When it comes to the Central Valley-University girls basketball portion of the annual Stinky Sneaker festivities, it’s most definitely a spirit game.
And not in a festive way.
The Central Valley defense can be the stuff of nightmares.
In front of a noisy, raucously enthusiastic crowd in the Spokane Arena, the Lady Bears stifled U-Hi in the first half, building a 39-6 lead that left the second two quarters everything but in doubt. In the end, University put on a spirited second half of its own to make the final score 62-35.
Lexie Hull scored 18 points to lead the CV offense and Lacie Hull added another 11, but it’s almost as an afterthought to a smothering defense.
“I texted the girls the other day and I told them that bad teams don’t play defense,” coach Freddie Rehkow said. “Good teams play defense sometimes. But great teams know it’s important to play defense all the time.
“You can have a bad day on offense. You can’t have a bad day playing defense. I tell the girls that if you lose a game 2-0, you’ve given up two points too many.”
It’s a blue-collar defense that scraps for loose balls and uses long arms to get a hand on a wide array of opponents’ shots – from the last-second 3-pointer from the wing as the shot clock winds down to the underhanded scoop underneath the basket. It anticipates where an offense wants to go and frequently gets there before the opponent.
Tuesday night it limited Shadle Park to just five points. For the game.
University is a good, young team with 10 wins overall and a 7-3 record in the GSL. The Titans came out to start the second half on a 7-2 run and eventually outscored the Bears 18-12 in the quarter and 29-23 for the half.
Claire Dingus scored eight points to lead a gritty U-Hi comeback.
Rehkow shook his head at the thought of a second half that saw the Titans outscore CV 29-13.
“I think when you have a 30-point lead you kind of lose some of your intensity,” he said.
These Bears now are 16-0, 10-0 in Greater Spokane League games.
And they are more than that.
“Three years in and this group is now 70-1,” Rehkow said. “I don’t think we’ve peaked yet. I think we can still get better. If we keep going we have another 10 or 11 more games to see how good we can be.
“That’s what we talk about. When they lost a game last year they felt like they let everybody down. We talk about being as good as we can be. If that gets us a state championship so be it. If not, we’ll deal with it.”
Around the GSL
Lewis and Clark 67, Mead 32: Jacinta Buckley notched 25 points and the Tigers (8-2) bested the host Panthers (4-7).
Mt. Spokane 81, Rogers 26: Aspyn Adams scored 37 points with 11 3-pointers and the visiting Wildcats (6-3) defeated the Pirates (0-8). Akon Aleu paced Rogers with seven points.
Gonzaga Prep 72, Ferris 29: Mia Scelfo scored 12 points and the Bullpups (5-5) defeated the visiting Saxons (1-9). Carin Scott and Mayson Younger led Ferris with seven points.