The buzz saw keeps humming along.
Already with the last two 4A boys basketball state championships in their pocket, the Preston Indians picked up their 29th consecutive win Friday, earning a shot to play for a third straight title at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Ford Idaho Center.
Behind a suffocating defense and utilizing their sizable size advantage, the Indians knocked off Skyview 62-37 at Borah High in the semifinals. They will face Burley, looking to be the first school to win three straight state titles since the 4A classification was born in 2001.
“They’re legit,” said Skyview senior guard Cayden Wright, who had a team-best nine points. “... They took care of business tonight, and took advantage of our inexperience.”
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Making its first state tournament appearance since 2014 with only one starter taller than 6-foot-1, Skyview (19-7) had its work cut out against Preston (25-0) and its 6-7, 250-pound senior post, Brayden Parker.
The Idaho State commit quickly showed how it was going to be Friday, making his first four shots in the first quarter, pulling down four rebounds and blocking two shots.
Parker nearly had a triple-double — finishing with 20 points, 10 rebounds and eight blocks in 26 minutes.
“He affects the game in so many ways,” Skyview coach Aaron Sanders said. “He can score with his back to the bucket, he generates a lot of their fastbreaks.”
With a presence inside, Skyview had a difficult time trying to cut to the basket, and that allowed Preston’s guards to be aggressive on the outside. The Hawks shot 31.3 percent (15-of-48) for the game, including 23.8 percent in the first half. Their scoring output was the worst of the season, the previous low a 48-point evening.
“We really meshed today,” said Parker, whose team beat Skyview 68-54 on Dec. 1. “It’s fun to see what we can do.”
Knowing a quick start was vital, the Hawks hit a pair of free throws with 2:18 left in the first quarter to get within 11-7. They didn’t score again for more than 5 minutes, during which Preston scored 10 straight and built all the cushion it needed.
“Before the game, we knew they were really good, so we said we can’t have three, four possessions in a row or three, four minutes in a row where they’re scoring and we’re not,” Sanders said. “It’s really hard to come back from those runs, and that’s exactly what happened.”
The Indians also got 12 points and 12 assists from senior guard Derek Wadsworth in the win.
“We’ve been playing together since fourth grade ... we’re just smiling, we’re ready,” Parker said. “We just finished Step 2, and we’re on to Step 3.”
Burley (21-4) is the only 4A team in the state not to lose by double digits against Preston this season. The Bobcats, who beat Century 72-59 on Friday, lost by eight and 11 in the regular season.
Senior forward Andrew Ferrin led the Bobcats with 21 points on 9-of-9 shooting in the win over Century (15-12). Burley shot 62.8 percent from the field, as four players scored in double figures.
“The opportunity is difficult, to say the least,” Burley coach Trent Whiting said. “They’re not back-to-back state champions without a reason. We’re going to have to play our ‘A’ game (Saturday). ... I think our guys are ready, they’ve gotten better during the season.”
3A: Fruitland vs. Kimberly
Fruitland beat Snake River 52-45 on Friday, handing the Panthers their third loss of the season to reach the state final. Jake O’Neil contributed 16 points and 10 rebounds for Fruitland.
The Grizzlies (21-4) will play Kimberly (20-5) at 3:50 p.m. Saturday at the Idaho Center.
Connor Golay (22) and Trey Garey (18) combined for 40 points for Kimberly in a semifinal win against Shelley.
2A: Bear Lake vs. Ririe
Bear Lake (23-3) and Ririe (22-3) have a combined six losses going into their final at 1:40 p.m. at the Idaho Center — a rematch of last year’s final won by Bear Lake. Hayden Peterson scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds as Bear Lake beat Declo. Jace Johnson and Michael Ure scored 14 apiece for Ririe vs. St. Maries.
1A Division I: Valley vs. Lapwai
Valley edged Ambrose 55-52 and Lapwai slipped by Grace 69-66 in two competitive semifinals. Valley and Lapwai will meet at 11:30 a.m. at the Idaho Center.
Zane Mussmann posted 22 points and 14 rebounds for Valley (19-5), while Ethan Christianson continued a monster tournament for Ambrose (18-8) with 29 points. Emmit Taylor III scored 26 points for Lapwai and Paycen Jensen scored 32 for Grace.
1A Division II: Genesis Prep vs. Carey
Favorite Genesis Prep (21-4) dealt Dietrich its second loss of the season in the semifinals and will face Carey (21-5) in the final at 9:30 a.m.
Carey beat Tri-Valley 48-46. Orion Southwick scored 27 points for Tri-Valley (19-7).