Boys High School Basketball

Ambrose boys basketball rallies to beat Lapwai for first 1A Division I state title

Ambrose’s Travis Yenor drives to the basket during the second half against Lapwai in the 1A Division I boys basketball state championship game Saturday, March 5, 2016, at the Ford Idaho Center in Nampa. Yenor scored 75 points during the three-day tournament.
Ambrose’s Travis Yenor drives to the basket during the second half against Lapwai in the 1A Division I boys basketball state championship game Saturday, March 5, 2016, at the Ford Idaho Center in Nampa. Yenor scored 75 points during the three-day tournament. The Associated Press

Ambrose High senior Easton Boeck struggled with his 3-point shot for most of Saturday’s state championship game.

But on the biggest shot of his life, this Archer’s aim was true. Boeck’s steal and triple put Ambrose ahead for good with 4:27 remaining as the Archers notched a 67-62 comeback victory in the 1A Division I final at the Ford Idaho Center.

Boeck finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds, while senior Travis Yenor added 23 points and nine boards for the Archers. Ambrose (25-2) trailed by 10 in the second half, but Boeck’s big moment was part of a huge fourth-quarter surge that put the Archers over the top.

“My team kept believing in me,” said Boeck, who was 1-for-9 on 3-pointers when he took his crucial shot. “I’ve been in a slump, but my teammates gave me confidence, and I just let it fly.”

Lapwai came out hot and built an early 12-3 lead. The Archers battled back, and Yenor’s off-balance 3 at the halftime buzzer closed the gap to 28-26. But momentum swung back to Lapwai in the third quarter, and the undefeated favorites looked primed to pull away.

“We knew Lapwai was an explosive team capable of getting out to a lead,” Yenor said. “But we have a mentally strong group of guys. We weren’t going to give up.”

With their backs against the wall, the Archers unleashed a flurry of clutch shots in the fourth quarter, putting together a 22-3 run that turned a 10-point deficit into a nine-point lead. Boeck’s big shot was part of a wild sequence that included a missed Boeck 3, a missed Yenor put-back, a mad scramble for the loose ball and, finally, Boeck’s Reggie Miller-like steal and 3 for the lead.

“It took a lot of guts to take that shot,” Yenor said. “He’s a senior, he’s got that willpower, and he put in a lot of time to make shots like that one.”

Moments later, sophomore Ethan Christianson nailed another 3 to give Ambrose a four-point cushion. An inside bucket by Boeck increased the lead to six, and clutch free throw shooting allowed the Archers to hang on from there.

Junior guard Jaxon Hughes — who scored 13 points — and Boeck each went 9-for-10 at the charity stripe as Ambrose shot 79 percent as a team. Christianson added 12 points for the Archers, while Emmit Taylor scored 12 points to lead Lapwai (22-1).

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