Freddie Rehkow had a key admonishment for his Central Valley girls basketball players as the postseason began Tuesday.
“I told them it’s time to put their big-girl britches on and do their jobs,” Rehkow said.
They did. The No. 1-ranked Bears outworked the defending State 4A champ Lewis and Clark Tigers in a 52-36 decision in a District 8 opener at CV.
CV (20-1) faces second-seeded Gonzaga Prep on Friday in the district championship game at University. Tipoff is at 7. Gonzaga Prep (16-5) advanced with a 55-46 win over No. 4 Mead.
LC (10-11) and Mead (11-10) square off in a loser-out game Friday at U-Hi, beginning at 3:30.
Central Valley 52, Lewis and Clark 36: Sure, the Tigers are a mere shell of the team they were a year ago.
The Bears are beginning to take on an appearance LC had at this time last year – that of a potential state champion.
CV used a 15-0 run that ended the first quarter and spilled into the second to open a lead the Bears would never relinquish.
“We knew we had to take care of business from the get go so we came out hard from the beginning,” CV senior wing Brooke Gallaway said. “We just continued to play hard the whole game.
“They played great defense on us, but we worked as a team and did the things we needed to do.”
Defense and rebounding were the significant keys for CV. The Bears outrebounded LC 37-21.
“We controlled the boards,” Rehkow said. “That’s been my mantra the whole season. If we control the boards we’re going to be tough to beat.”
The only LC player who did rebound was senior Nakia Arquette, who had a game-high 16. That meant there were just five rebounds among the other 12 who played.
Gallaway led CV’s lunch-pail effort on the boards with 10 and freshman Madison Hovren had eight. Gallaway also had a game-high 16 points and Hovren added 13.
“We’re playing well,” Gallaway said. “We can still improve. We’re not at the top yet. We’ve improved from the beginning of the year. We’re just hoping to keep going up.”
LC had pulled within 21-14 late in the second quarter, but Hovren and Chantelle Fitting scored the final two baskets of the half to give CV a 27-14 lead at halftime.
Two free throws by Hovren gave the Bears their biggest lead at 49-31 with about 3 minutes remaining.
“We knew that if we could get some distance, with them being 3-6 in their last nine games, it was going to creep into their minds a little bit,” Rehkow said. “We have to maintain defensive intensity the entire game.”
The only time Rehkow was vocal were the handful of times the Bears had defensive mental lapses.
The one thing Rehkow wasn’t pleased with were the first-half turnovers – 12. The Bears had no turnovers in the first half in their regular-season finale.
“Those bother me,” Rehkow said. “This is a great team and if we continue to play hard we’re going to have the best chance possible to get (to state).”
Rehkow expects a physical game against G-Prep on Friday – like the Bears get any time they play the Bullpups.
“They’re a good team. They’ve earned the second seed,” Rehkow said. “I’m sure they’re coming in saying, ‘They got us twice, they can’t get us a third time.’ We have to raise our game. Those kids play hard. They play with reckless abandon. They’re going to come out and try to punch us in the mouth right away. They’re going to be in our shorts and we know that.”
“They’re a physical team and we need to play good defense,” Gallaway said of G-Prep.
It comes back to putting on the big-girl britches.
Gonzaga Prep 55, Mead 46: The visiting Panthers played toe-to-toe with the Bullpups for a half.
G-Prep outscored Mead 18-13 in the third quarter to gain some separation.
Freshman Laura Stockton led G-Prep with 14 points and Madison Wright added 11. Stockton and Hannah Caudill combined to shoot 9 of 12 from the field. Stockton’s sister, Lindsay, had five assists.
Jade Redmon led Mead with a game-high 21 points and Delany Junkermier added 10.