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Archive for March 2009

Wrapping up GU’s season

I just filed this wrap-up on Gonzaga’s 2008-09 season. The unedited version is below.

Also, GU seniors Josh Heytvelt, Micah Downs and Jeremy Pargo are heading to Detroit. Pargo and Downs will participate in the slam dunk competition and Heytvelt will play in the college all-star game. More here.


Keefe taking to new role as Shock assistant

Former Spokane Shock player and fan favorite Rob Keefe is back in Spokane serving as an assistant coach on the af2 team he helped to a championship in 2006.

You can read the feature story on Keefe that appeared in Tuesday morning’s S-R here.  And check back later in the week for an advance story on the Shock’s af2 season-opener against Stockton in the Arena on Friday night. 


WSU puts the pads on for first time


There’s other, non Tony Bennett news coming out of Washington State this week – OK, I would understand if your response were “really?” – and it has to do with football. The Cougars hit the practice field Monday with their pads on, then went out and hit each other. All reports were they did it with some fury. At least they did in the parts I was able to observe. Read on for more.

Spring break for most prep teams

This week is the lull before the storm for high school spring sports. Except for a handful of contests, teams are on a break, but when they return beginning April 6, there are about five weeks of regular season remaining. Three more weeks of postseason and the 2008-09 season ends - the last gasp for this year’s seniors. What with weather and the holiday a lot must get done in little time.

GSL baseball, softball and soccer teams are farthest a long, about quarter of the way through with baseball scheduled for games this week. Other league action is just underway and some sports, track and golf, don’t get going until after the holiday. My Prep Notebook in The Spokesman-Review today addressed some of the doings, including the injuries that continue to best Mt. Spokane baseball the past few seasons.

I’ll be on the road to California the rest of this week for Central Washington University softball in my daughter Linse’s final tournament of her career, which - typical of the spring - has about a month remaining. Then it’s hit the ground running for the high school season ending rush.


A wrap and some links

I’m working on a Gonzaga season wrap-up article and getting the daily deluge of coaching carousel articles in my e-mail every morning. Arizona’s looking and Oregon hasn’t announced if Ernie Kent is staying or going. For what it’s worth, here are some viewpoints from Arizona and Eugene

I’ll try to post the season wrap-up article later today.

WSU still reeling over Bennett decision

COUGARS• UPDATED: 11:45 A.M.; 3:55 P.M.

The nature of the news, the suddenness of it all, is what hit Cougar nation in between the eyes. After dodging the bullet last year, when Indiana, LSU and Marquette all came a courting, WSU fans were pretty sure men’s basketball coach Tony Bennett was staying in Pullman for another year, and probably two more, as he rebuilt a program once again suffering from a lack of upper-class bodies and talent. But the news came quickly just after noon Monday. Heck, athletic director Jim Sterk, who, along with school president Elson J. Floyd, met with Bennett over the weekend to discuss Virginia’s offer, thought the bullet had whizzed by once again and he was out of town with his family. Then came the early afternoon phone call, the team meeting and, before the sun set on the Palouse, Bennett was on a jet toward his future in the Atlantic Coast Conference, six years and one day after he arrived with his father Dick. Read on for thoughts and links.

• UPDATE: Virginia makes it official. You can read the release here.

UPDATE NO. 2: USD coach Bill Grier, mentioned by Sterk as someone he wants to talk with, told the San Diego Union Tribune today he wasn’t interested in the WSU position.

Bennett leaving WSU for Virginia


Just finished talking with some of the players and it’s true. Tony Bennett is leaving Washington State University to become the head basketball coach at the University of Virginia. The players are shocked, the administration is shocked, the assistant coaches are shocked. We will have more soon. You can read the news here. UPDATE: We have updated our story with the latest version all night (you can find it on the link above). We’ll have more on Bennett’s decision and the search for his replacement in the morning. Until then …

50th anniversary of Kellogg title

Here’s a feature story on the 1959 Kellogg boys basketball team’s state championship that appeared in the Handle Extra on Sunday.

Here’s a link to the radio broadcast of the ‘59 title game played at North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene.

Also in the Handle Extra, here’s a look at the Coeur d’Alene, Lake City, Post Falls, Lakeland, Timberlake, Coeur d’Alene Charter and Sandpoint boys and girls track teams. 

In the picture above, is the 1959 Kellogg boys basketball team being honored as ‘Legends of the Game’ at the 2009 state boys basketball tournament earlier this month.


Good day (week) for Panthers

Friday was a particularly good day of a good week for Mead baseball and softball teams. The Panthers boys kept up the torrid offense (although Shadle Park to its credit matched ‘em) in a 12-9 victory at Al K. Jackson Field. Of Mead’s 10 hits, two were doubles, two triples and a home run. Seth Peterson hit is third homer, a 3-run bomb, and doubled. Grant Fink doubled, Jake Schrader and Tyler Benson tripled. But the team nearly let a 12-1 lead get away because: Taylor Raynor had three hits including a double. Luke Jordan had two hits and a double. Tyler Pfeffer had three hits and doubled twice among the Highlanders 13 base knocks.

As for the girls, following back-to-back wins over Central Valley and University, the Panthers are now tied with the Titans for first place with 4-1 records. CV and Shadle Park are half a game behind heading into spring break. Mead beat U-Hi Friday 5-4 on Emma Barrington’s bases loaded single. Barrington, whose dad John is the coach, and Breanna Lookabill each had two hits. It looks like it’s going to be quite a race for two 4A regional berths.

Game coverage

Back with the game story and some notes from Gonzaga’s 98-77 loss to North Carolina on Friday. It was GU’s second worst NCAA Tournament loss. The Bulldogs fell to Maryland 87-63 in their first trip to the NCAAs in 1995.

Read on for unedited articles that will run in Saturday’s S-R.


North Carolina overwhelms GU, 98-77

Gonzaga’s season came to an end Friday night as top-seeded North Carolina rolled to an impressive 98-77 victory at FedExForum in Memphis.

North Carolina led by as many as 17 in the first half and settled for a 53-42 lead at the break. The Tar Heels (31-4) scored the first six points of the second half and were on top 66-45  on Wayne Ellington’s layup with 15 minutes remaining.

The fourth-seeded Zags finished 28-6, one win short of the school record of 29.

Back later with a game story and a short notebook.  

