With a lot on the line, the Lewis and Clark girls basketball team stepped up to the foul line and delivered Tuesday night.
The Tigers built up an early double-digit lead, then held on at the finish of a crucial 61-56 Greater Spokane League win over visiting Central Valley.
Along the way, the Tigers made 16 of 21 free throws, while CV was just 7 for 20.
The Bears didn’t get any comfort from the public-address announcer; with a Bear at the foul line early in the game, the announcer pointed out that “she’s already 0 for 2 from the line,” drawing a protest from CV coach Freddie Rehkow.
The win forces a three-way tie for second place in the GSL among LC, CV and Mead; all are 11-4 with three games remaining in the chase to avoid a loser-out game at district.
After an upset loss last week to Ferris, “this was a must-win game for us,” Tigers coach Jim Redmon said.
The Tigers played like it for three quarters, building a 30-20 halftime lead that grew to 16 late in the third quarter before the Bears rallied to make things interesting in the final minutes.
CV post Madison Hovren, who had a career-high 32 points in the Bears’ 10-point loss to LC last month, had 23 on Tuesday, including 12 in the fourth quarter. Fellow post Madison Cunningham added 17.
“We did a good job in the first half of taking away their inside game, but to their credit they came back in the second half,” Redmon said.
“Both posts are a handful, and as you can see, we’re not very big.”
The ending could have been a nail-biter had the Bears not struggled at the foul line, going 7 for 20 for the game and 2 for 6 in the fourth quarter. Instead, CV never got closer than seven points until a too-little, too-late 3-pointer at the buzzer.
When the game still on the line, the Bears closed to 52-45 with 1:41 to play on a layup by Hovren, but Riley Lupfer countered with a short jumper to restore a nine-point lead. Seconds later, Cunningham nailed two free throws, but Lupfer did the same at the other end.
Mikaela Key, who led the Tigers with 12 points, clinched the game with a steal and two free throws with 30 seconds left to put the Tigers ahead 58-49.
Neverthless, Redmon said, “I didn’t like how we defended at the end. We’ve got to be more consistent on both ends.”
Lupfer scored 11 for the Tigers and Janieva Bates added 10.
LC hit 7 of 17 from 3-point range; CV was 1 for 2.
Gonzaga Prep 63, University 44: The visiting Bullpups (16-1, 15-0) clinched the league championship, using a big game from reserve Kayla Leland. Leland scored a game-high 15 points, Otiona Gildon had 14 and six rebounds and Laura Stockton chipped in with 11 points.
Emma Kennedy led U-Hi (5-12, 5-10 with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Mead 81, Rogers 46: The Panthers (12-5, 11-4) jumped out to a 45-21 lead by halftime at Rogers. Coreen Labish and Ashlyn Lewey scored 13 points each to lead Mead.
Mashayla Combs led Rogers (0-17, 0-15) with 11 points.
Ferris 40, North Central 34: The Saxons (9-8, 8-7) clawed out a difficult win in a defensive slugfest at NC. Michele Strauss led Ferris with 11 points and Kaley Lenhart had 10.
Megan Dean led the Indians (2-15, 2-13) with 13 rebounds and seven points.
Shadle Park 46, Mt. Spokane 39: In a key 3A matchup, the Highlanders (6-11, 6-9) outscored the host Wildcats (7-10, 6-9) 16-5 in the decisive fourth quarter. Shyla Carr led Shadle with 18 points and Shalise Hicks added 12.
Ashlee Pedersen led the Wildcats with nine points.