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Idaho Boys Basketball Top 25 (Jan. 11): Sugar-Salem Rediscovers Winning Ways
The Diggers picked up a non-conference win over arch-rival Shelley on Tuesday night.
Published: 1/11/2023 3:15:23 PM
Brandon Baney
Managing Editor/Broadcaster


It wasn't that long ago that the Sugar-Salem Diggers were the class of 3A basketball in Idaho.  The Diggers claimed three state championships over a four-year span from 2017 to 2020.

An 8-18 season followed that third title during the 2020-21 season.  Last year, the Diggers finished 12-13 overall but still managed to sneak their way into the state tournament.

After that two year blip, it appears as if Sugar-Salem has course corrected and are back to their winning ways.  A 49-44 victory over Shelley on Tuesday night moved Sugar-Salem's overall record to 9-2 and catapulted the Diggers into the Idaho Boys Basketball Daily Top 25 rankings for the first time.

Tuesday night, Shelley trailed 18-8 at the end of the first quarter, but the Russets sizzled in the second frame, outscoring Sugar-Salem 22-7 to take a 30-25 lead into the halftime break.

In the third, Sugar-Salem regained control and led 40-37.  In the fourth quarter, every time Shelley would threaten to come back, the Diggers were ready with an answer.  

Christian Gordon was named the Player of the Game (presented by the Idaho Transportation Department) with 16 points, six rebounds, two assists and four steals.  He scored 11 of his 16 in the decisive third quarter.

Up next for the Diggers is an interesting non-conference showdown with Class 2A Bear Lake.  They'll host the Bears tonight (Wednesday, January 11th).  It's the start of a late season sprint that features games against Teton (twice), Marsh Valley, Snake River, Kimberly, North Fremont and Star Valley (Wyoming).

Sugar-Salem's record will probably take a few dings between now and district tournament time.  As long as it prepares the Diggers for the postseason, it's a tradeoff that head coach Shawn Freeman is willing to make.

Here's the rest of the Top 25 Daily Boys Basketball Rankings:


1. Lewiston (9-2)


1. Pocatello (12-0)
2. Hillcrest (10-0)
3. Skyview (9-3)
4. Wood River (8-2)
5. Preston (11-3)


1. Marsh Valley (9-2)
2. Teton (10-1)
3. Snake River (9-4)
4. Sugar-Salem (9-2)


1. Melba (10-0)
2. Wendell (8-1)
3. Orofino (6-1)
4. Nampa Christian (10-2)
5. Cole Valley Christian (9-2)
6. Aberdeen (7-3)
7. West Jefferson (6-4)
8. Ririe (9-1)


1. Lapwai (12-0)
2. Lighthouse Christian (9-1)
3. Valley (8-1)
4. Victory Charter (10-2)


1. Rockland (12-1)
2. Watersprings (11-2)
3. Richfield (10-0)

IN: Sugar-Salem, West Jefferson, Victory Charter
OUT: McCall-Donnelly, Troy, Camas County


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