Itís been 46 days since either one of Priest Riverís basketball teams have won a game. No matter how you slice it, one thing is for certain: Both Spartan boys and girls teams should be eager for a fresh start in 2019.
This isnít to say there have been close calls ó the boysí season-opening 54-52 loss to North Idaho Christian, the girlsí back-to-back spoiled comebacks against Clark Fork and Wallace, and the boys keeping pace with Wallace for a quarter before the game got out of hand definitely come to mind ó but a combined 1-14 start to Priest Riverís hardwood exploits leaves something to be desired.
Thankfully, the Bonners Ferry games on Jan. 4 offer opportunities to turn around the Spartansí seasons.
Of course, itís easier said than done ó especially when taking two fairly young teams inside Bonners Ferryís raucous home court.
The girls team will have to hit the ground running if they want to keep pace with the 10-win Lady Badgers, who are two missteps away from a perfect record. Led by a balanced mix of veterans and promising sophomores, the Lady Badgers have several competent scorers in Mackenzie Jackson, Jerzie Pluid and twins Sadie and Sierra Hill. Any one of those four athletes can also crash the boards, which means Karah Fink will have her work cut out for her.
Yet this doesnít mean beating Bonners Ferry is an impossible task.
The Lady Badgers have two questionable losses on their record: a blown lead against a shorthanded St. Maries team, and a 26-point loss to a previously-winless 2-9 Sandpoint team.
Meanwhile, the boys will face a beatable 4-5 Badgers squad.
Although the Badgers boast shooters Tyler Lohman, Seth Bateman and Dylan Hittle, their offense is prone to disappear during stretches. But if the game turns into an offensive firefight, Priest Riverís Caden Brennan, Trentyn Kreager and Brandon McCracken should be factors; specifically, McCraken has been an exceptional inside-out scorer that could stymie the Badgersí defense.
That elusive first win could be on the horizon.
The girls tip off at 5:30 p.m. in Bonners Ferry, while the boys will play at 7 p.m.