The top two finishers in Greater Spokane League boys basketball are virtually assured. So, too, are the top four finishers in wrestling.
Order of finish is another matter, although contests this week will go far in determining it.
In basketball, Gonzaga Prep and Shadle Park are 1-2 with a solid lead over the remainder of the field. They square off at Shadle tonight at 5:30.
In their first meeting, the Bullpups (13-1) got five 3-pointers and 27 points from Sean Fischer and won by 18 points after jumping to an 18-6 first-quarter lead. But they were upset by Lewis and Clark three weeks later.
Shadle is 12-2 after a 59-56 loss at home to Mead on Monday night that ended an eight-game winning streak. In its previous game, Shadle came back from 10 points down at the start of the second half to beat Central Valley.
“They can shoot it and we talked at halftime about getting a few stops,” said Shadle coach Tim Gaebe of the CV win. “Once we hit a few shots and had a few stops it became contagious.”
Shadle also plays host to Lewis and Clark on Friday and the Bullpups are at LC Saturday.
After that, two weeks remain until the end of the regular season.
Barring the unforeseen, the Bullpups and Highlanders will be top seeds to their respective district and regional tournaments. Behind them, seven teams with six or seven losses apiece are jousting for playoff position.
•Entering the final week of wrestling, unbeaten University faces a tough finish.
The Titans (8-0) are one match ahead of Central Valley (8-1) and Mead (6-1) in the loss column. U-Hi is at the Bears Wednesday in the Battle of the Bone and winds up the next night at home against East Valley (6-2).
Bad timing, poor choice
It wasn’t the best timing for West Valley basketball, but it was a lesson learned. Six players, four of them varsity regulars, sat out the game Friday night for an academic issue when the once-beaten Eagles boys traveled to unbeaten Pullman.
“It was a bonehead mistake. They made a bad decision,” said coach Jamie Nilles. “The great thing is they owned up to it.”
And the players are back for games against Deer Park and Colville that ends the first half of the Great Northern League season.
The Eagles (7-4, 3-2) lost 49-29 to fall two games behind the Greyhounds (9-3 overall) and Clarkston (7-4).
“(The incident) was the best thing for us,” said Nilles. “It was great for teaching kids lessons and I think it’s going to make us better.”
Both Clarkston and Pullman boys and girls teams improved to 6-0 in league during the weekend. They meet Friday to determine undisputed first place at season’s midpoint.
Like last year, Nilles thinks the league is balanced and that any of five teams is capable of beating any other.
“We’re trying to find consistency from other players right now,” he said of WV, which has had 16 different players see varsity time this year. “I was pleased with our defensive effort (in Pullman) and proud of the eight guys who played their tails off.”
With wins this weekend, Northwest Christian’s Chase Ramey can become one of fewer than a half-dozen basketball players to be part of 100 wins during his career. The Crusaders are three-time State 2B champions and 15-0 this year.
Gymnastics down to this
Mead gymnasts have had half again as many meets as the majority of GSL schools because of weather postponements. They’ll pack the rest, including eight of nine league counters, into three meets between Wednesday and the Feb. 4 season-ending showdown with University and Central Valley.
The Titans lead the league with four wins after handing Shadle Park its first loss in six league counters last week. The Panthers have won their lone league match and CV is 1-1.
College wrestlers at EV
East Valley will be the site Saturday at 7 p.m., of a college wrestling match between Simon Fraser University and Montana State University-Northern.
It will be preceded by a kids clinic at 4 that features four-time NAIA national champion, World medalist and Olympian Justin Abdou, the SFC head coach.
It will be a homecoming for some of the participants. EV state champion Clete Hanson competes for SFU. Montana State-Northern is coached by former Clarkston standout Tyson Thivierge and includes ex-Bantam Colt Heger and Lakeside’s Robbie Shaw.
Cost of the clinic is $5. Admission to wrestling is $6 adults, $4 children.