The Ferris/Gonzaga Prep boys basketball game Friday was no place for the passive.
It was a pack-a-lunch-blue-collar tug of war between Greater Spokane League leaders, and the visiting Saxons took a giant step toward a conference championship with a 49-38 victory.
Both teams played tenacious switching and help man-to-man defense in the physical yet clean game. Ferris senior Riley Stockton was the worse for wear after he took an inadvertent shoulder above his left eye late in the first quarter. He reopened a cut that he suffered a year ago.
“Same eye, same place,” Stockton said, moments before leaving to go get stitches.
The referees required Stockton to change jersey tops with 1:11 remaining when blood was discovered just before he was to shoot the first of two free throws. Ferris coach Don Van Lierop called timeout, allowing Stockton enough time to change so he wouldn’t have to send in a reserve to shoot the foul shots.
Stockton made both shots, giving the Saxons (10-1 overall, 9-0 league) a 42-35 lead as the Bullpups’ fourth-quarter comeback stalled.
“It truly was just a war, back and forth,” said Stockton, who scored a team-high 14 points to go with eight rebounds. “Both teams played solid defense. If you like offense that wasn’t the game for you. I give all the credit to them (G-Prep). They gave a tough fight. We’ll see them again down the road hopefully.”
Perhaps in a district championship game.
“It’s a long ways away and a lot of things can happen,” cautioned Stockton. “But that game was really fun. That’s the beauty about these two teams. We’re both so physical. You’re going to have to work for every point. I thought that really showed tonight.”
Ferris senior post Taylor Kamitomo agreed.
“They came out and jumped on defense and we jumped right back,” said Kamitomo, who scored all 11 of his points in the first half to go with seven rebounds. “That’s the two top defensive teams in the league.”
The Saxons led 22-15 at halftime, and they pushed the advantage to 30-20 by the midway mark of the third quarter.
The Bullpups (9-3, 8-2) fought back, taking their first lead since early in the second quarter at 35-34 when Stephen Ferraro made an 18-foot jumper with 3:23 to go in the fourth quarter.
Ferris responded quickly when senior Jordan Tonani converted in transition. It was the start of a 13-0 run.
Saxons junior forward Chase Haack hit a 3-pointer on a kick out from Kamitomo moments later that came late in the possession.
In fact, most possessions drained a lot of time off the shot clock.
“They started creeping up on us and made a run and our guys had good composure and stuck with it,” Kamitomo said.
G-Prep coach Matty McIntyre praised his team’s effort, but thought the Bullpups settled for too many 18-footers.
“A bunch of 18-foot jump shots with a foot on the 3-point line isn’t really an ideal situation for us,” McIntyre said. “I would have liked to have seen us be a little more aggressive. I felt like at times we were tentative – even passing and dribbling. It seemed like their pressure got to us a little bit.”
Parker Kelly led G-Prep with 20 points.
University 56, Mead 46: The visiting Panthers (5-7, 4-6) had a 24-23 lead at halftime, but the Titans (9-2, 8-2) outscored Mead 33-22 in the second half.
Brett Bailey led U-Hi with 16 points, six rebounds and three steals and Zane McDonald had 10 points and five rebounds in 12 minutes playing time. Garrett Swanson led Mead with 16 points and six rebounds.
Central Valley 47, Lewis and Clark 37: The Bears (7-6, 6-4) clamped down on defense in the second half.
Tanner Wollan led CV with 14 points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots. CV limited LC (2-10, 2-8) to one assist. Nic Hostetler led the Tigers with 11 points and seven rebounds.
Rogers 55, Shadle Park 52: The Pirates (4-8, 4-6) snapped a seven-game losing streak at home.
Steve Delvecchio led Rogers with 17 points and Deavon Daniels had 12 points, 19 rebounds and six assists. Keonte Brown led the Highlanders (3-9, 2-8) with 22 points.
North Central 60, Mt. Spokane 52: The visiting Indians (5-6, 5-5) grabbed the win at the line and on the boards.
NC made 17 of 25 foul shots to the Mt. Spokane’s 4 of 7. NC outrebounded the Wildcats (2-8, 1-8) 31-24.
Aaron Antoine led NC with 14 points. Trevor Kissinger of Mt. Spokane scored a game-high 18 on his 18th birthday to go with eight rebounds.