Workmanlike WSU will rest the weekend


The last day without pads passed without the same energy of the first day. But that’s to be expected. The workmanlike day might have been even more impressive, however, because it looked like the Cougars were a little sharper offensively – though the wide receivers struggled to catch the ball at times – and seemed to be in the right spots defensively throughout the drills. One other thing: There are quite a few players who have added muscle during the winter and it shows, especially without pads. This is a team that’s starting to look like it belongs in the Pac-10. Read on for our story.

Game day for GU, UNC

Game day for Gonzaga and North Carolina in what appears to be a great Sweet 16 matchup. A couple of items in today’s S-R, authored by John Blanchette. First, his column on GU’s previous losses in the Sweet 16 and how it can avoid a similar fate tonight. There’s also a sidebar on the friendship of Mark Few and Roy Williams.

For North Carolina coverage, here’s a link to the Charlotte Observer and there’s numerous stories on GU-UNC.



WSU has an efficient start to spring


Good morning. Washington State opened spring practice yesterday afternoon with a spirited and actually quite efficient – considering it was the first day – workout. Read on for more thoughts.

Spirits high as WSU opens spring


The first day of spring practice was spirited, to say the least. One play the defense would celebrate, the next play the offense would. We watched the entire day and filed our story for tomorrow’s S-R. For the unedited version and a few extra comments, read on.

Eags have football date at Qwest Field

Eastern Washington University’s 2009 football schedule will include an Oct. 31 matchup against Big Sky Conference rival Portland State at Qwest Field in Seattle.

You can read more details here.

Is a late November road trip to watch a “home game” a good thing for Eagles fans?



Gonzaga-North Carolina preview

Back with a preview of Friday’s Gonzaga-North Carolina contest. The unedited version is below.


GU updates from Memphis

Media day has come and gone, so I’ll post a couple of things rather than wait ‘til later and have one extremely long post.

Click below for the GU-UNC matchups and also for an unedited notebook.

Back with the game preview in about 90 minutes.


Griffitts changes her mind

The lead item in my column today is about Coeur d’Alene High basketball standout Kama Griffitts, who de-committed to Snow College and is now heading to North Idaho College.

Also, in a note about the District I All-Star game, Camille Reynolds of Lakeland won the 3-point shooting contest. I was given some incorrect information this week.

Pictured above is Kama Griffitts.

WSU news on a spring day


An action-packed morning awaits on the World Wide Web, Washington State style. There are stories. There are comments. There are millions and millions of words dedicated to the Cougars. OK, I exaggerate. But there are a few. Read on.

WSU will be young next season


We did a football story tonight (and posted it here). And we finished up our look at the basketball season. It’s not just a look back, of course. It’s also a look ahead. Read on.

Vandals kick off spring practice

Tomorrow is the first day of spring practice for the Idaho football team, which has plenty of issues to shuffle through over the next month.

The big questions: Will Nathan Enderle keep the starting QB job? Who will replace the production of Eddie Williams? What steps has the defense made to improve?

Keep reading for more in my preview for tomorrow’s S-R.

Questions abound at WSU


We’re done with our story in advance of tomorrow’s spring football kickoff, so we thought we would post the unedited, long version here. Read on.

Revisiting 2006, 1999

Won’t tell you what time I got up this morning to fly across country, but the first numeral might have been a ‘3’. But we made it to warm Memphis (perhaps 65 degrees) and I just filed a look back at the 2006 Gonzaga-North Carolina game.

Find an unedited version below.

While we’re looking back, John Blanchette revisited the Zags’ Elite Eight crew in 1999.

One more day to WSU spring football


We actually have some WSU news. And, being Paul Wulff is holding a spring football news conference this afternoon – and we will have a story on that plus more – it will be a busy day here at SportsLink, WSU edition. Read on.

Bryan Peterson gets an interview

It looks like Bryan Peterson is headed for long season low A ball with Greenville in the South Atlantic League with the Red Sox organization. Here’s an interview with the ex-West Valley athlete on the Sox Prospects blog (you can even check out his YouTube contributions).

Mt. Spokane’s Jarek Cunningham re-injured his knee after an impressive debut last summer in the Pittsburge organization.

Coaching up the Zags

I solicited the opinions of three coaches — Maryland’s Gary Williams, Virginia Tech’s Seth Greenberg and Washington State’s Tony Bennett — who have experience facing Gonzaga and North Carolina. 

Read what they consider to be the key points in Friday’s GU-UNC matchup below in an unedited article that will run in Wednesday’s S-R.


Bowman faces surgery

Gonzaga junior Heather Bowman, a three-time All-West Coast Conference player and the Bulldogs’ leading scorer, played all four post-season games with a shoulder injury that will require surgery next month.
GU coach Kelly Graves confirmed Tuesday Bowman suffered a torn labrum in her left shoulder the first practice after the end of the regular season. She played with a brace as the Bulldogs won two games to capture the WCC Tournament title and two games in the NCAA Tournament.
Bowman, 6-2 out of Lewis and Clark, scored 38 points in the NCAA Tournament, including the Bulldogs first-ever win. She had 23 in a 74-59 win over No. 20 Xavier on Saturday and 15 in a 65-60 loss to No. 15 PIttsburgh on Monday. In those two games she was matched up against 6-6 posts, Ta’Shia Phillips of the Musketeers and Pepper Wilson of the Panthers despite not having the ability to extend her arm back.
The surgery, scheduled for April 6, requires a six-month rehabilitation, with no contact until October.

NCAA tickets go on sale Wednesday

NCAA tournament tickets for games at the South Regional, including Gonzaga-North Carolina, go on sale Wednesday morning. More here.

WSU shows its smarts


A couple Pac-10 notes. The conference announced its all-academic men’s basketball team and the next commissioner. And no, Condoleeza Rice was not mentioned in either release. Read on.

Pargo on SI cover

This week’s issue of Sports Illustrated includes six regional covers featuring teams advancing to the Sweet 16 of the 2009 NCAA men’s basketball championship:  Gonzaga, Jeremy Pargo; Michigan State, Kalin Lucas; North Carolina, Ty Lawson; Oklahoma, Blake Griffin; Pittsburgh, Levance Fields; and Syracuse, Jonny Flynn, are featured on the covers, with the billing Let’s Get It On.


