Now that was more like the Greater Spokane League boys basketball champions.
Like they did most of the regular season to opponents, the Ferris Saxons muffled the visiting Richland Bombers with defense, and that fed inspired offense Tuesday.
The Saxons held Richland to 14 points in the first half, cruising to an 83-60 win in a 4A play-in game.
Second-ranked Ferris (22-2) advances to state and will face District 3/4 No. 8 seed Evergreen of Vancouver (17-7) Friday at Richland High School. Tipoff is at 5:45, part of a quadrupleheader.
The Bombers (18-7) scored the game’s first basket. Then the Saxons went on a 13-0 run and Richland never recovered.
Things actually got worse in the second quarter for the Bombers. Counting the final two baskets of the first period, Ferris used a 16-0 surge to build a 33-9 lead with 3:20 remaining before halftime.
It was a much different Ferris team than the one that fell to Gonzaga Prep in the District 8 championship game last Friday and then held off Rogers by a point in overtime in an elimination game Saturday.
“I think last weekend we were playing a little conservative,” said Ferris post Taylor Kamitomo, who scored a game-high 23 points and had eight rebounds. “We were trying not to make mistakes. Tonight we came out and said we’ve got to play our game. If you have an open shot take it. That’s the beauty of this team. We’re a threat all over.”
The Saxons were one point shy of all five starters scoring in double figures. Chris Wilson had 18 points and three assists and Chase Haack and Riley Stockton had 13 apiece. Stockton also had nine rebounds and six assists. The fifth starter, Jordan Tonani, had nine points, nine rebounds and three assists.
Ferris owned an impressive 43-26 advantage on the boards.
“The G-Prep game carried over into the Rogers game and we let them stick with us,” Kamitomo said.
There was no hangover Tuesday.
“That’s the way we play basketball,” Kamitomo said. “We want to get out and go and keep running up the scoreboard. That’s how Ferris plays ball.”
Predictably, Ferris came out a tad flat to open the second half – and for a few moments the Bombers thought they had life.
Richland used five 3-pointers to pull within 58-31 with 1:14 remaining in the period. But the momentum shifted back to Ferris quickly in the final 37 seconds when a Bomber was called for a foul and Richland coach Earl Streufert was assessed a technical foul. Wilson made both free throws from the foul and both foul shots on the technical and Kamitomo scored on a fastbreak layup with 14 seconds to go, pushing the Saxons’ lead to 67-41 going into the final quarter.
Twice in the fourth the Saxons enjoyed a 32-point lead, the final such margin coming when Nate Galgalo hit a jumper for a 78-46 advantage with 3:54 remaining.
The Saxons are excited about state.
“Our defense is what will get us going,” Kamitomo said. “If we play good defense, our offense will flow.”
Stockton thought the start was the difference.
“We came out with the right attitude and we tried to use our athleticism to our advantage,” Stockton said. “I have to give a lot of credit to our coaches. They scouted (Richland) at least three or four times. They had a really good game plan for us. Richland’s well-coached and we knew that coming in. We knew if we could stop their motion offense we’d be successful.”