranked Rocky will be how the state’s best team keeps up the pressure against No. 3 Meridian just a day later. 

“The keys to success on both nights will definitely be our toughness and ability to rebound. Both teams are big and athletic and it will take everything we got get through this weekend,” said Rocky Mountain Head Coach Roy Dane. “Fortunately for us, we are playing at home both games, so hopefully that will help us feel a little more comfortable offensively.”

The Warriors haven’t lost since their second matchup of the year, also against Rocky Mountain. The Grizzlies won that contest by a narrow 5-point margin 74-69. Since that point, Meridian has tallied no less than 59 points in nine games, eclipsing the 70-point mark three times.

Conversely, Rocky Mountain approaches the court with a strong defensive front. The Grizzlies have held opponents to an average of 48 points per game, second-best in the SIC. 

Class 4A
No. 5 Pocatello @ No. 2 Preston 
7:30 p.m. Saturday

The crowded Great Basin Conference gets even more claustrophobic Saturday night at Preston. The pair of Indians represent the top two teams in the conference, with just three losses between them. 

The Preston offense has caught fire since a setback against Middleton back in mid-December. Since then, the Indians have put up at least 70 points in six of their last seven games.

Pocatello possesses a high-flying offense of its own, led by Kaden Hales, who notched 21 points against Jerome Wednesday.

“We will find out a lot about ourselves in the next week,” said Preston Head Coach Tyler Jones. “Pocatello is a very dangerous team. They are tough to guard because they are extremely quick and can all shoot the 3 and get to the basket. They also have a much-improved post in their 6-foot-6 center (Maverick) Hale.”

Class 3A
No. 2 Kimberly @ No. 5 Snake River
7:30 p.m. Friday

The Panthers remain undefeated in 3A play, with Kimberly’s lone loss coming against 4A Canyon Ridge last week. Head Coach Daren Garey’s squad hit the start of the season hard on offense, with four 70-point-plus showings. Since the start of the new year, the Bulldogs’ production has stymied slightly, but with a pair of clutch starters in Dawsin Cummins and Peyton Bair, who tallied 18 and 17 points, respectively, against Buhl Wednesday, Kimberly still has the ability to score from anywhere.

“Snake River is really good defensively in the half-court, so we are going to have to get baskets in transition,” Garey said. “I think we will also need to shoot the ball from the perimeter similar to the first time we played them.”

Snake River represents the tier of teams in 3A on the outer rim of true classification dominance. The Panthers narrowly edged their way into the latest media poll top five. But with back-to-back wins heading into Friday’s matchup, Snake River could have the defense capable of keeping the Bulldogs on their toes. In five of their six wins, the Panthers have held opponents to below 50 points. If Head Coach Robert Coombs and company can take advantage of a slow-start Kimberly offense, the Panthers could stand a chance against 3A’s second-ranked squad. 

Class 2A
No. 5 West Side @ No. 3 Bear Lake
7:30 p.m. Saturday

The fate of the 2A South East Idaho Conference could be at stake Saturday, as Bear Lake sits just two games behind first-place West Side. 

West Side enters the weekend on an eight-game win streak, with the Pirates’ last loss coming against Green River out of Wyoming in December. But the Pirates will have to abandon the comforts of their home court for the weekend for their first road matchup since Jan. 2. 

Bear Lake currently holds a two-game win streak after a rude awakening to the new year, where the Bear’s fell 52-39 to defending state champion North Fremont. 

The Bears did hold their own against 3A’s Sugar-Salem earlier in the year, losing a narrow 36-35 contest, before ripping off two wins against Grace and Rich (UT). 

Class 1ADI
No. 1 Potlatch @ No. 5 Prairie
7:30 p.m. Friday

The Loggers are just three points away from a perfect season, with their lone loss coming against St. Maries 47-44. Potlatch could see its toughest matchup since that loss, with Prairie possessing the second-highest scoring offense in the 1ADI Whitepine League, just behind Lapwai. 

Potlatch, meanwhile holds the title for stingiest defense in the classification, holding opponents to a 1ADI-best 38 points per game. But that backend will have its work cut out for it, as the Pirates haven’t dipped below 50 points in a game all season, and out-dueled St. Maries 77-70 in early January. 

Class 1ADII
No. 3 Lighthouse Christian @  No. 5 Carey
7:30 p.m. Friday

Bolstered by four straight wins to kick off the new year, the Lions enter Friday’s matchup hot off a 90-point performance against Dietrich Tuesday. Senior Raygn Robertson led the effort for Lighthouse early, scoring 12 points in just the first period. 

But just half a game behind the Lions, Carey looks to upset its Sawtooth Conference rival following three consecutive wins. The Panthers don’t have the same high-caliber offense when compared to Lighthouse, but narrow wins have been the name of the game for conference's second-place team. Carey has beaten opponents by an average of just six points, compared to Lighthouse’s 16, and another ugly win will be what the Panthers should prepare for come Friday night. 



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