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Ririe boys basketball heads back to 2A title game, pummels St. Maries

(FILE) Ririe High School boys basketball players and coaches celebrate after their 49-47 win over Aberdeen in the first round of the 2A state tournament Thursday at Capital High School in Boise. Photo by Stan Brewster

By LUKE O’ROARK | @LukeORoark

BOISE — This time around, the Ririe High School boys basketball team isn’t going home empty handed, coach Eric Torgerson said Friday night.

Ririe bulldozed St. Maries at Capital High School in the 2A semifinal round, 54-28, to reach the 2A state championship game for the second consecutive season. Jace Johnson and Michael Ure led the way with 14 points each while Ryker Parkinson added 11 for the Bulldogs (22-3).

Ririe returns to the 2A title game today at 1:40 p.m. at the Ford Idaho Center, this time as underdogs, to play the same opponent it lost to a year ago 56-39: Bear Lake.

(FILE) Ririe’s Michael Ure presses for a lay up against North Fremont’s Garrett Hawkes as North Fremont High School takes on Ririe High School in the 2A District 6 championship on Feb. 21. John Roark/ jroark@postregister.com

“We have nothing to lose,” Ririe coach Eric Torgerson said. “We weren’t proud of the way we came out. Our hearts were in the right place, but Bear Lake took it to us last year.

“We do have to go redeem ourselves,” Torgerson added.

But to earn the chance to potentially redeem itself, Ririe first had to play another rematch-type game Friday night at Capital High School against St. Maries.

Similar to last year’s semifinals, the Bulldogs didn’t have much trouble with the Lumberjacks.

Outscoring their opponent a combined 39-9 in the second and third quarter, the Bulldogs’ 2-3 zone defense smothered a Lumberjacks team that shot just 22 percent Friday.

Their biggest lead was 31 in the fourth quarter — a far cry of St. Maries’ 12-9 first quarter lead.

The Bulldogs’ largest run was 33-2 and they held St. Maries to just 3 of 27 shooting from beyond the arc.

“I was just trying to get us going,” said point guard Larz Sutton said, who finished with four points, two assists and three steals and used audible yells on the defensive end. “We can never have good enough defense.”

Torgerson said assistant Andy Bowden, last year’s starting point guard, told the team it wasn’t running in transition enough. The Bulldogs listened: scoring 12 points off transition and pushing the ball continuously off their 47 rebounds.

“Conversations between defenders,” Daeton Wheeler said. “We kept talking to each other on (St. Maries) picks. That’s just what kept us in it.”

While Torgerson talked to Ure at the end of the bench during garbage time Friday, the two shared a rare moment between coach and star player.

“He said, ‘You know, winning districts wasn’t a special feeling as last year,’” Torgerson said. The two smiled as the final buzzer sounded before Torgerson embraced his assistants.

Maybe not as special the second time around. But that’s because Ririe still has something to prove Saturday.

“No nerves,” Wheeler said. “We can’t be nervous.”

St. Maries 12 5 4 7 — 28
Ririe 9 19 20 6 — 54
ST. MARIES (28) — Ely Gibson 2, Kevin Duffeld 5, Caden Green 3, Tyler Lohman 4, Jackson Pritchard 5, Ethan Hill 2, Glover Bulo 2, Caden Hammond 2, Dan Powers 3. FG: 12. FT: 1-4. 3-pointers: 3 (Pritchard 1, Green 1, Duffield 1). Total fouls: 16. Fouled out: none.
RIRIE (54) — Larz Sutton 4, Arik Zeller 1, Daeton Wheeler 6, Stockton Johnson 2, Mateo Rosen 2, Jace Johnson 14, Ryker Parkinson 11, Michael Ure 14. FG: 20. FT: 9-14. 3-pointers: 5 (Wheeler 2, Johson 1, Parkinson 1, Ure 1). Total fouls: 9. Fouled out: none.

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