They took the hard road, but both Gonzaga Prep boys and Lewis and Clark girls are headed to state. That means the GSL won't suffer the ignominy of not have a boys team there for the first time in memory and the Tigers have kept intact a string now at seven trips - which means I avoid the "what happened to LC" questions.
Both teams had to win three straight games this weekend to advance and both did so. That is what is known in the sports world as a gut check
The Bullpups had been out of whack of late. David Stockton, so brilliant at times at point, seemed to be trying to do too much, which meant others in the lineup weren't getting to do enough. Coach Mike Haugen said it was in part because things had been so easy, they got caught up in transition frenzy and found out it didn't work against playoff teams. During a 55-45 win over Lewis and Clark the Bullpups were brilliant in not being in a hurry to score. The Tigers only scored nine points in the second half. Against Richland in a 66-53 win, they avenged their regional loss by getting back to the bigs - Ryan Nicholas and Travis Long - and instead of playing flat-footed like Tuesday, using the springs of its leapers to take care of rebounding business. Plus, Sean Fischer returned to shooting form, averaging 17 a game (Nicholas averaged the same).
LC has never worried about a loss or two in the past prior to state, but the two may have produced a little panic. The Tigers were flying around wildly throwing up shots for a time, but in the rematch against Walla Walla, their 65-48 victory avenging a 70-52 loss (of course this time the fouls were even), it looked more like the Tigers of old. Coach Jim Redmon feared the league may have been weak and winning became too easy. A loss in district rattled the troops and effort was lacking against the Blue Devils. Boy was the effort their tonight. Earlier, Sarah Kliewer sparked a comeback to eliminate Mead, which led teams for three quarters, but couldn't finish the deal.
Congrats to Rogers, which got the better of late technical fouls to hold off WV-Yakima, and Shadle Park, winners of 3A regional games. They play for a state berth at Hanford High next weekend. Shadle Park's girls won too, but NC lost and must come through the loser's bracket.
TTFN from Kennewick.