It was a slower start than the Ferris boys basketball team has been used to this season.
By the middle of the second half, though, the Saxons were well on their way to an eighth straight victory as visiting Ferris pulled away from the Rogers Pirates 65-50 in Greater Spokane League play Tuesday.
Rogers didn’t start like a team in a recent slump. The Pirates’ Nik Hellenthal scored a basket to tie the score at 25 with about 2 minutes left in the first half, but the Saxons finished with a 7-1 surge for a 32-26 lead at halftime.
That momentum carried over to the start of the second half as the Saxons (9-1, 8-0 GSL) pushed their lead to double digits quickly. And all of a sudden the Pirates (3-8, 3-6) were on their way to a sixth straight league setback and seventh overall after a 3-0 start in league.
“We didn’t play very well and Rogers gets some of the credit,” Ferris coach Don Van Lierop said.
Senior wing Riley Stockton agreed.
“I don’t think we came out focused,” said Stockton, who had a game-high 19 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals. “I don’t think we gave them enough credit going into the game. We didn’t prepare well enough and that starts with the captains and the seniors.”
Stockton was pointing the finger at himself. He’s one of the two captains.
Still, the Saxons got things rolling for a while in the second half, especially the middle of the fourth quarter. Stockton’s final three points came when he made a basket underneath while being fouled. His free throw extended the Saxons’ lead to 60-41 with 2:31 remaining.
Stockton was one of four starters to reach double-figure scoring. Chase Haack had 11 points to go with a team-high 11 rebounds and Chris Wilson and Taylor Kamitomo had 10 points each.
Haack agreed with Stockton regarding the Saxons’ play in general.
“I think we came in and underestimated (Rogers),” Haack said. “We put it on cruise control.”
Stockton said the Saxons must play much better Friday when they face defending league champ Gonzaga Prep.
“We’ve got to recommit ourselves tomorrow in practice,” Stockton said. “This kind of effort isn’t going to work.”
Stockton also praised Rogers, which was led by the 14 points and nine rebounds from Hellenthal.
“They’re better than we thought,” Stockton said. “Rogers is a lot better than people give them credit for. They’re really athletic and they can shoot it. They’re a tough out for anybody.”
Gonzaga Prep 81, Mt. Spokane 38: Behind three 3-pointers in the first half from Parker Kelly, the visiting Bullpups (9-2, 8-1) got out fast and didn’t let up.
The Bullpups opened a 45-15 lead by halftime. Kelly scored a game-high 23 points and Ryan Gregory came off the bench for 20 as he made 8 of 12 shots from the field. TJ Bracey chipped in 10.
Hunter Hahn had 14 points to lead the Wildcats (2-7, 1-7).
University 56, Central Valley 52: Getting to the free-throw line and rebounds were the big difference as the Titans (8-2, 7-2) remained alone in third place.
The visiting Titans outrebounded the Bears (6-5, 5-5) 40-28. U-Hi also made 17 of 29 foul shots to CV’s 7 of 10.
Brett Bailey and Zach Martin each scored 12 and Jared Miller had 11 for U-Hi. Titans post Joe Dahl had nine rebounds. CV was led by Garret Sawyer’s 15 points and 11 from Danny Nimri.
Mead 59, Shadle Park 30: Perhaps the Panthers (5-6, 4-5) are getting healthy at the right time.
Garrett Swanson, who missed most of December with a displaced knee cap, scored a team-high 13 points to go with seven rebounds. The key for Mead was forcing 20 turnovers in the second quarter when the Panthers outscored the visiting Highlanders (3-8, 2-7) 23-8.
North Central 67, Lewis and Clark 64: Gunnar Swagger made two free throws with 17 seconds to go to lift the visiting Indians (4-6, 4-5) past the Tigers (2-9, 2-7).
Swagger and Zac Hill each scored 15. Jeff Livingston led LC with 18 points.