A year ago, the Davenport Gorillas secured a second-place finish at the District 7 and State 2B tournaments. With eight seniors back from that squad, the Gorillas wanted to leave no doubt about a return trip to the Spokane Arena.
Playing a somewhat shorthanded Colfax squad for the District 7 title Thursday, the Gorillas (20-6) punched their ticket to state with a 47-41 victory at Mt. Spokane High.
“We’ve gone through a lot of adversity this year and all season we’ve really only had one goal in mind, and that was to make it back to state,” said Davenport senior Jarod Gunning, who tallied 11 points in the win over the Bulldogs (17-8).
Taking advantage of Colfax’s lack of size in the post without center Andrew Scholz, who injured his knee last month, the Gorillas went to work with 6-foot-9 center Morgan Scharff.
Scharff finished with a game-high 18 points, adding 15 rebounds, six blocks and five assists. He helped spark a 12-3 run in the opening 5:33 of the third quarter that gave Davenport the lead for good.
“Our goal was to play one quarter at a time,” Davenport coach Tim Zeiler said. “The second quarter kind of got away from us, so during our halftime we went into the spare gym and diagramed some plays. We got the kids believing in coming out and playing hard.”
According to Gunning, it was as simple as “getting it to the big man.”
Already with 10 points at halftime, the Gorillas went to Scharff early and often in the third quarter, pushing his point total to 16 by the start of the fourth.
Colfax mounted a quick comeback in the final frame, using the momentum from a buzzer-beating bucket from Alex Teade at the conclusion of the third period.
The shot brought the Bulldogs within seven. Brandon Gfeller’s fourth 3-pointer of the game whittled the deficit to four at 35-31.
At that point, the experience Davenport’s eight seniors shone through, allowing the Gorillas to keep pace the rest of the way and pull out the victory after finishing fourth in league.
“We knew it was going to be harder than ever to get back (to state),” Zeiler said. “Fortunately for us, we play in a very tough league and our caliber of ball has to be there for every game, and I think that prepared us for where we’re at right now.”
The Bulldogs still have a chance to earn their way to the state tournament as the No. 2 seed from the district, playing Lind-Ritzville at 5 p.m. Saturday at Mt. Spokane.
Lind-Ritzville 67, Reardan 58: James Stevenson tallied a game-high 27 points, Bryce Hilzer scored 23 points and the Broncos (19-8) survived their elimination game against the Indians (13-13) to advance to Saturday’s game against Colfax.
Leading the Indians by two at the half, L-R outscored them 23-13 in the third quarter, building the lead to as high as 14 before icing the game in the fourth quarter at the free-throw line.
Reardan’s Jake Hight scored 17.
Idaho 2A District I-II
Kamiah 52, Coeur d’Alene Charter 36: Jack Nygaard scored 23 points and the Kubs held the Panthers (14-10) to one field goal in the second quarter, pulling ahead by seven at the half in Lewiston. The Kubs advanced to the state tournament, while the Panthers, who were paced by the 14 points and nine rebounds of Bob Schrack, saw their season come to an end.