Ferris got a defensive wake-up call when it lost 64-60 in overtime to Shadle Park three games ago.
The Saxons knew they needed to take their defense up a notch or two, and they’ve responded.
Ferris clamped down on the Lewis and Clark Tigers 57-42 in a Greater Spokane League basetball matchup Friday between the South Hill rivals at Squinty Hunter Fieldhouse.
The Saxons (8-3 overall, 6-3 league) knocked LC (8-3, 6-3) out of a first-place tie. Ferris will be out to avenge an earlier loss and knock another team out of first, Gonzaga Prep, this afternoon when the Bullpups visit Wayne Gilman Court. G-Prep handled the Saxons 58-43 in early December and, along with Central Valley, leads the GSL with a 7-2 record.
“After we lost to Shadle, we realized we’ve got to play tougher defense,” senior post Chase Haack said. “We can’t let a team’s leading scorer be the scorer. We had a tough team practice – no coach was there. It was good. We’ve taken off from there.”
The Saxons’ primary plan was evident. They wanted to get after LC senior point guard Jeff Livingston, and it worked.
Livingston picked up two fouls in the first 3 minutes, 36 seconds and took a seat on the bench. He came back to start the second period but got his third foul at the 6:31 mark and sat the rest of the half.
“That was something we talked about, that we had to go right at him,” Haack said. “If he gets on a roll, he’s going to stroke it from deep. It was good that we got him off the court.”
Saxons senior guard Chris Wilson agreed.
“We were trying to get him out of the game,” Wilson said. “That hurt them quite a bit in the first half.”
Ferris used a 5-0 spurt to close out the first half with a 30-19 lead. The run spilled into the third quarter when the Saxons extended the lead to 35-19.
A few moments later, Nathan Galgalo hit a 3-pointer to give Ferris a 38-22 lead with 2:48 to go in the period.
The Tigers’ Matt Dovall made a 3-pointer to pull LC within 41-34 with 6:47 to go in the game. But LC wouldn’t get any closer.
Wilson scored a game-high 21 points to go with six rebounds. Haack had a game-high 11 rebounds as the Saxons outrebounded LC 35-24.
“That’s always a key for us,” said Haack, a jumping jack of sorts, of rebounding. “If we don’t outrebound teams we deserve to lose the game.”
Wilson is looking forward to the rematch against G-Prep today.
“It’ll probably be a low-scoring defensive game,” Wilson said.
Austin Damon was a workhorse for LC, finishing with team highs of 11 points and nine rebounds.
Gonzaga Prep 52, North Central 47: The Indians (2-9, 2-7) led 27-24 at halftime, but the Bullpups (7-4, 7-2) bounced back in the second half, outscoring NC 28-20.
Jacob Groh led balanced G-Prep with 11 points. Chandler George led NC with 20 points and eight rebounds.
Central Valley 71, Mead 50: The Panthers (1-10, 1-8) gave the Bears (8-3, 7-2) all they could handle for a half.
The Bears led 27-25 at halftime, but CV caught fire in the second half, outscoring Mead 44-25.
Austin Rehkow led CV with 18 points, Adam Chamberlain had 13 and Garrett Sawyer had 12 to go with 12 rebounds. Rehkow and Chamberlain combined for 15 points in the third quarter.
Shadle Park 62, Mt. Spokane 55: The visiting Highlanders (8-3, 6-3) made an eight-point lead at halftime stand up against the Wildcats (2-9, 1-8).
Brett Boese led Shadle with 18 points and Kionte Brown had 13.
Mt. Spokane got 12 points from Stu Stiles, 11 from Tanner Kissinger and 10 from Jordan Weems.
University 62, Rogers 48: The Titans (8-3, 6-3) took care of the visiting Pirates (4-6, 3-6) in the first half.
U-Hi raced to a 36-19 lead by halftime.
Brett Bailey led the Titans with 22 points, 11 rebounds, four steals and two assists. Zech Martin added 11 points and four assists and Joseph Carrieres scored 10 off the bench.
Aaron Highbarger led Rogers with 15 points while Steve Delvecchio and Amajae Daniels scored 10 apiece.