TACOMA – It was a good day for the Gonzagas – the Gonzaga Prep Bullpups and Gonzaga University.
First, the Gonzaga Prep boys basketball team advanced to state semifinals for the first time since 1976. Second, the soon-to-be Gonzaga University players – Chris Sarbaugh of G-Prep and Gary Bell Jr. of Kentridge – played well.
Only Sarbaugh was smiling in the end, though, as the Bullpups found their defense in the second half in a 72-60 win over the Chargers of Kentridge in the State 4A quarterfinals Thursday at the Tacoma Dome.
The Bullpups (21-3) take on No. 1-ranked and heavily favored Garfield (23-3) tonight at 5:30. No G-Prep team has finished higher than third. The 1976 team was led by Terry Kelly, Parker’s father.
As it turned out, Shane Schmidlkofer was the kitchen sink that Bullpups coach Matty McIntyre said it would take to slow down Bell.
Schmidlkofer spent the most time guarding the highly touted and talented guard. Bell scored a team-high 22 points, but he had to make 6 of 19 shots from the field and 9 of 12 free throws to do it.
“He does such a good job of anticipating and getting so low,” Sarbaugh said of Schmidlkofer’s defense. “He has such a good base that it allows him to stay in front as much as he could because Gary’s a good player. He came in averaging about 30 points per game. We thought if we could keep him below 30 we’d win this game.”
Bell had a quiet 12 points in the first half. What concerned McIntyre most, though, was his other four players were standing around watching Schmidlkofer defend Bell.
“Boy we studded up in the second half,” McIntyre said. “They hit 6 of 10 3-pointers in the first half (1 of 10 in the second half). We buckled down a little bit and got our defense in order and just played a great game.”
And Sarbaugh was the better of the two future Zags. He finished with a team-high 22 points, eight rebounds, five steals and three assists. Gonzaga Prep frequently posted up Sarbaugh in the low block in the second half, and he had a field day.
“Chris did an amazing job all night battling inside on the block,” McIntyre said.
G-Prep got a little separation early in the fourth quarter when Bell had to sit with four fouls.
Then when Bell came back, the Bullpups withstood the Chargers’ (20-9) comeback attempts.
On a day when the 4A boys saw a lot of offense and very little defense, G-Prep was refreshing to watch.
Kelly had 20 points and four assists and senior Stephen Ferraro came up big, scoring 15 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and dishing out four assists.
Now the task tonight gets much more difficult for the Bullpups.
The only people who probably believe they can win were the ones in G-Prep’s locker room Thursday.
“That’s fine,” McIntyre said. “Obviously it just matters what our take on it is. To be quite honest we know we have our hands full.”
Count Sarbaugh as a believer.
“With the way we’re playing, anything can happen,” he said.
The Lewis and Clark Tigers find themselves in a familiar position – if not this group, at least the program – in the semifinals.
It may not have been as fluid as coach Jim Redmon desired, but the Tigers advanced and that’s all that mattered in their 61-52 win over Edmonds-Woodway.
“I still think we made some tremendous mistakes,” Redmon said. “I thought we gritted it out, hit foul shots and hit some big 3s when we needed to. They’re a quality team.”
E-W led 13-11 after the first period. But LC began to take control in the second quarter, opening as much as a nine-point lead before taking a 33-26 lead into halftime.
Then the Tigers gave all of that back to open the second half. The Warriors took a brief lead at 36-34. But when Hayley Hendricksen completed a three-point play, LC took the lead back for good at 37-36 with 5 minutes remaining in the quarter.
Devyn Galland led all scorers with 20 points, including 11 of 12 free throws. Hendricksen and Nakia Arquette had 12 each, and Hendricksen had a team-high 10 rebounds.
“That was the biggest thing we talked about before the game – not winning on the first day at Tacoma before,” Galland said. “We wanted to get past this and motivation for this should carry over.”