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Idaho Teams Fall Short in Preston Indian Classic
The Preston Indians couldn't defend their home court, losing their first matchup in more than a year
Published: 12/21/2020 12:48:14 PM
Brandon Baney
Managing Editor/Broadcaster


The Sky View Bobcats handed Preston its first loss in over a year, winning the 2020 Preston Indian Classic 73-59.

The Smithfield, Utah program proved to be too tall up front, boasting a front line of 6-foot-10 Jackson Schumann, 6-foot-7 Bracken Schumann and 6-foot-5 Evan Hall. Sky View's run to the title nearly went up in flames, though.

The Bobcats were pushed to the brink in the opening round by Marsh Valley, escaping with a 66-63 triumph. And a back and forth affair with Twin Falls in the semifinals was only decided when Sky View outscored the Bruins 26-12 in the fourth quarter, leading to a a 73-55 victory.

Preston's loss to Sky View snapped a 27-game winning streak for the Indians. Preston thoroughly dominated Sugar-Salem in the opening round 64-26 and Mountain Crest in the semifinals 78-57, before having the tables turned on them in the championship.

-Watch the archived broadcast

Twin Falls claimed third place with a 52-40 win over Mountain Crest. The Bruins went 2-1 at the tourney despite playing without starting center Zach Ball, a 6-foot-6 sophomore who was out with a concussion. Junior Kurtis Christensen helped fill the void, finishing with 15 points in the third-place game.

The Mountain Crest Mustangs came into tournament play with an 0-3 mark. However, the Hyrum, Utah, school found success right away, as they knocked down 13 three-pointers in a 70-63 win over Bonneville. Starting forward Joseph Hunsaker, the only freshman to play in the entire tournament, led the Mustangs with 17 points in the win. However, Mountain Crest cooled off significantly after that win, and finished 1-2 with losses to Preston and Twin Falls.

Marsh Valley and Sugar-Salem represented Class 3A well at the Indian Classic. Marsh Valley nearly upset eventual champion Sky View in the first round before falling 66-63. The Eagles routinely beat the taller Bobcats in one-on-one drives to the basket, and were led by Bracken Howell's 17 points. The following day, Marsh Valley earned a consolation victory over Star Valley, Wyoming's JV squad, 53-39.


After running into the Preston buzzsaw in the opening round, Sugar-Salem met Bonneville in a consolation bracket matchup Friday. The Bees led by as many as 14 points in the second half, but the Diggers came roaring back. Sugar-Salem erased the deficit and picked up a 68-66 win when senior Crew Clark scored a layup off of an out-of-bounds play with 30 seconds remaining.

That set up an interesting fifth-place game between Marsh Valley, a 3A state semifinalist a year ago, and Sugar-Salem, the defending state champs. While the matchup looked good on paper, things never materialized on the court, as the Eagles picked up a fairly convincing 72-58 win over the Diggers. Marsh Valley now boasts a 5-2 overall record, with each of their two losses coming by just three points. The Eagles have a balanced starting lineup, as a different player led the team in scoring each game. Bracken Howell had 17 points Thursday, Cody Hansen finished with 17 Friday, and Stanton Howell scored 21 on Saturday.

The most exciting game of the tournament actually came in the 7th place game Saturday morning, as Bonneville defeated Star Valley 70-67 in double overtime. Bonneville has had trouble closing games out so far this year, as evidenced by the 14-point comeback Sugar-Salem had over the Bees on Friday. In fact, head coach John Tucker IV said his team has led by double digits in every single game this year, and only has a 2-3 record to show for it.

The Star Valley Braves, a 4A program from Afton, Wyoming, might be the most snakebitten team in America. Star Valley was the top-ranked 4A squad in Wyoming a year ago, but as the team was driving to the arena to play for the state championship last March, they were told to turn around and go home. After the semifinals were completed, officials decided to cancel the final day of the state tournament due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, in an effort to flatten the curve, Wyoming officials have changed the maximum number of games that schools are allowed to compete in. To stay within their allotted amount of games, Star Valley's JV team had to play on Friday against Marsh Valley. They will be in a similar situation next week at the East Idaho Holiday Tournament in Idaho Falls.

Sky View's Evan Hall earned the MVP honor, finishing with double-digit totals each game, and was Sky View's top scorer, despite coming off the bench for two of three games. Hall finished with 15.3 points per game and shot over 80% from the field. All-Tournament Team:

G Carson Johnson SR Bonneville 22.7 PPG
G Nic Swensen SR Twin Falls 15.0 PPG
F Crew Clark SR Sugar-Salem 15.0 PPG
F Cody Hansen SR Marsh Valley 13.3 PPG
C Braden Hess SR Preston 13.7 PPG



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