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Central Valley boys make their free throws, hold of Gonzaga Prep

In practice leading up to Saturday’s District 8 4A boys basketball title game at Central Valley, the Greater Spokane League champion – and top-seeded – Bears practiced their free throws.

“A lot,” said junior guard Adam Chamberlain.

At times in their matchup with second-seed Gonzaga Prep it didn’t look as if the practice had been needed.

But the Pups rallied in the fourth quarter, cut what had been a 24-point lead to five and forced CV to convert from the line in the final 64 seconds.

Chamberlain and Austin Rehkow did, hitting 7 of 8 free throws as the Bears held off G-Prep 60-53 to move into the subregional Friday, traveling to face Mid-Columbia Conference top seed Richland (17-4).

The Pups (15-6 though just 2-4 in their last six) will host Ferris (16-5) Tuesday in a loser-out contest. The winner travels to Walla Walla (12-9) on Friday.

Central Valley 60, Gonzaga Prep 53: That next-round schedule seemed a foregone conclusion after the first three quarters.

Prep struggled from beyond the arc early, hitting just one of its first 10 attempts and finishing the first half 2 of 14 from long range. If it weren’t for Prep’s defense forcing six early turnovers, the Bears (20-1) would have led by even more than the 38-17 edge they built.

It was Rehkow, who finished with a game-high 19 (he had just 12 points combined in the two league meetings with Prep), and Chamberlain, who added 18, who paced the Bears early on.

In the Pups’ win over CV in January, 6-foot-4 Jacob Groh supplied the offense with 25 points. But the Prep senior, blanketed by the Bears’ 6-6 Beau Byus, only took three shots in the first half, picked up two fouls and sat the final 4 minutes, 39 seconds. He finished with 10 points.

“Beau Byus is a competitor and he took it personal last game,” CV coach Rick Sloan said of his junior center who finished with seven points and nine rebounds. “I know he’s been looking forward to this game and kind of avenge himself.”

The Pups continued to struggle on offense – they were 6 of 28 from the floor midway through the third quarter and Central Valley led 43-19 – but the Bears were beginning to labor.

And the game turned at the start of the fourth quarter.

With Rehkow on the bench – he picked up a technical as his fourth early in the third quarter – the Pups rallied behind guard Sam Dowd (a team-high 18 points), scoring the first eight points of the final quarter. And continued to rally. They cut the lead to five – 53-48 with 1:22 remaining.

“They battle,” Sloan said, “they’re competitors.”

But so are the Bears.

Ferris 65, Mead 40: The Saxons raced to a 39-17 lead by halftime, and the visiting Panthers (11-10) didn’t respond.

Cody Benzel led Ferris with a career-high 37 points behind three 3-pointers and 15-of-15 shooting from the free-throw line.

Jensen Rye led Ferris with 11 rebounds.

Brandon Pettersen led Mead with 10 points.