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Gonzaga Prep’s Jacob Groh, left, scores over University’s Ben Kuiper. Groh totaled 21 points. (Jesse Tinsley)

Sparkplug Dowd sizzles for G-Prep

An appropriate quote from St. Ignatius Loyola was printed on the front of the Gonzaga Prep boys basketball program Friday.

“Go forth and set the world on fire,” the quote read.

Bullpups junior point guard Sam Dowd has taken that statement to heart this season.

The 5-foot-7 Dowd, who saw part-time duty last year, is nothing short of a whirlwind on the court. In arguably his best game this season, Dowd scored a career-high 23 points, making all four of his 3-point shots, to lead the Bullpups past the visiting University Titans 69-54 as Greater Spokane League play resumed after the holiday break.

If he’s not scoring from creating opportunities in half-court sets or in transition, Dowd is breaking down defenses with his 3-point shooting.

Dowd’s final 3-pointer was particularly deadly for the Titans. With the shot clock winding down, Dowd hit a step-back shot from NBA range with one second remaining on the shot clock, extending G-Prep’s lead to 57-48 with 4:40 remaining.

“He’s a warrior,” G-Prep coach Matty McIntyre said. “Sam’s been a great catalyst for us all year. He’s a playmaker and he shot the ball incredibly tonight. One of the big differences is people have to guard him on the perimeter because he’s going to shoot. He’s been lights-out all year. He’s probably one of the quickest guys in the league. He can make plays for other people. He’s special and he’s having a great first half of the year.”

The win kept the Bullpups (7-2 overall, 6-1 league) within a game of undefeated Central Valley. U-Hi slipped to 5-4 and 4-3.

U-Hi jumped on G-Prep quickly, making five 3-pointers in the first quarter. Joseph Carrieres extended the Titans’ lead to 23-14 when he hit a 3-pointer 36 seconds into the second.

That would prove to be U-Hi’s lone basket of the period, though. G-Prep clamped down defensively and outscored the Titans 17-3 the final 5:58 of the first half for a 31-26 lead at halftime.

The Bullpups never trailed in the second half. The Titans made it interesting, pulling within 57-53 when Andrew Schimmels hit a 3-pointer with 3:33 to go.

But U-Hi hit a drought as G-Prep closed the game on a 12-1 surge.

Senior post Jacob Groh played particularly big in the final quarter, scoring 12 of his 21 points. He made 11 of 11 from the free-throw line.

Another post, senior Ekow Nottinson, saw his most significant minutes after battling a back injury through December. He finished with 10 points and 14 rebounds.

“It’s big having him back,” Dowd said.

“He rebounds, he takes up a lot of space, he’s a good shot blocker and he’s very physical. He’s getting back into the flow. The back is still bothering him, but with him we’re only going to get better.”

Brett Bailey led U-Hi with 16 points, three rebounds and two steals.

Central Valley 76, Rogers 42: The visiting Bears (9-0, 7-0) outscored the Pirates (1-8, 0-7) 45-17 in the first half. Adam Chamberlain and Austin Rehkow led CV with 16 points apiece and Beau Byus had 15. Amaujae Daniels led Rogers with 20.

Mead 62, Shadle Park 47: The Panthers (7-2, 5-2) got all the margin they needed in the first half, outscoring the visiting Highlanders (4-5, 3-4) 33-20. Thomas Kautzman led Mead with 14 points and Matt Banaugh and Kyle Starr each had career highs with 12 and 10, respectively. Starr also had four assists. Kyle Kuutsen and George Pilimai led Shadle with 13 points each. Mead committed just eight turnovers.

Mt. Spokane 54, Lewis and Clark 50: The Wildcats (4-5, 3-4) rallied from 10 points down in the second half to knock off the visiting Tigers (4-5, 2-5). Stu Stiles led Mt. Spokane with 30 points. Dean Richey and Colin Hardie had 14 and 10, respectively, for LC.

Ferris 58, North Central 33: The Indians (0-9, 0-7) kept it tight for a half before the Saxons (6-2, 5-2) pulled away at Ferris. The Saxons outscored NC 18-4 in the third quarter. Cody Benzel led Ferris with 15 points and Kyle Monasmith came off the bench to score 10. Jensen Rye added 11 points and a school-record 10 blocked shots and nine rebounds. Ryan Hauenstein and Jordan Wertman had 8 each for NC.