There wasn’t a surprise on the second night of Greater Spokane League district basketball play. League champions Gonzaga Prep boys and Lewis and Clark girls earned the right to play for regional berths. Their opponents, third-seed Lewis and Clark and girls second-place finisher Mead respectively. The Bullpups easily handled Ferris’ youthful boys team, the Tigers scrapped past Mead 59-55 in a game that personified the type of year the GSL had. LC had lost to Mead earlier 55-42, falling behind by nine points in the first quarter and never getting back into it. This time Mead trailed by a 11 after a quarter and although they did get back into the game, couldn’t get over the hump, going 6-for-13 from the free throw line.
LC girls jumped on University early and won 54-35 as Emily Travis scored a season high 17 points. Mead put Central Valley away late to win 64-44.
So the winners meet for the district championship and a regional berth. The losers play Thursday as well with that game winner going against the loser of the title games for the second spot to regional.
Turnabout was fair play for Lewis and Clark boys basketball, playing at Mead for the second time in a week.
Last Tuesday, the Tigers (12-9) were outscored 17-9 in the first quarter and lost 55-42 – which gave Mead home court for this first-round District 8 4A playoff game.
This Tuesday, they outscored the Panthers (11-10) 19-8 in the first quarter and wound up a 59-55 victor, winning for the first time in three tries against their foe.
“Last week they punched us in the mouth and we didn’t respond,” coach Jeff Norton said of the loss on Feb. 10. “This time we punched them in the mouth – figuratively, of course.”
Mead, however, did get off the canvas in the form of Erik Hansen and wiped out the early 11-point deficit. The team actually led briefly early in the third quarter.
But when LC needed to right its ship, the answer was there in Sean Hoffmann. The 6-foot-7 post scored at every juncture when called upon, finishing with 21 points, including making 5 of 6 free throws in the final minute to hold Mead, which had tied the game at 51, at bay.
The victory qualifies for regionals and will host a team from the Columbia Basin Big Nine next week.
Mead will host Ferris, also Thursday at 7:15, for the right to continue in the tournament. That winner plays the Prep-LC loser Friday for the second regional berth.
LC 59, Mead 55: Hoffman staked the Tigers to a quick 8-2 lead with three baskets and the visitors scored the final nine points of the quarter, getting two baskets each from Sage Poland and Levi Taylor for their 11-point lead.
Hoffman wasn’t just an offensive threat. He posed problems with his size defensively inside and Mead wound up shooting mainly from afar.
The Panthers made just 5 of 17 shot attempts and were trailing 24-10 before Hansen, who entered the game in the second quarter, took command.
He scored nine points to cut the deficit to 26-19 at intermission. And he scored 15 more in the second half. At one point, from his first basket – a 3-pointer with 2 minutes, 36 seconds left until half, to the end of the third quarter – Hansen had scored 19 of Mead’s 26 points. He ended up with a game-high 24.
The Panthers led 27-26 on his 3-pointer after LC turned the ball over three successive times to start the third quarter.
The antidote, following a timeout, was Hoffmann, who scored twice to put the Tigers back on top at 30-27.
Mead stayed within a point, but struggled at the free-throw line and was forced to rally from a 47-42 deficit in the final period. The Panthers tied on another Hansen 3-pointer with 1:36 left in the game.
“We did everything we could not to let him touch it,” Norton said.
Who should answer for LC? Hoffmann, with a drive from high post. He finished the game off at the line.
“I was just feeling it tonight,” Hoffmann said. “It’s a nice win, the first time we’ve won at Mead. We just came out with a lot more intensity than the last time.”
Gonzaga Prep 64, Ferris 49: The visiting Saxons had no answer for the Bullpups’ size. The regular-season champions led 39-23 and cruised. Ryan Nicholas, Prep’s 6-7 junior post, hit 11 of 16 shots, including a 3-pointer, and finished with 24 points. Travis Long, 6-5, added 11. Senior point guard David Stockton scored 15 points in one more gathering of the