With state berths already locked up, the University and Shadle Park boys basketball teams locked arms for one more grudge match Saturday night.
By the time it was over, the host Titans not only seized a 63-50 win in their 3A subregional title game, but some important momentum going into next week.
In a wire-to-wire win – their third straight against Shadle – the Titans also earned some important bragging rights.
“The last few years it seems like it’s always coming down to us and Shadle,” winning coach Garrick Phillips said as his players cut down the net to the cheers of hundreds of fans.
“Earlier this year, I was talking to some of their kids, and they were talking about how North Central was their big rival and Central Valley was our rival, but we all knew that it would be us and Shadle at the end of the season,” Phillips said.
University 63, Shadle Park 50: Sure enough, the intensity more than matched the stakes, since both teams had clinched regional berths the night before. The teams combined for 40 fouls – 21 by Shadle – and almost every call drew protests from one bench or the other.
In the end, the top-seeded Titans (14-9) won this title with tough defense, holding third-seeded Shadle (9-13) to 17-for-58 shooting from the field and 4 for 22 from 3-point range.
“Lately we’ve been really good offensively, but tonight we were really good defensively, and made them work for every basket,” said Phillips, who along with Shadle coach Tim Gaebe will learn today whom they’ll be playing at state.
Meanwhile, the Titans were deadly inside, hitting 18 of 23 shots from inside the 3-point arc. Guard Michael Isotalo had 14 points, but big men Khalil Williams (14 points), Robert Little (11) and Ben Kuiper (10 and 10 rebounds) controlled the game.
Kennewick 65, Mt. Spokane 38: Mitchell Mueller scored 22 points and Yiel Wuol added 16 as the Lions dumped the Wildcats in a loser-out game in Kennewick.
The win gave the Lions the third seed to regionals.
Stu Stiles led Mt. Spokane (6-17) with seven points.