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Gary Jones

Gary Jones is a graduate of Chico State University and has been teaching science at New Plymouth High School since 1981. He also coached football, basketball, and varsity baseball at NPHS before retiring from coaching in 1996. His baseball team won a state championship in 1994. In his spare time, he enjoys being a play by play announcer for and for Treasure Valley Community College. His hobbies include golf, hunting, and backpacking. In 2003 he published a hiking guide entitled "Hiking Idaho's Seven Devils". It is available in many outdoor stores in Idaho including the Benchmark, REI, and many others for around $15. You can also order it from him or send him some comments through his email address: He and his wife, Penny, never had any children, but raise labrador retrievers instead!

Predicting The State Title Winners For Boys Basketball

After going 5 for 6 in the girls, I'm taking dead aim at the boys.

By: Gary Jones
Published: 2/28/2017 12:22:33 PM

5A:  Defending Champs Highland Rams

The two best teams in the 5A seem to be Madison and Rocky Mountain. Madison seems to be a perennial visitor to the state games, so I’m picking the Madison Bobcats to come out on top even though purple is my favorite color!

4A:  Defending Champs Preston Indians

There are a few candidates in this division that could win it all.  The polls seem to think that Preston and Bishop Kelly are the front runners, but they are on the same side of the bracket setting up what could be a great semi-final matchup.  I’ll pick BK to survive that matchup and then beat the Burley Bobcats in the final.

3A:  Defending Champs Parma Panthers

The bottom half of the state bracket is brutal making the trip to the finals difficult for those teams. If the tourney was seeded, I doubt that all these teams would be lumped together on that side of the bracket. With that said, I’m picking the Shelley Russets to emerge from that bracket after the dust settles, and they will play the Sugar-Salem Diggers for the fifth time this year for all the marbles. Shelley won the first two meetings and Sugar-Salem won the last two.  Let’s see... heads it’s the Diggers and tails it’s the Russets... It’s the Russets in a close one!

2A:  Three Time Defending Champs Firth Cougars

This is the bracket I will be doing the play by play for and I have always felt uncomfortable picking the division I am covering.  At, we take pride in being unbiased when it comes to covering all the teams. All we are hoping for is a close, exciting game with no controversies.  It’s very common on ESPN to see them not allow the broadcasters to pick the winners on the game they are covering, and I totally get that.  For that reason, I will no longer be picking the division I am covering in the future.  All I will say is this: I wish the 8 teams the best of luck as they pursue their dream of a state title.

1AD1:  Defending Champs Ambrose Archers

I have two teams from the Whitepine League meeting in the title game:  Prairie and Lapwai.  Lapwai won the two regular season games, while Prairie won the District Championship game by 1 point.  It should be a great rivalry game, and I’m going with the Wildcats to prevail and avenge that loss to the Pirates in the District title game.

1AD2:  Defending Champs Dietrich Blue Devils

The top two teams in the state based on the polls are Dietrich and Genesis Prep.  Since they are on opposite sides of the bracket, I’ll pick them to meet on Saturday in the Ford Idaho Center in the first of 6 titles games being played there.  The Blue Devils have experience, a 22-1 record, and a 16 game winning streak. Genesis Prep has an 18-4 record with their 4 losses coming from higher division teams in Idaho, and two out of state teams.  Since I was a science teacher, I’ll go with a short lecture to figure it out.  Most devils you picture are red, so it’s curious to see a blue one.  However, much to the dismay of artists everywhere, red is not a hotter color than blue is. Blue stars are far hotter than red ones, and a blue flame is much hotter than a red one.  The Jaguars will feel the heat and lose to Dietrich in a thrilling final. 

There you have it. Feel free to disagree with me on every pick if you like.  That’s the fun of predicting who may win and who may lose.  But one thing is certain; the state championships are always a good and entertaining time for sports fans in the gem state.  Enjoy and remember you can listen to all of the games live and free on!

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