Ferris boys basketball coach Don Van Lierop is a tough man to impress.
He stopped short of calling the Saxons’ 89-46 romp over the visiting Rogers Pirates in a District 8 4A game Tuesday their best of the season.
Perhaps the standard is set too high at Ferris – especially considering the last two years the Saxons went to state, they didn’t suffer a loss and brought home state championships.
“It’s right up there,” Van Lierop said. “I’m not going to say it was our best one, but it was one of our better ones.”
So if Van Lierop wouldn’t say it, at least one of his players did.
“I thought it was our best game of the year,” said senior post Taylor Kamitomo, who did most of his damage on the perimeter, finishing with a game-high 25 points on 10-of-15 shooting.
Now the Saxons (20-1), who won for a 19th straight time, meet Gonzaga Prep (18-3) in the district final Friday at University. Tipoff is at 8:30. Rogers (8-14) takes on Central Valley (10-11) in a loser-out game at the same site at 5:15.
Ferris knew that Rogers made 12 3-pointers in a win over Mead on Monday. So the goal early was not to let the Pirates find a groove.
Rogers made three of its five 3-pointers in the first 5 minutes, and the Pirates pulled within 12-11 on the third 3-pointer. That’s when the Saxons started to separate and separated in a hurry.
They used a 9-2 surge to end the quarter with a 21-13 lead. Then Kamitomo took over in the second period. He scored nine straight points in one stretch and 13 of his 17 on 8-of-10 shooting in the first half in the quarter.
“That’s the best I’ve seen him play,” junior forward Chase Haack said of Kamitomo.
And Kamitomo admitted he felt hot.
“Every time I shot I thought it was going in,” Kamitomo said.
The Pirates didn’t score the final 5 minutes, 45 seconds of the first half as the Saxons finished on a 13-0 run.
It was an offensive and defensive clinic.
Leading the Saxons’ defense was senior guard Riley Stockton, who drew the assignment of defending the Pirates’ leading scorer, senior Deavon Daniels.
Daniels missed his first eight shots, finally scoring on a back-door cut with 2:07 to go in the third quarter.
“Riley did a super job defending Deavon,” Haack said.
Daniels was in the middle of Rogers’ 3-point shooting spree at Mead. Tuesday, he missed his first six 3-point attempts before making two and finishing with eight points.
Haack finished with a game-high 14 rebounds to go with 12 points. Stockton and Jordan Tonani also had 12 points and added five assists and three steals.
Now the Saxons will turn their full attention to G-Prep, which they swept in two tough games in league.
“It’s going to be a physical game from the start,” Haack said. “We’re going to have to match their defense because we know they’ll come out and play hard.”
Gonzaga Prep 79, Central Valley 63: The Bullpups seized control quickly, racing to a 41-25 lead by halftime. They led 64-40 going into the fourth.
Senior Parker Kelly led the way, matching a season-high 29 points on 9-of-15 shooting, 4 of 8 from 3-point range. He also had eight rebounds. Senior Chris Sarbaugh added 17 points on 5-of-7 shooting.
Gaven Deyarmin and Joseph Guerrinha led CV with 11 points each.