In a matchup of the boys basketball teams picked to finish 1-2 in the Greater Spokane League, the defending champions made it look easy on Friday night.
The Central Valley Bears rode hot shooting and sound defense to fend off the visiting Gonzaga Prep Bullpups 58-40 in a game that wasn’t close.
Nothing went wrong for the Bears (5-0 overall, 4-0 league) and little to nothing went right for the Bullpups (3-2, 3-1), who were picked to win the league title.
“The ball seemed to bounce our way some key times early and we got the lead and were able to sustain it down the stretch,” CV coach Rick Sloan said. “(G-Prep’s) a good team. I know they didn’t shoot the ball real well and we’ll see them again and it will be a battle.”
Now CV stands as the lone GSL unbeaten.
The Bears turned it into a lopsided affair early. After G-Prep’s Brendan McClary hit a 3-pointer seconds into the contest, CV ran off nine straight points, and things began to unravel for the Bullpups.
Two baskets by CV’s 6-foot-6 junior post Beau Byus accounted for the final two baskets of the opening quarter and three straight baskets to open the second allowed the Bears to move out to a 21-6 lead.
A jumper moments later by junior guard Adam Chamberlain gave the Bears their biggest lead of the first half at 25-8 with 3:37 to go before halftime.
Chamberlain, who finished with a game-high 20 points, scored 15 in the first half, 10 in the second quarter. Byus finished with 18, 10 of which came in the first half. Chamberlain and Byus combined to hit 12 of 14 shots in the first half.
Byrus’ sharp shooting from close range continued. He finished 9 of 10 from the field to go with eight rebounds. Chamberlain was 9 of 15 with four assists, three rebounds and two steals.
CV took a 29-13 lead into halftime.
A basket inside by Byus in the third quarter gave the Bears their biggest lead at 46-21 with 1:52 remaining in the quarter.
The Bears made 54 percent of their shots (26 of 48) to G-Prep’s 29 percent (13 of 44).
For the Bears, it was a breakout game offensively.
“We were shooting real bad the first couple of games,” Chamberlain said.
“Shooting really got us going tonight.”
Sloan expects the Bears to shoot well most games.
“We’re a good shooting team, we just had been struggling a little bit,” Sloan said. “When we knock down some shots we can play with anybody.”
Byus praised the Bears’ defense.
“Our defense was superb. That was a big key,” Byus said. “They’re a physical team and we wanted to be just as physical.”
Ferris 68, Rogers 59: Matt Belles scored a career-high 26 points, including five 3-pointers, to lead the visiting Saxons (4-1, 3-1). Cody Benzel added 19 points for Ferris. Amaujae Daniels led Rogers with 25.
University 68, North Central 48: Brett Bailey scored 16 points to go with eight rebounds, five assists and four blocked shots as the Titans (4-1, 3-1) topped the visiting Indians (0-6, 0-4). Jamil Foster led NC with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Shadle Park 56, Mt. Spokane 45: Morgen Barnes and George Pilimai had 15 points each as the visiting Highlanders (3-3, 2-2) pulled away in the second half. Stu Stiles led Mt. Spokane (2-3, 1-3) with 14 points.
Mead 51, Lewis and Clark 34: The visiting Panthers (5-1, 3-1) clamped down defensively to stop the Tigers (3-3, 1-3). The Panthers opened a 24-13 lead by halftime. Thomas Kautzman led balanced Mead with nine points.