There was a definite group dynamic by youthful Central Valley in its Greater Spokane League girls basketball opener Tuesday night.
But the Bears’ 55-47 triumph at Mead was defined by the grit of 5-foot-8 sophomore forward Whitney Black.
Black’s determined forays to the basket – whether shaking off blows to the face on a couple of drives, rebounding at the offensive end or scoring clutch points – helped ignite rallies and runs. She also had one huge steal that led to a Bears’ breakaway basket and stemmed a final Panthers rally.
CV (3-1, 1-0 GSL) battled back twice from six-point deficits and once from eight points behind to lead by a point at the half. The Bears then built a 43-31 second-half advantage with a 16-5 scoring spurt into the fourth quarter. Black scored four points, one basket on a tough baseline drive, had four rebounds, and an assist.
When the Panthers (2-2, 0-1) stormed back to within a basket, it was Black who got the steal, passed to Brooke Gallaway for a layin, then later pulled down her biggest rebound of the night and scored for a 51-43 lead with 2 minutes, 31 seconds left in the game.
? “Her second half was the difference right there,” Bears coach Freddie Rehkow said. “She did the same thing last year.”
Still, the victory was a sum of CV’s parts, with big boosts from five sophomores. One, Sydney Emory, scored eight first-quarter points to keep the Bears in range during the early going. Another, Katie Estey, with two 3-pointers, teamed with senior Kelsey Matthews and Black to rally the team from a 22-14 deficit to a 25-24 halftime lead.
“They pushed us clear to the half-court line (on defense),” Rehkow said. “We had to get the ball inside more, or if not, inside-out.”
Estey added two more 3-pointers and had 10 of CV’s 16 points during a second-half run that featured Loree Hill’s long 3-pointer near the end of the third quarter with time about to expire on the shot clock. Black did her work inside to preserve it.
“Every rebound was important for the team to keep the lead,” Black said. “If I kept getting rebounds, I could get putbacks.”
Mead had led early with the scoring of Taylor Ingebritsen and Jazmine Redmon, who combined for 15 first-half points. Redmon’s defense on foul-troubled CV standout Brooke Gallaway loomed large.
Gallaway didn’t score until 3:39 remained in the game, hitting two free throws with CV leading by just a basket. The sophomore wound up with eight of the team’s final 10 points, making 6 of 7 from the free-throw line.
The Panthers’ Chenise Pakootas, who finished with 15 points, and freshman Jade Redmon fueled the fourth-quarter comeback that ran out of steam just when Gallaway started cooking.
“There’s no time to relish this win,” said Rehkow afterwards. “This is a tough week with University on Friday and Lewis and Clark on Saturday.”
Gonzaga Prep 53, University 42: The host Bullpups (3-0, 1-0) took command of the game early to remain unbeaten. G-Prep led 30-12 at intermission. Katie Covin had two 3-pointers in the second quarter. Lindsay Stockton led the victors with 18 points and Tia Pressley scored 14, with 12 rebounds and four assists. The Titans (2-2, 0-1) were led by freshman Hallie Gennett’s 13 points, all coming in the second half.
Lewis and Clark 68, Ferris 40: The visiting Saxons (1-4, 0-1) hung tough with their rival for a half, trailing by just four points. But the Tigers (3-1, 1-0) used zone defense and their transition game to pull away. They outscored Ferris 23-5 in the third quarter. Four LC players finished in double figures. Hayley Hendricksen had 12 points of six steals. Nakia Arquette scored 10 and had 11 rebounds.
North Central 60, East Valley 41: The host Indians (3-3, 1-0) evened their overall record in this game between 3A foes. They did it by getting the ball inside to Tara Van Weerdhuizen, who finished with 12 baskets and 27 points. The 6-foot-2 junior post also pulled down 15 rebounds and blocked six shots. The Knights (0-4, 0-1) were led by Jenni White, who had 17 points, five assists and three steals.
Shadle Park 71, Rogers 20: The visiting Highlanders (2-2, 1-0) jumped to a quick lead and built on it. All 10 Shadle players scored. Aleisha Hathaway scored 14 points and pulled down 12 rebounds. Rekyah Carney added 11 points. The Pirates (0-6, 0-1) had a nine-rebound effort from Jasmin Andrews, but they committed 25 turnovers.