Forty-eight teams begin tournament play Friday in northern Idaho. The double-elimination format gives teams a shot at advancing through the losers bracket back to Saturdays championship match. Which six teams willbe left standing with a trophy?
Seven of the eight teams that reached state last year are back, including champion Lewiston. The Bengals have lost one match this season.
Vallivue had the best finish among last years District Three schools, but earned the No. 2 seed this season behind Timberline. Vallivue draws favorite Lewiston in its opener.
Three of the Treasure Valleys four qualifiers ended up on the same side of the bracket, and Timberline and Boise face each other in the first round, with the winner potentially meeting Rocky Mountain in the second round.
Three-time defending champion Century aims for another title after winning the District Five-Six championship.
Hoping to put an end to that streak is a Skyview team that has not lost to an Idaho school this season, and handed 5A favorite Lewiston its lone loss.
The Hawks are led by seven seniors, who helped the school reel in its third District Three title in a row and ninth in the past 11 seasons.
Since the 4A classification was started in 2000, Sandpoint, Bonneville and Century have accounted for all but one state title.
Bishop Kelly is making its fourth straight appearance at state, while Middleton is back for the first time since 2010.
Parma ended Fruitlands run of nine consecutive District Three titles, earning the leagues No. 1 seed at state.
The Panthers moved up to the 3A classification in 2010, having won two state titles in a row from 2008-09.
Five teams from last years field return, including champion Fruitland and runner-up Priest River. Snake River, which wontitles in 2010 and 2011, won the District Five title.
Filer (District Four), Sugar-Salem (District Six) and Priest River (District One-Two) are the other league champions in the field.
Nampa Christian reignited its rich tradition with a state championship last season, its first since the Trojans won six of seven from 2000-06.
Nampa Christian won the District Three title last week, but may have a tougher road to the title than last season. If the Trojans beat first-round opponent North Fremont, it could set up a rematch against Firth, last years runner-up.
Melba earned the leagues No. 2 seed and Cole Valley Christian won a play-in game against Oakley to advance. Both District Three schools are on the same side of the bracket.
1A DIVISION I
Reigning champion Challis did not make the tournament, leaving Genesee, last years runner-up, as one of the favorites. Genesee last won in 2009, and has finished second the past three seasons.
Liberty Charter is making its first appearance at state, and has the best potential among District Three schools as the reigning district champ.
Compass Honors is back at state for the second straight season, while Idaho City beat Challis in a play-in match to qualify.
1A DIVISION II
Four of the teams from last years field return, including Lighthouse Christian, which defeated Mackay in the championship match.
Camas County is back after a one-year absence, and should be considered a threat after winning three titles in a row from 2009-11.
For the second straight season, Tri-Valley and Horseshoe Bend represent District Three, but have switched places from last season. Tri-Valley enters as the district champion, headlined by seniors Victoria Branch, Skye Southwick, Hillary Hollon and Rachael Neckels.
Rachel Roberts: 377-6422