The Greater Spokane League receives four berths to the District 8 4A basketball tournaments. Lewis and Clark and Ferris entered play on Thursday occupying fourth and fifth place in the league – for boys and girls.
So while the students and fans in the stands at the Arena might have been preoccupied in winning the oldest of this week’s spirit games, the “Rubber Chicken,” the players and coaches were battling for an advantage in seeding for the league’s final tournament berths.
McCoy Spink scored 17 points as the second half turned into a free-throw shooting contest and the Saxons held off the Tigers in the late game 61-54.
Spink made 8 of 8 at the line in the fourth quarter, including a pair with 12 seconds left and two more with 0.7 to ice it. Ferris (8-5, 4-3) went 15 of 20 from the line in the second half.
“We gotta win our next few games to stay in it,” Spink said. “This is a big momentum starter for us.”
“We brought (Spink) in against the press cause that’s the guy who we want to get the ball,” Ferris coach Sean Mallon said. “No hesitation, he just stepped up and nailed them.”
Ferris led by 11 after three quarters, but LC (2-9, 2-5) used a 6-1 run to trim the deficit to six early in the fourth, and Miles Heath made 1 of 2 with 35.2 seconds left to make it a four-point game.
But the Saxons broke the press twice, leading to Spink knocking down the free throws.
“We just needed a win against a 4A school,” Mallon said. “We’re not concerned about seeding at this point. There’s a lot of basketball left to be played.”
Up five after one, Spink scored a couple of inside baskets and Kobe Smith hit back-to-back from beyond the arc to put Ferris up 27-16 with 1:30 left in the half.
Cole Omlin drained a 3 early in the third – his only bucket of the game – and the Saxons went up by 12. Seven players scored in the quarter for the Saxons, and they led 43-32 after three.
Joel Zylak led LC with 18 points.
Ferris sophomore Kacey Spink left the court in tears early in the second quarter with an injury to her right wrist. But she got it taped up, returned and hit three critical free throws late in the fourth to help the Saxons edge the Tigers 52-49 in the early game.
Spink finished with 10 points. Elliot Hencz – another sophomore – led Ferris (6-6, 4-3) with 12 points, while frosh Kendall Omlin added 10.
Andie Zylak led LC (5-6, 3-4) with 15.
Spink shook off the impact of the injury. “We worked really hard for this one,” she said.
“She’s just got the heart of a champion, one of the toughest kids, one of the best kids I’ve ever coached,” Ferris coach Scott Ward said. “She’s always competes, always plays hard.
“Fourth quarter, she’d been in basically the whole second half. I asked her if she needed a break and she said, ‘Absolutely not.’ ”
Spink’s scooping layup with 3:39 left put the Saxons up 45-38. Omlin drove the lane to make it nine with 2 minutes to go.
The Tigers scratched back, helped by frosh Ashlee Everstine’s three-point play. Zylak made 1 of 2 from the line with 12.7 seconds left to draw LC within two, but Spink made a free throw with 1.2 left, then missed the second intentionally and the Saxons held on.
“My team put me in the position to get to the line,” Spink said, “and those were big free throws.”