With his team trailing at halftime Thursday, University boys basketball coach Garrick Phillips waxed philosophical during the 10-minute break.
Phillips wasn’t upset that the Titans trailed visiting Gonzaga Prep after two quarters. It was the why in how they were behind.
“I felt we were taking the path of least resistance in everything we did in the first half,” said Phillips, who pointed to the phrase he wrote on his locker room’s white board. “They’re a super-physical team. They get after you and push you off your pivot foot and take you out of what you want to do offensively. We were settling for shots that exemplified the path of least resistance.”
The speech bore fruit as University pulled out a 52-51 win, securing the Greater Spokane League’s top 3A postseason seed.
Gonzaga Prep’s hopes of winning the league title and capturing the top District 8 4A seed were dealt a big blow.
A baseline drive for a reverse layup and four free throws from Sam Dowd gave the Bullpups (14-4, 13-3) a 32-21 lead 2.8 seconds to go before halftime. But DeShaun Boswell got the deficit back to single digits when he made a shot from midcourt at the buzzer.
As if different players came out of halftime wearing U-Hi’s uniforms, the Titans (12-6, 11-5) used a 16-0 start to the second half for a 40-32 lead.
Joe Chapman hit a free-throw-line jumper for G-Prep, ending a 7-minute scoring drought. With 31 seconds left in the quarter, Ryan Alexander made a 3-pointer to pull the Bullpups within 40-37 going into the fourth.
A 3-pointer by Ben Kuiper and a free throw from Brett Bailey pushed U-Hi’s lead to 44-37 1:16 into the fourth.
G-Prep used a 9-2 spurt to tie the score at 46-46 with 5:04 remaining.
The final 5 minutes were back and forth.
Brendan McClary hit the second of a two-shot foul to give the Bullpups a 51-50 lead with 39 seconds to go.
After a timeout, Boswell ducked past Dowd and hit a runner in the key for what would be the game-winning shot with 31 seconds remaining.
G-Prep elected not to call a timeout. Dowd tried to drive to the basket, but Boswell denied him access. Finally, the Bullpups called timeout with 5 seconds to go.
Dowd got loose this time and penetrated, but Boswell tipped the ball out of bounds with nine-tenths of a second showing on the clock.
G-Prep tried to get the ball inside to post Jake Groh but couldn’t and a shot from behind the 3-point arc fell short as the horn sounded.Had the top seed not been at stake, Phillips said he wouldn’t have played Bailey, who has been sick since scoring a league-record 47 points Tuesday. Bailey played all 32 minutes, scoring 14 points, 10.5 under his average, on 6-of-18 shooting.
Ferris 58, North Central 29: The visiting Saxons (14-4, 12-4) outscored the Indians (0-18, 0-16) 34-11 in the second half.
Cody Benzel led Ferris with 21 points and Jensen Rye had 13.
Lewis and Clark 51, Mt. Spokane 33: The Tigers (8-10, 6-1) held the Wildcats (7-11, 6-10) scoreless the first 7 minutes of the fourth quarter at LC.
Dean Richey led LC with 19 points and 12 rebounds while Jack Chapman had 12 points, 10 rebounds, three steals and two assists. Stu Stiles led Mt. Spokane with 11 points.
Central Valley 67, Rogers 46: The Bears (17-1, 15-1) manhandled the visiting Pirates (3-15, 2-14) on the boards.
The Bears outrebounded Rogers 44-26. Austin Daines led with nine. Austin Rehkow led the scoring with 22 points, Adam Chamberlain had 20 and AJ Knudsen had 13.
Carson Murray and Melik Hampton had 12 each for Rogers.
Shadle Park 45, Mead 42: The Highlanders (9-9, 8-8) defeated the visiting Panthers (9-9, 7-9). No details were reported.