Ty’s toe

North Carolina point guard Ty Lawson, who has been battling a jammed right big toe since March 6, spent about 15 minutes with the media Tuesday. I believe the first 12 questions dealt with his toe. The last couple dealt with his toe. A couple of Ty’s teammates were asked about his toe, including whether they were stunned by the amount of coverage Ty’s toe is receiving. 

So here’s the toe update. Lawson said it’s feeling better. He ices it around the clock. There was some pain and swelling after the win over LSU, but he thinks he’ll be able to rest it and play against Gonzaga on Friday.

Added coach Roy Williams: “It’s not going to go away and it’s going to hurt the rest of the season until he can take some time off. … I don’t think he’s going to be 100 percent, but I’ll take whatever I can get, especially if it’s like Saturday” when Lawson scored 21 points in the second half.

Meanwhile, here’s a couple of articles on GU’s blueprint for sustaining success in the Washington Post and And here’s a feature by on Matt Bouldin’s transformation.

GU basketbrawl recap

After the east coast deadline, a writer from Pittsburgh couldn’t contain his admiration for Gonzaga’s women’s basketball team after a hard-fought loss to the Panthers in the NCAA Tournament.

That’s Big East basketball, he said. That’s what we see every night. Gonzaga didn’t back down. He made it a point to seek out Bulldogs coach and congratulate him.

A Gonzaga fan called way too early this morning, still excited, to say that was one of the best Gonzaga games ever - men or women. Well, the men have sure played some great games on the big stage in the last 11 years, but they had to start somewhere. Think back to ‘99 and a loss to a Big East team, UConn, in the Elite Eight. Close but no cigar.

If, and there is no reason to believe they won’t, the Bulldogs build of this, the future is indeed bright. Jami Schaefer, solid, dependable and extraoridinary leader is the only senior - and for that matter, Heather Bowman and Vivian Frieson were the only juniors to play.

And, though there isn’t much more that can be said about Courtney Vandersloot, the sophomore point guard is the real deal. She’s a player and as long as she’s healthy, the Zags are going to be on the national scene.

Rumor central: Stanford and Texas A&M have agreed to a home-and-home with the Zags, unfortunately with both on the road next year. Those kind of games pad a resume quite well.

Don’t pack those dancin’ shoes to deep in the closet.

Keep reading for links to GU stories.

Idaho preps: baseball, softball

I’ve been neglectful in linking spring sports preview stories.

Here’s a look at the Coeur d’Alene, Lake City, Post Falls, Lakeland, Timberlake and Sandpoint baseball teams.

Here’s a look at the Coeur d’Alene, Lake City, Post Falls, Lakeland, Timberlake and Sandpoint softball teams.

Our track preview stories for those teams will be in the new Sunday Handle Extra. I’ll post it early next week.

Zags keep tourney interesting

Conference calls coming up with North Carolina players and coach Roy Williams. Until then, take a look at John Blanchette’s column on Demetri Goodson’s buzzer-beater giving the NCAA tournament a break from a rather ho-hum first two rounds.

Check back later for more.


Idaho loses grip on season

Eight days after their season was surprisingly extended, the Vandals succumbed to Pacific 69-59 in the second round of the tournament. Idaho finishes 17-16, its best season since 1993-94.

Things looked promising for UI through the first 20-plus minutes. It trailed by just two at the half but the Tigers used a pair of mini-flurries to bolt to a double-digit lead — and then held off one last Idaho charge.

You can read more from UI and Pacifc.

Close but … for Zag women

Gonzaga got a welcome to Big East basketball but the Bulldogs didn’t back down in a hard fought, physical game with 15th-ranked Pittsburgh. Ultimately their dream of a berth in the Sweet 16 at the Oklahoma City regional was shatted, 65-60.

Read below for the unedited game story.

Goodson looks back, moves on

Media day today at Gonzaga and Demetri Goodson was interviewed by just about everybody at the McCarthey Athletic Center, not to mention another audience with scribes on a teleconference.

I filed this unedited notebook that is virtually all about Goodson with a brief update on Matt Bouldin’s knee at the end. Read more below.


First week of GSL baseball enlightening

Two pitchers remain from the group that made Greater Spokane League baseball so exciting last year. I did a profile on one, Billy Moon from University, and will follow up with Jake Partridge as the season goes on.

Teams got their first home and home doubleheader out of the way last week and not surprisingly the Titans and Central Valley, last year’s regional qualifiers, are among them. The Bears should be a force, even if junior oriented, if the new pitching staff replaces last year’s sure thing Rusty Shellhorn, and pro signee Trevor Shull. All the other pieces are in place with a dozen players back. Getting past the Rogers Pirates twice, including in extra innings, was huge. U-Hi doubled up Gonzaga Prep convincingly.

Shadle Park figured to be improved, but the Highlanders took a nice step by beating Mt. Spokane 8-2 and 8-1. And East Valley enhanced its 3A post-season prospects by whipping North Central 13-2 and 11-1.

So - after a week -  here’s your chance to guess the best. This was my take  when I previewed the season last week. Mead has yet to play so this week’s games against Rogers and Shadle Park will help sort things out.

Gonzaga-Pitt pregame

I think I see sun in Seattle, a first since Friday, but before I go for a walk, here are some links to prepare you for Gonzaga’s game with Pitt tonight in the NCAA women’s tournament.

There is the advance story and notebook from our paper; a feature on hometown player Vivian Frieson and prediction from The Seattle Times (which was 2-2 on Saturday); The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette advance; and the Pittsburg Tribune-Post advance.

By the way, if you don’t think women’s basketball is hot in Tennessee, he’s the story from Knoxville - which had 181 comments on it.

By the way, no one is real surprised Gonzaga picked up a first round win as ESPN predicted but I haven’t discovered anything for tonight’s game.

