Haste can make waste, the old saying goes. But in a boys basketball game between teams in a hurry to be somewhere and at times with ugly results, the end result suited Gonzaga Prep just fine.
The Bullpups (19-1 overall, 14-1 in league) won 63-49 at University Thursday in the final night of Greater Spokane League play to clinch undisputed first place.
“It feels awesome,” said Matty McIntyre, who must wonder “How do you top this?” after his rookie season as head coach at G-Prep. “I had high expectations to start the year and the kids lived up to it.”
Victory secures the home court for G-Prep in the District 8 playoffs, which begin Monday with the fifth-seeded Titans (9-11, 6-9) playing at fourth place Lewis and Clark (10-10, 8-7) in a loser-out entry game.
Gonzaga plays host to that winner, and No. 2 Mead (15-5, 13-2) entertains Ferris (10-10, 8-7) Tuesday in winner-to-regional games, with the championship game and the game for the GSL’s third regional berth on Thursday.
Four 3A teams will play in regionals against teams from the Columbia Basin Big Nine. Seeding games are Wednesday and Thursday with No. 4 East Valley (3-17, 2-12) opening at Shadle Park (16-4, 12-2) and Rogers (10-10, 6-8) at North Central (11-9, 9-5).
All games in each classification are scheduled for 7:15 p.m.
Gonzaga Prep 63, University 49: McIntyre admitted there was not a great deal of flow during the game played at hyper speed at U-Hi with few fouls detected.
Much of it ended beyond the arc, the Titans launching 29 3-pointers, more than half their shot attempts, and connecting on 10. The Bullpups made five, all by Parker Kelly, of 14 from long range. And the teams combined for 29 turnovers.
But Gonzaga had much more of an inside presence, and after breaking a 23-23 first-half tie, steadily pulled away.
Kelly and Ryan Nicholas (who pulled down 16 rebounds) each finished with 18 points. Nicholas scored 956 points during three league seasons and has 1,203 overall for his career.
“I wouldn’t say I had confidence in my ability,” said McIntyre of his varsity coaching debut, “but I had confidence in these players. I knew we had a lot of good kids. I like our chances the next three weeks. We’re looking to play our best basketball of the year.”
Mead 59, Central Valley 41: The visiting Panthers started quickly and dominated the second half. Aaron Dunn scored nearly half the points, finishing with 28 to end the young Bears’ (6-14, 2-13) season.
Lewis and Clark 77, Ferris 74: Sage Poland, who hadn’t scored in double figures this season, broke loose for 24 points, and Levi Taylor added 23 to lead the visiting Tigers in the Rubber Chicken game.
The difference was LC’s 3-point shooting. The Tigers made 14 of 22, with Poland and Taylor both connecting on four. Chris Wilson hit five 3s for Ferris and 19 points and Jason Bates four 3s among his 29 points.
Shadle Park 71, Rogers 33: The host Highlanders trailed after a quarter before making short work of the Pirates. They outscored Rogers 61-20 over the final three periods. Robby Douglas scored 23 for Shadle.
North Central 57, East Valley 56: The visiting Indians trailed by nine points after the first quarter but regrouped. Isiah Antoine (20 points) and Ed Richardson (11) combined for 19 of that total in the second half. Steven Millan had 19 points for EV.