The start and the finish more than pleased University boys basketball coach Garrick Phillips.
Now if Phillips’ Titans can clean things up in between, they will be a difficult out when postseason rolls around.
University extended its lead over Greater Spokane League 3A teams in a 78-61 win over the visiting Mt. Spokane Wildcats.
“It’s nice to be able to make some shots when they’re trying to pressure and get back into it,” Phillips said. “Give a lot of credit to Mt. Spokane. They play to their strengths. They don’t have much size but they have a lot of guys who can handle the ball. They just put their heads down and hope for the benefit of contact. I thought we did a better job of defending in the second half.”
Behind two 3-pointers from DeShaun Boswell, the Titans opened a 12-1 lead in the first 2 minutes, 36 seconds. Boswell gave U-Hi its biggest lead of the quarter when he made a third 3-pointer for a 19-6 advantage at the 2:03 mark.
The Wildcats started to chip away at the lead moments later, pulling within 21-13 by the end of the first.
In the second, Mt. Spokane used a 16-7 run to pull within 34-33 when Tanner Kissinger made two free throws 2:13 before halftime.
Mt. Spokane had a chance to tie or take the lead but Dylan Moran missed the front end of a one-and-one with 1:51 remaining.
Still, the Wildcats had to feel good about themselves going into halftime trailing 38-34.
The Titans, who improved to 8-6 overall and 7-5 in league, pushed the lead back to double digits in the third. A 3-pointer from Joseph Carrieres and two free throws from Caleb Gilbert put the Titans ahead 58-47 going into the final period.
Mt. Spokane (6-8, 5-7) got the margin within six points three times in the fourth quarter, the final time coming at 62-56.
The Titans owned the final 4 minutes, outscoring Mt. Spokane 16-5.
U-Hi 6-foot-6 senior Brett Bailey showed why he was one of four area players nominated this week for the 2013 McDonald’s All-American Game. The league’s most valuable player last year, Bailey scored a game-high 30 points, pulled down a game-high 15 rebounds, had four assists and two steals.
“Something we need to work on is keeping our composure and keeping our intensity up,” Bailey said. “We can be a good team if we keep playing together and playing our game instead of letting the other team impose their game on us.”
U-Hi post Ben Kuiper was solid, scoring 14 points and grabbing nine rebounds. Boswell, who scored 11 points in the first quarter, finished with 13.
Mt. Spokane junior Stu Stiles did his best to give the Wildcats a chance, scoring a team-high 28 points to go with four assists and four rebounds.
Central Valley 68, Lewis and Clark 46: The 4A second-ranked Bears (14-0, 12-0) broke from a 28-27 lead at halftime by outscoring the visiting Tigers (5-9, 3-9) 24-6 in the third quarter. Adam Chamberlain led CV with 15 points, Austin Rehkow had 14 and Beau Byus finished with 13, nine in the decisive third. Dean Richey led LC with 20 points and eight rebounds and Connor Hojnacki had 11 points. LC outrebounded CV 34-26.
Gonzaga Prep 69, North Central 40: The Bullpups (12-2, 11-1) jumped all over the visiting Indians (0-14, 0-12) early. Brendan McClary led G-Prep, scoring 20 points with perfect shooting. He made 6 of 6 from the field, including three 3-pointers, and was 5 of 5 from the foul line. Sam Dowd added 19 points. Ryan Hauenstein led NC with 11 points.
Rogers 64, Mead 63: The Pirates (3-11, 2-10) have watched a number of leads disappear in the second half of games. This time they had enough to upset the visiting Panthers (9-5, 7-5). The Pirates needed most of a 31-19 halftime lead. Amaujae Daniels led Rogers with 30 points, Carson Murray scored 16 and Melik Hampton had 13. Brandon Pettersen led Mead with 26 points and Gunnar Kayser had 11.
Ferris 66, Shadle Park 36: It was over by halftime. The visiting Saxons (8-4, 6-6) opened a 42-17 lead by intermission. Cody Benzel led with 18 points, Kyle Monasmith had 15 and Jeff Hahn added 11. Skyler Kelley led Shadle (6-8, 5-7) with 21 points.