Graham Hays’ upset watch


GonzagaNo. 5 Xavier vs. No. 12 Gonzaga (ESPN2/, 10 p.m. ET Saturday): This one is in Seattle, a few hours and a mountain range removed from Gonzaga’s base in Spokane, Wash., but still a heck of a lot closer for it than for the team from Cincinnati. The logic for the seeds holding is pretty simple: Gonzaga is a good offensive team but not a great offensive team; it needs some volume to get its points, and Xavier is one of the toughest teams in the nation to get quality scoring chances against. That said, the Musketeers have not been at their defensive best in recent weeks — allowing 60 or more points in four of their past seven games. And a team prone to turnovers could be in trouble against a Bulldogs defense that forces more than 20 a game. Pick: Gonzaga


Students return as WSU prepares for spring


With spring break finally over at WSU – A whole week? What’s happened to our educational system? – we should finally get a chance to talk with some of the basketball players about the season just ended. Then there is the other thing that happens this week, spring football. It’s only the two days of helmet-only conditioning, but it’s a start. Just think, last year we were in North Carolina when the Cougars opened spring practice. And it was in the mid-70s. Oh well, it should be at least 45 this week. Read on for some links.

Idaho preps for date with Pacific

The NCAA tournament has reached the Round of 16. The NIT is down to 10 teams. And to think, Idaho’s still kicking in the quarterfinals. The Vandals will play Pacific tomorrow night at 7.

For more on the matchup, read below for my preview.

GU lets the good times roll

I put together a follow-up on Gonzaga’s two tournament wins in the front seat of the company Impala and finished it up at home this afternoon.

Read on for the unedited version of the article that will run in Monday’s S-R. (By the way, I sometimes forget to post our photo slide shows from games, but do yourself a favor and look at Chris Anderson’s work here.)


Tomorrow’s GU news today

Before sitting down to a relaxing dinner, I’ll post the unedited versions of the advance and notebook for the Gonzaga women’s matchup with No. 15 Pittsburgh in the NCAA Tournament that will appear in Monday’s.

Reflections on GU history

Before looking ahead to Gonzaga’s game against No. 15 Pittsburgh, a moment to reflect on the Bulldogs’ historic 78-53 win over No. 20 Xavier for their first win in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament.

1, Courtney Vandersloot: Re-enforced the notion the savvy playmaker is one of the best in the country.

2, Vivian Frieson: A tremendous athlete and consumate team player.

3, Team: Five beats one every time. Ta’Shia Phillips was great - as a friend used to say, “All that and a bag of chips” - but as a unit, Gonzaga was spectacular. No matter what happens against Pittsburgh, the vibe around this team revives memories of the 1999 GU men’s team, emphasis on team. The way a wide variety of players stepped up to hit shots, grab a rebound, make a stop, it was a total team effort by all 10 players.

4, Heather Bowman: The junior from Lewis and Clark has been a remarkable offensive force since she stepped on campus and an average defender. Although the 6-6 Phillips got hers (26 points, 18 rebounds), Bowman did a great defensive job. The Musketeers seemed so intent on getting her the ball, they forgot about the rest of their offense until they were down 13. Although Bowman had help, it’s not as if the Zags could ignore the other players - Frieson had burly 6-foot April Phillips (no relation) to contend with. Bowman really made T-Phillips work to get what she got and that made all the difference in the world. Her best game in a career of great games.

Keep reading for links and comments. And we’ll be back this evening after the afternoon press conferences for tomorrow night’s second round game.

Day after WKU

Wild finish to last night’s GU win over Western Kentucky and a crazy post-game in the media room. The wireless connection went kaput for everyone for roughly 90 minutes, resurfaced once for about 2 minutes and then again, thankfully, at deadline for perhaps 15 minutes before taking the rest of the night off.

Anyway, it kept me from posting our complete coverage of the game. So here it is: My game story, John Blanchette’s column and a notebook.

Hitting the road for the six-hour drive home. Back later with more.


Zags (women) make history

Gonzaga women’s basketball team won its first game game in the NCAA Tournament Saturday night. In just their second-ever appearance, the 12th-seeded Bulldogs were cool, calm and collected.

Rumor has it Spokane didn’t get to see the game from the opening tip, which led to a Janelle Bekkering 3 and the Zags never trailed.

Keep reading for the unedited version of the story, which may have missed deadline because of all kinds of difficulties - not of my making for a changae.

Meech seals the deal

PORTLAND – Casey Calvary’s legendary tip-in now has some company in Gonzaga’s rich NCAA tournament lore.

Goodson hits game-winner for GU

Gonzaga blew a nine-point lead in the final 2:15, but freshman guard Demetri Goodson hit a running bank shot from 8 feet with 0.9 seconds left  to give the Bulldogs a thrilling 83-81 victory over Western Kentucky.

Matt Bouldin led GU with 20 points and Jeremy Pargo added 18. WKU guards A.J. Slaughter and Orlando Mendez-Valdez combined for 49 points.

Gonzaga moves on to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2006. GU will face top-seeded North Carolina in Memphis.

Game story in about two hours.

Game day for GU-WKU

Gonzaga and Western Kentucky will decide one of the spots in the Sweet 16 later today at the Rose Garden. Read more about it in the Louisville Courier-Journal and Oregonian. There’s a couple of articles on the Bowling Green Daily News, but the Website is down at the moment.

The S-R’s John Blanchette produced this column on Austin Daye. GU redshirt Andy Poling won’t play today, but here’s an update on the Portland-area prep product. The Chicago Tribune featured WKU’s Orlando Mendez-Valdez.


Mercer Island coach retires

As long as we’re in Seattle picking up news and notes, a few things of interest to share with you.

Legendary Mercer Island boys basketball coach Ed Pepple retired Friday and yes, there is a note about the Shadle Park game from 25 years ago.

Local players dot the rosters for an all-star boys basketball series tonight (this link includes John Olerud going into the WIAA Hall of Fame) and the East-West football game, which is in Everett this summer.

Mom leads GU women

There a few people who define student-athlete better than Gonzaga senior Jami (Bjorklund) Schaefer, the lead subject for today’s notebook from the NCAA women’s tournament in Seattle. It’s impossible not to get to know someone you’ve seen play since junior high and like anyone else who has gotten to know Jami, it’s been refreshing to see someone who has kept her life in perfect balance.

Again, here’s the link to the advance for tonight’s tournament opener against Xavier. The Seattle Times has an advance, capsules for tonight’s doubleheader that includes Montana and Pittsburgh, plus a feature on GU point guard Courtney Vandersloot.

There is also the Cincinnati Enquirer advance and notebook from the Xavier angle. A note about the notebook, Xavier hired the South Kitsap band to play tonight - and so did Pittsburgh so the band will change from Pitt t-shirts to Xavier t-shirts between games. Both those schools sent their pep bands with the men’s teams.

