St. Maries High School
Conference: 2A Central Idaho League
Head Coach: Bryan Chase
Years as Head Coach: 2nd Season
Previous Experience: 10 seasons
Record Last Year: 16-5
State Titles: 1960
Chris Asbury; Don Eberlin
Drake Lounsbury (Sr, SG); Jake Sieler (Jr, SG); Dakota Wilson (Jr, PG); Kiefer Gibson (Jr, Post); Bryant Asbury (Jr, G)
“Key Players” lost from last year:
Lost 6 Seniors from last seasons team, four are playing sports in college.
Incoming “impact” players:
Brady Martin; Nate Masterson
Written by: Will Hoenike
Let's recap: 2014 quarterfinals in the 2A state football playoffs. Third-place finish in the 2015 2A state basketball tournament. State semifinalist in the 2015 state baseball tournament followed up by a quarterfinal appearance in the 2015 state football playoffs, falling to eventual state runner-up Aberdeen.
We're just guessing here, but the current group of juniors and seniors at St. Maries High School are probably a little tired of being invited to the dance but never wearing the crown when it ends.
That group makes up the core of the 2015-16 Lumberjack basketball team, a team that went 16-5 last season before falling by just four points in the state semifinals to Soda Springs. The Jacks rallied to top West Jefferson in the third place game to bring home a nice piece of hardware for the schools trophy case. But not THE piece of hardware.
So the team starts over again this season. Head coach Bryan Chase will have to re-tool his team a bit, losing six seniors off of last seasons squad.
However, he does have a strong group of athletes who are accustomed to winning at his disposal, led by senior guard Drake Lounsbury. Lousnbury will be joined on the court by junior guards Jake Sieler and Bryant Asbury with returning post presence Kiefer Gibson, who is also a junior.
A fourth junior, point guard Dakota Wilson, also returns to the Lumberjacks lineup. Chase welcomes some size in 6-foot-3 newcomer Brady Martin and some strength down low in Nate Masterson, a former state-champion wrestler. The two varsity newcomers, combined with the return of Gibson, gives Chase depth in the front court.
The post depth could create a big advantage for the Lumberjacks with guards who arent afraid to attack the basket with dribble penetration. If players like Wilson, Asbury, Sieler and Lounsbury are successful beating opponents off the dribble to get into the lane, it should lead to a lot of easy scoring opportunities for the teams post players.
"We will get up a lot of shots", Chase observed. "We've got to get our percentage up."
Chase wants to see his team pressure the ball on defense. If successful, it should lead to turnovers which, in turn, should lead to some easy shot opportunities. That should lead to a better overall shooting percentage.
Fans have been treated to a good non-conference schedule that includes home games against 5A Coeur dAlene, 3A Timberlake and traditional Washington State-B power Garfield-Palouse. And theres always the traditional Brawl for the Ball against rival Kellogg along with conference matchups with Grangeville, Orofino and Coeur dAlene Charter.
The Lumberjack players and staff will continue to give back to its community as well, putting on a youth basketball camp and also hosting the Elks Hoop Shoot.
St. Maries should be in contention for another state tournament berth. How far they go could depend on the growth of the teams post players. If that group excels, so will the Lumberjacks.