TACOMA – The smallest player on the court stood the tallest when his team needed him most, and Gonzaga Prep is thankful.
The Bullpups’ 5-foot-7 point guard, Sam Dowd, poured in a season-high 28 points as Gonzaga Prep handled Wenatchee 65-51 in the State 4A boys basketball tournament Friday at the Tacoma Dome.
G-Prep (22-5) will take on No. 1-ranked Jackson (24-2) for fourth and sixth places this morning at 9:30.
Dowd stepped up in the second half with 15 points.
“The key was trying to be patient,” Bullpups coach Matty McIntyre said of waiting out the Panthers. “We knew we could go on a run and we kept waiting for it to happen.”
Dowd said he had no clue how well he played.
“I was just playing and shooting open shots,” he said.
Wenatchee pulled within 39-37 late in the third but G-Prep stretched the lead to 46-41 by quarter’s end.
When Brendan McClary made two free throws to give G-Prep a 55-45 lead with 4:55 to go, there was a sense that the Bullpups were ready to finish.
“It really started to happen when we got some defensive stops,” McIntyre said. “They were a handful in the post.”
Three Panthers combined for 45 points in the key.
McIntyre has seen Dowd do similar things in other games, but even the coach was almost speechless.
“He was incredible,” McIntyre said. “Being a senior wanting to have one more opportunity to play and finish on Saturday in the state tournament.”
McIntyre said he looked at plenty of video of Wenatchee, but the scouting report was simple.
“There are no scouting reports or pep talks. It’s a matter of who still wants to be here and get something done,” McIntyre said.
G-Prep’s Reed Hopkins added 14 points. Ryan Alexander had eight rebounds.
McIntyre looks forward his team playing Jackson.
“They’re the No. 1 team in the state so it will be good to see how we measure up,” he said.