Gonzaga notebook

Back with the notebook. They’re about to shut down the media room here at the Rose Garden, so we’re heading for the shuttle bus.

Read on for the unedited version of the notebook.

GU, WKU battle for spot in Sweet 16

I’ve posted the Gonzaga-Western Kentucky game preview and a look at the matchups below in unedited form. Read of for more and check back later for a notebook.


Injuries slow WSU’s drive this spring


This might be the NCAA Tournament of could-have-beens. So many near upsets, more than we remember. Then again, the memory isn’t what it used to be. And we’ve started, ever so slowly, to turn our attention back to football. Spring practices begin Thursday, which means it’s time to look ahead. Where on the road to recovery is Washington State? Not as far along as the Cougars hoped, but there is a reason for that. Read on for the first look at our story that will appear in Sunday’s S-R.

Gonzaga women ready

Gonzaga is one of 28 schools with both its men’s and women’s basketball teams in the NCAA tournament.

From the women we’ve had a story on the Bulldogs’ tournament draw, Xavier’s star in the middle and GU junior Vivian Frieson quietly becoming an all-league performer.

Keep reading for the advance for tomorrow’s game.


Day after Akron

I posted my game story and notebook last night (see previous posts). Here’s John Blanchette’s column on GU avoiding another first-round departure, S-R photos, some of the game’s key numbers, game stories from Cleveland and Akron, and more from the Seattle Times and News Tribune of Tacoma.

We’ll have much more later today on Western Kentucky, Gonzaga’s opponent in the second round Saturday, but here are a few recaps of the Hilltoppers’ win over Illinois from the USA Today, Chicago Tribune and the Daily News of Bowling Green, Ky.

Oregonian columnist John Canzano offers his opinion on Ernie Kent’s future and the possibility of Mark Few taking over at Oregon.

Zag notebook

Just filed this notebook from Gonzaga’s 77-64 NCAA tournament win over Akron on Thursday.

Read the unedited version below.

I’ll post John Blanchette’s column in the morning.


Zags’ D shuts down Zips

Back with my game story from GU’s 77-64 win over Akron. The unedited version is below.


Zags shake off slow start, defeat Akron

It took the better part of 30 minutes, but the Gonzaga Bulldogs finally put together a long, decisive run and pulled away from Akron, 77-64, at the Rose Garden on Thursday in the first round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Trailing 52-51, Gonzaga scored 13 straight points and went on a 19-1 run to take command at 70-53 with 4:05 remaining. Akron went nearly 13 minutes without a field goal before Darryl Roberts connected on a 3-pointer with 2:08 remaining.

The fourth-seeded Bulldogs (27-5) were led by Josh Heytvelt’s 22 points. MIcah Downs had 15 points and Matt Bouldin added 12 points and five assists. Jeremy Pargo scored nine points and chipped in five assists. Roberts paced the Zips with 19 points.

Check back for a game story and notes later.  

Game day for GU-Akron

No shortage of NCAA coverage, so we’ll get to the GU-related links. Here’s John Blanchette’s look at Akron coach Keith Dambrot, the Cleveland Plain-Dealer’s advance, A.P.’s advance, and a trio of items in the Akron newspaper, including this blog post. (Make sure to check out the separate post on Blanchette’s interview with The Rev. Robert Spitzer.)

The Washington Post wrote about the LeBron James-Akron connection. The Seattle Times visited with Jeremy Pargo and Bud Withers columnized on GU’s recent NCAA failures.  Ex-S-R staffer Dave Boling has this piece on Micah Downs. Finally, here’s a podcast with former Zag Ronny Turiaf.

And here’s Chris Anderson’s photos of GU from Wednesday’s press conferences and practice at the Rose Garden.

Will GSL softball pitching be as strong?

When I did my Greater Spokane League softball preview this week, the thesis was, what with two-time Washington Gatorade Player of the Year Samantha Skillingstad and Kelsie Vallies graduated, had a pitching era come to an end?

The GSL swept all four state team berths back in 1998 and over 11 years the league averaged 2.5 teams to state behind an array of pitching, peaking between 2003 and 2008 with two state titles (U-Hi and Shadle), two seconds (The Highlanders) and two fourths (Shadle and North Central).

Will this year be different? Mead and Central Valley, pre-season favorites, opened the season with shutout wins.

What are your thoughts?

Idaho snags dramatic postseason win

It could have been easier. Much easier. But the Vandals will certainly take their 69-67 victory over Drake in the first round of the tournament.

Idaho nearly frittered away a 12-point lead in the closing minutes, but held on for the program’s first postseason win since 1982.

Keep reading for my game story from Memorial Gym.

Q & A with Father Spitzer

On the eve of Gonzaga’s 11th consecutive NCAA tournament appearance, the Rev. Robert Spitzer, the school’s president, sat down with Spokesman-Review columnist John Blanchette for an hour-long Q-and-A. What follows is the long version of the interview that appears in Thursday’s paper.


Read all about it

Back with a ton of unedited cut-and-paste material to post. Read on for more.

(I’ll post John Blanchette’s Q & A with Rev. Robert Spitzer and Blanchette’s profile of Akron coach Keith Dambrot in the morning).


Another poll: How ‘bout those Lady Zags?

If you missed our previous poll on the Zags in the men’s NCAA tournament, cast your vote here! This one’s for the women’s tourney …

NIT loss, the day after


We just made the C to D stroll at SeaTac, so we finally have time to check out the reports from last night. With the late starting time and the limited access, we don’t have our usual comments, but we do have some thoughts. Read on.

Zips-Zags: From Z to Z

Good morning from Portland. Not sure if this will reach anybody because I’ve been bumped off my wireless connection about a half dozen times and I can’t get to my e-mail. So, we’ll keep it short.

We’ll give you something to chuckle about with columnist John Blanchette catching a lot of zzzs. Here’s a look at Akron guard Steve McNees regaining his shooting stroke. And here’s a blog item on Gonzaga fans snapping up Zips’ tickets.

Press conferences later this afternoon. Back tonight with more. 

Slow start, Mills doom WSU


The Cougars’ season ended with a whimper, at least in the first half. They tried to bang their way back after halftime, but once again the hole they decided to dig was too deep to crawl all the way out of. Not with Patty Mills continually throwing dirt on them. WSU got within four with 6 minutes, 36 seconds left, but Mills made two free throws, Omar Samhan hit a 16-foot jumper and scored on a three-point play and St. Mary’s was moving on in the NIT. Read on for the unedited version of our story.

