The Gonzaga Prep boys basketball team was lacking a significant victory.
Not anymore. Whenever anything good happens for a Matty McIntyre-coached team, it starts with defense.
Gonzaga Prep used a defensively fueled 14-0 run in the fourth quarter to knock off the visiting Ferris Saxons 56-47 in Greater Spokane League play Tuesday.
Cody Benzel hit a 3-pointer 50 seconds into the final quarter, giving the Saxons their final lead at 37-36.
By the time Sam Dowd completed a three-point play at the 2:53 mark, the Bullpups had surged ahead 50-37.
The win moved G-Prep (8-3 overall, 7-2 league) into a tie for second with Ferris (9-2, 7-2).
Brendan McClary scored eight of the Bullpups’ points in the decisive run. He finished with a team-high 15 points – all coming in the second half and 12 in the fourth.
McClary summed up G-Prep’s play in the second half in a word – energy.
“Energy. It starts on defense,” McClary said. “When one person makes a good play on (defense) it gets the whole team going.”
The Bullpups were slow starters in the first half. Ferris opened an 11-2 lead, but G-Prep chipped away including scoring the final six points of the first period.
Although G-Prep didn’t take its first lead until the third quarter, the Bullpups kept it close. Ryan Alexander hit a driving layup and was fouled. He made the free throw to pull the Bullpups within 21-18 with 2:19 to go before halftime.
That’s where the score stood at intermission.
G-Prep scored the first seven points of the third. Ferris fought back, and the teams traded baskets. Dowd hit a driving basket with 10 seconds left in the quarter to forge a 34-34 tie going into the final quarter.
After the Bullpups’ run to start the fourth, Ferris cut the lead to eight but couldn’t get any closer.
“That was our first big win against a really good team,” McClary said. “Hopefully we can build on it and keep it going.”
In addition to McClary, three other Bullpups finished in double-figure scoring – Dowd and Reed Hopkins had 13 and Ryan Alexander 11.
Benzel had a game high 21 points for Ferris.
“Our defense created some energy and shots went down,” McIntyre said. “I thought the kids showed some true character. They showed some grit, they showed some toughness and some competitiveness. We’re building towards playing a full 32 minutes.”
Central Valley 52, Mead 41: The visiting Bears (9-1, 9-0) opened a 42-28 lead through three quarters, stopping the Panthers (7-4, 6-3) with solid defense. Beau Byus led CV with 13 points and AJ Knudsen added 12. Thomas Kautzman and Mitchell Banaugh scored 11 apiece to lead Mead.
Rogers 57, North Central 29: The visiting Pirates (2-9, 2-7) pulled away in the second half by outscoring the Indians (1-10, 1-8) 27-10. Steven Cavitt led Rogers with 20 points and Robert Rucker added 16.
Lewis and Clark 44, Mt. Spokane 41: Isaiah Hernandez made two free throws with 10 seconds left to secure the win for the Tigers (3-8, 2-7) at home. Hernandez scored a team-high 10 points. Stu Stiles led Mt. Spokane (5-6, 3-6) with 18.
University 58, Shadle Park 53: Trailing 38-36 after three quarters, the visiting Titans (7-4, 5-4) built just enough cushion to hold off the Highlanders (3-7, 3-6). Robert Little led U-Hi with 19 points and Garrett Schmerer had 14. George Pilimai and Skyler Kelley led Shadle with 16 and 14, respectively.