Greater Spokane League regular-season girls basketball champion Central Valley discovered there’s no defense against a team playing with superior quickness and execution.
League runner-up Gonzaga Prep sliced and diced its way to an impressive 73-61 victory in the District 8 4A championship game Friday night at University and a spot in next week’s Washington sub-state tournament.
Precision cutting and passing for high-percentage shots in the lane and a bothersome defense led to game-long control except for brief instances.
“What we did well is manage the game,” G-Prep coach Mike Arte said. “We used a soft press to take time off the clock and our hard press worked well for us.”
The pressure was effective in keeping CV players off-balance and forcing outside shots. When G-Prep went with a guard-oriented offense, the smaller players, led by Lindsay Stockton, not only attacked inside with crisp cuts and precision passes, but more often than not beat their taller foes to the rebounds.
“We just stopped trying to force it and passed the ball around,” Stockton said. “Coach has been stressing us to use each other and that’s what we did.”
The 5-foot -7 leader finished with 24 points.
The Bullpups (17-5) got an added bonus when they had a bigger lineup on the floor. Freshman Otiona Gildon, a 6-foot post, came of age in handing CV its second loss in 22 games.
Gildon averaged about a basket a game during the regular season. Against the Bears she powered home 12 second-half points and had 14 total, displaying exceptional instincts getting to the ball quickly in several key moments.
“She can play,” Arte said. “She hurts us a bit defensively, but she’s going to be a good one.”
While the Bullpups did most of their offensive damage in the paint – they had but one 3-pointer – the Bears hung around with nine baskets from beyond the arc.
CV took a 21-18 lead on back-to-back 3s by Sydney Emory to open the second quarter. Four G-Prep players scored, however, to put the Bullpups up by five.
The Bears came back from outside and led 38-37 early in the third. But Gildon scored five points as the Bullpups went up 46-38. She added four more as the lead stretched to 13 points and rendered academic the outcome.
“I had to stay focused, post up and finish,” the youngster said.
While happy with the win, Arte felt for CV and was adamant that the district playoff is seriously flawed.
“We (GSL teams) grind it out for 18 games during the season and now CV, the league’s No. 1 team, is in jeopardy,” he said. “The district format does not reward them. It comes down to one week after grinding out all season.”
Mead 59, Lewis and Clark 41: Delany Junkermier scored 12 points and Jasmine Parker and Jade Redmon added 11 apiece as the Panthers (12-10) stayed alive with a win over the Tigers (10-12) at U-Hi.
Mead jumped ahead 16-7 in the first quarter and led by 15 points at halftime.
Nakia Arquette had 16 points and Julia Moravec added 12 for the Tigers, who were eliminated.
Mead advances to play CV tonight at 5:30 at U-Hi. The winner of that game will play in a regional play-in game on Tuesday night.
The Panthers lost both of their matchups with the Bears this season.