WSU falls 68-57 to St. Mary’s

It was, after all, Patty Mills’ day. Even if he is from Australia, not Ireland, and wears the blue of St. Mary’s. The Gaels’ 6-foot guard, in only his fourth game back from a broken wrist that cost him five weeks – and may have cost St. Mary’s an NCAA berth - had his way with Washington State, scoring 27 points and blunting every Cougar second-half rally in the Gaels’ 68-57 NIT first-round victory at McKeon Pavilion. Mills wasn’t alone, as 6-7 forward Diamon Simpson added 18 points and 11 rebounds, including six on the offensive end. And 6-10 center Omar Samhan, saddled with foul trouble, still had 11 points – including five consecutive to halt the final Cougar rally, which had pulled them within four – and seven rebounds. Cougar seniors Aron Baynes (19 points, 10 rebounds) and Taylor Rochestie (14 points) played as if they didn’t want their WSU careers to end, especially in the second half. But by then it was too late. We’ll be back in about an hour or so. Until then …

St. Mary’s leads WSU 36-23 at half


Let’s see. I’ve got 10 second-chance points for St. Mary’s off seven offensive rebounds. Then there are the 11 points the Gaels have scored in transition. How about the 12 WSU turnovers? Add in the 17 points – and one Academy Award-winning flop – for Patty Mills, healthy again, and 12 from Diamon Simpson. A 13-point halftime deficit is the result as the Cougars are in midseason form. And by that, I mean the form they showed in their three-game Pac-10 losing streak. But in some ways this is worse. Because of the transition baskets. This is a team that prides itself in getting back, getting organized and wall off the basket in transition. The Cougars are not doing that tonight. And they’re getting out-toughed on the offensive glass in a game that takes a blood-drawing hack to get a foul underneath. The Gaels aren’t shooting well – 40 percent compared to the Cougs’ 43 – but they have nine more shots. Maybe a 13-point deficit isn’t all that bad. We’ll be back at the end. Until then …

UI embraces postseason experience

It’s been a long time — 19 years to be exact — since Idaho could relish any sort of postseason atmosphere. But that will change Wednesday night inside tiny Memorial Gym. The Vandals will take on Drake in the tournament, and it should be interesting to see how both teams react to the quick turnaround.

Keep reading for my preview of the first-round matchup.

The winner gets Davidson


Just a quick pregame post tonight. As you might know, Davidson, behind Stephen Curry’s 32 points, went to South Carolina and won, 70-63 tonight. If the Cougars win, our understanding is they would play Monday night at Davidson with, my guess is, a 4 p.m. PDT starting time. Read on for our thoughts on what the Cougars have to do to get there.

Heytvelt wants to finish strong

The six-hour drive to Portland is done and so is my feature on Josh Heytvelt. I’m going to grab some food, but you can read the unedited version of the article that will run in Wednesday’s S-R below.


Remembering Dave Sanders

A lot of great athletes have passed before my eyes over the past five decades, but one of the more compelling was David Sanders, who 24 years ago set a single season Greater Spokane League scoring record - before the advent of the 3-point arc - that held up until the Adam Morrison, Josh Heytvelt era nearly 20 years later. I caught up with him a few weeks back and had an interesting chat. His interesting story is the topic of our weekly Then and Now series. 

Poll: How far will the Zags go?

Winter is officially over

Winter (sports) is over. I can officially now proclaim it spring. Hopefully the weather takes heed. And quite a winter it was. My prep notebook in Tuesday’s Spokesman-Review wraps things up.

In part it was look ahead, with a new football coach, Brian Gardner, chosen at North Central. In part it was look back on the second and third state places of Shadle Park and West Valley girls that brought closure to nearly three months of basketball.


GU back where it started

Got busy with other stuff Monday and forgot to post the latest rankings. Gonzaga moved up to 10th in the A.P. poll. I couldn’t remember so I looked up where the Zags were ranked in the preseason poll. Yep, 10th. Interesting to look back at the top 15 or so and the accuracy of the voters.

Making the drive to Portland with the S-R’s John Blanchette and Chris Anderson this afternoon. Hopefully I’ll be able to type some during the drive. Couple of programming notes: I’m working on an article on Josh Heytvelt and his desire to prolong his GU career as long as possible. Blanchette has a column in the works on Zips coach Keith Dambrot, who played baseball at Akron and coached LeBron James in high school.

I’ll try to post the Heytvelt article later tonight. 

NIT first fiddle for WSU


With the NCAA Tournament hype in full blow-up mode – if WSU was in the tournament, we’d be joining in, I’m sure – there is little room left for the stepchild, the NIT. But we did find a couple things to pass on to you. By the way, they’ll be showing the game in Beasley Coliseum tonight, though there weren’t many students in town yesterday. Read on.

Zips take interesting path to the dance

As promised, I put together a look at the Akron Zips, Gonzaga’s opponent on Thursday in Portland. They’re an interesting team with seven freshmen, but their primary players (the McKnight brothers and Nate Linhart) are upperclassmen. Still, Akron often goes 10 deep and 11 different players have started games.

The Zips are a defensive-minded club in the defensive-minded Mid-American Conference. Akron won its last two games 63-55 and 65-53, similar to many of the scores from their 23-win season.

As you’ll read below, the Zips overcame numerous obstacles and a wild MAC tournament opener to earn the conference’s automatic berth. Read on for an unedited article that will run in Tuesday’s S-R.


WSU’s Bennett a changed coach


This has been a season of change for Washington State. From the very first day of practice, Cougar fans knew they weren’t in Hawaii anymore Toto. Or Beloit. This WSU team was going to be different, and it has been. In a season of adjustments, the biggest might just be the changes that have overtaken the head coach. Tony Bennett has shown this year he’s willing to try new things, new plans, new ways of doing things if it might help his team succeed. Has it? To a degree. The Cougars are in the postseason after all. And probably won a couple games they shouldn’t have. After losing a couple. We decided to look at the change that’s manifested itself in Bennett this season, talking with him and others about it. Read on for the album version of the story. The 45 will appear in tomorrow’s S-R, and if you understand that, you’re too darn old.

Day-after NCAA pairings

Hopefully this post will be interrupted by the phone ringing. That means a couple of calls from Akron have reached the Inland Northwest so I can put together an article on the Zips for Tuesday’s S-R.

Anyway, there’s more notes and links below.


Links aplenty about WSU, NIT and NCAA


Hope you have a lot of time this morning. We have a lot of links. Read on for stories ranging from St. Mary’s being hosed by the NCAA to Washington lamenting being forced to play a team WSU dominated. And, of course, items about the Cougars.

Vandals end 19-year postseason drought

Idaho coach Don Verlin hinted at Idaho’s postseason future at different times near the end of the season, saying it was possible the Vandals could sneak into a lower-tier tournament. But when that news became reality on Sunday, Verlin was downright giddy.

It’s no wonder — the Vandals lasted played a postseason game in 1990. That drought will end Wednesday when they host Drake on Wednesday in the tournament. The game will be at Memorial Gym.

Keep reading for my story that will appear in Monday’s S-R.

Zags, Zips square off in Portland

Gonzaga seemed fairly content with its seeding (fourth), opponent (Akron) and site (Portland). Read more of the players’ and head coach Mark Few’s thoughts below in an unedited article that will run in Monday’s S-R.

Tough test awaits WSU


The NIT didn’t do WSU any favors. The Cougars play on the road, which was probably expected. They have to play Tuesday night, which means a quick trip from Pullman. They face St. Mary’s, a team that when at full strength, might be in the top five on the West Coast – and the Gaels’ Patty Mills should be pretty healthy by Tuesday. Read on for the unedited version of our story that will appear in tomorrow’s S-R. We’ve also included some web-only notes.

WSU will travel to St. Mary’s in NIT


Washington State got its wish. The Cougars will take their 17-15 record into the NIT, facing St. Mary’s Tuesday night in Moraga, Calif., at 8 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN2. For more on the Gaels, read on. We’ll have more after we talk with WSU coach Tony Bennett this evening.

No. 4-seeded GU draws Akron

Gonzaga will open the NCAA men’s basketball tournament against No. 13 Akron on Thursday in Portland. The Zags are the fourth seed in the South Region. North Carolina is the top seed in the South.

The Gonzaga-Akron winner faces the winner of the No. 5 Illinois-No. 12 Western Kentucky on Saturday.

Meanwhile, John Blanchette sat down with Jeremy Pargo for this column that ran in Sunday’s S-R.

More later.

WSU will learn its fate today



As is evident in my story this morning, the College Basketball Invitational is more than willing to say yes to inferior teams if those inferior teams are willing to say yes to it. The 16-team tournament filled one of its four West regional teams last night with Oregon State, the Pac-10's eighth-place finisher and a school with a losing record (you can read about it here). The Beavers were willing to spend $75,000 or so to host a first-round game, so good for them. What does that mean for the Cougars? Read on.


• UPDATE: The folks at NIT-ology now have WSU in. And it's for the same reason we've mentioned: It would be strange to have six Pac-10 teams in the NCAA and none in the NIT. We'll see. And here is the Pontiac game-changing moment winner: Taylor Rochestie's game-winning shot.

Gallant effort by Highlanders

No question Shadle Park has the second-best 3A girls basketball team in the state. Keep rearding for the unedited game story from its championship game loss to Kennedy Saturday night.


Maybe it could have been WSU


The sixth seed in the Pac-10 Tournament had a well-sanded road to the NCAA Tournament. First up was a Cal team that really wanted to get back to Berkeley quickly, so it had more time to get ready for the NCAAs. The next night was UCLA, never as good playing a second game in a weekend. Finally, Arizona State was waiting in the final, not UW. And the Sun Devils were pretty satisfied with that, if you read the quotes from the players after Friday night’s win. The USC Trojans gained traction in each round and reached their hoped-for destination today, the automatic NCAA berth. Just think. If WSU had been able to defeat UW last Saturday, the sixth seed would have been next to the Cougars’ name. Oh well. Now it’s a waiting game. Will the NIT call tomorrow? USC’s win couldn’t have hurt. One less Pac-10 team to fight for a West Coast berth. On the link we have the unedited version of our story about that subject that will appear in the S-R tomorrow. Read on.

Gaels make statement with win over Eags

Despite its noble intentions, Eastern Washington’s men’s basketball team did not accomplish what it had hoped to accomplish with a rare second chance to send its seniors out with a victory in their final game fo the 2008-09 college basketball season.

Instead, the Eagles fell to Saint Mary’s 85-65 in Moraga, Calif., on Friday night.  I’ve provided this link to the game story that appeared in Saturday morning’s S-R, along with this link to the game story published by the Contra Costa Times, and this link to the post-game report on EWU’s website.

ASU, USC play for Pac-10 title


Ben Howland and his Bruins are 31-1 in the past four years in the first game of a Pac-10 weekend. They are Thursday warriors. Their Saturday record, however, is not as good. Not even close. So is it a big surprise the Bruins dominate WSU in the first round of the Pac-10 Tournament, then turn around and lose to a USC team they should beat? If USC can defeat Arizona State today, the Trojans are headed to the NCAA Tournament, and help the Cougars in their NIT bid. Read on.

Morrison, Part II

Here’s the second part of the L.A. Times bloggers’ interview with ex-Zag Adam Morrison.

Rogers eliminated

Rogers came up short against Foster. Keep reading for the unedited game story.

UCLA loss, the day after


Given the stakes last night, it is a little surprising how Washington State played in the first 10 minutes of the game. Even coach Tony Bennett admitted to being disappointed. And we have some thoughts on that, along with links and more comments from the principle players. Read on.

Vandals bow out quickly at WAC tourney

Well, it didn’t take long for Idaho’s WAC tournament title hopes to fizzle in Reno. Louisiana Tech shooters sizzled from outside, especially in the first half, and the Bulldogs downed the Vandals 70-62 in the quarterfinals of the tourney.

You can read the report we had in this morning’s S-R here. And for the Idaho media relations release, click here.

La Tech will face Nevada in the semis, while Utah State and New Mexico State will hook up as well.

UCLA out-toughs WSU


Tony Bennett saw it in simple black and white. “I thought we got out-toughed today, I’ll be honest with you,” he said in the Staples Center hallway after UCLA’s 64-53 defeat of Washington State. “In a game we needed to play, how we needed to play didn’t show itself until the end.” The Cougars couldn’t hit a shot early, couldn’t handle UCLA’s pressure until it was too late and fell in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 Tournament. Now they’ll wait until late Sunday to see who they might play in the NIT, or whatever tournament they end up in. Read on for the long version of our story.

WSU falls to UCLA, 64-53


The regular season is now officially over. It remains to be seen what will transpire the next few days. Will the Cougars get an NIT invite? Will they be headed to a different tournament? And one wonders how much the late rally will help their cause. Aron Baynes paced WSU with 22 points and eight rebounds. The Bruins had three players in double figures, with Darren Collison leading with 15. We’ll be back in about an hour.

WSU trails UCLA, 33-21 at half


Over the past few weeks, Washington State has avoided what has been its Achilles’ heel all season, the long scoring drought. Well, it came back with a vengeance in the first half Thursday. Over almost 7 minutes early on the Cougars missed 12 consecutive shots. And UCLA took advantage, turning many of the misses into fast-break baskets and a 5-4 deficit into a 25-5 lead. At first, the misses were the result of just missing open looks. As the streak lengthened, it was because UCLA was taking WSU out of its offense, more precisely, speeding up the WSU offense. The Cougars got into the get-it-back-quick mode and that hasn’t worked ever. Finally, the tide shifted, with UCLA’s subs getting too quick offensively and WSU patient enough to get good looks. Slowly, and I mean that literally, the Cougars clawed back into it. Twice, WSU was within 11 and had chances to cut it further. But it didn’t. Aron Baynes leads the Cougars with nine while Josh Shipp has eight for UCLA. We’ll be back.

Shadle girls win, semi moved to 7

They just announced Shadle park’s semifinal game in the girls tournament has been moved to 7 p.m. because of a conflict for Meadowdale boys and girls.

The Highlanders are in the semifinals courtesy of a 52-39 win over Prairie. Keep reading for my unedited story that will appear in Frida’s paper.


Experience abounds in Shock’s training camp

The Spokane Shock opened training camp earlier this week in preparation for their upcoming arenafootball2 league season.

Coach Adam Shackleford has plenty of returning players on hand, mainly because of the Arena Football League’s decision to suspend play for the 2009 season.  And he also claims to have the most talented group of rookies he has seen since first becoming involved in the af2.

You can read an S-R story on the opening day of camp here, and access a story on former Eastern Washington standout Matt Alfred and his attempt to make the Shock’s roster here.


Eagles hope to make most of extra game

Eastern Washington will close its 2008-9 men’s basketball season — again — when it faces Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, Calif.

You can read an unedited version fo the game advance that will appear in Friday morning’s S-R below, and you can read the game notes supplied by EWU’s sports information department here.

And feel free to leave your thoughts on Friday night’s game. Do the Eags have a shot?  Did Saint Mary’s make a big mistake in scheduling this game?  And how would you, as a college basketball player, react to playing such a game after thinking your season had ended almost two weeks earlier?


Bruins and their challenges to WSU


Some questions for you. Is there a hotter team on the West Coast than Washington State. Is this a make-or-break game for said Cougars? What do they need to do to make a win happen? We’re going to attempt to answer the final question. Read on.

• UPDATE: The winner of the WSU/UCLA game will face USC in Friday’s late semifinal. The Trojans held off Cal, 79-75, behind the 21 points and 16 rebounds of Taj Gibson. After trailing by 18 in the first half, the Bears tied it at 75 with less than 20 seconds left. But Daniel Hackett was fouled with 3.2 seconds left and hit both free throws an the Trojans survived. USC had an almost-unbelievable 53-27 rebound edge.

Short-handed Pirates win

Rogers did more with less on Thursday, keeping its season alive despite behind short-handed, with a hard-fought grinder with Capital.

Keep reading for the unedited story that will appear in tomorrow’s paper, combined with the Shadle boys.


Who is Therone Tillett?

Rogers advances in the State 3A tournament with double digit efforts by Jesse Vaughan (22 points), Pat McCabe (13) and Dillon Franklin (12). But the guy tough when the Pirates began to pull away in the second half and in particular down the stretch was Therone Tillett. He played nary a varsity game until being rostered for post-season and scoring a basket against Mt. Spokane in district prior to state in today’s 68-59 win over Capital to remain alive for a trophy, Tillett scored nine points, including a 3-pointer, 4-for-4 from the free throw line with a couple assists and a steal. Heckuvan addition to the roster.

Dave Trimmer will have more.

How WSU’s chances are shaping up


Arizona State’s 68-58 win over Arizona in today’s first Pac-10 tourney game doesn’t bode well for WSU and its NIT chances. There seems little possibility the Wildcats will continue their 24-year NCAA run, unless the selection committee really values their early season wins over Kansas and Gonzaga. The last few weeks have been a killer for UA. For more thoughts on the NIT and WSU, read on.

UPDATE: The Huskies moved on to the semifinals against ASU by pulling away from Stanford in the second half and winning 85-73. Jon Brockman led the way with 20.

Morrison Q & A

Ex-Zag Adam Morrison, trying to fit in with his new team in Los Angeles, sat down for a Q & A with the Los Angeles Times’ Lakers’ bloggers. Read more here

Everyone has an opinion — on Mark Few’s future, on Gonzaga’s NCAA potential. More on those topics from and

Shadle boys eliminated

Talk about one that got away, the Shadle Park boys basketball team had its season end when Lakes rallied for an overtime win.

Anthony Brown had an outstanding game but his miscues contributed to the Highlanders’ demise.

Read on for the unedited version of the story that will be in Friday’s paper.

Oregon, the day after


There was a large Cougar contingent in the Staples Center last night, easily the loudest of the four schools that were playing on the opening night of the Pac-10’s tournament. Or maybe they just had more to cheer about. Well Wednesday’s over. And Thursday’s upon WSU. With it comes UCLA. In Los Angeles. And seeking revenge. Read on.

One down for WSU


It’s late, so we’re just going to post the long version of our story that will appear in tomorrow’s S-R. Read on.

Quick review

Flipping between courts, it’s hard to see enough of every game at the State 3A basketball tournaments but I’ll throw some observations at you from the Tacoma Dome if you’ll click on the link below.

WSU moves on with 62-40 win over Oregon


The same formula, the same result. Washington State controlled the Oregon Ducks from the opening tip and moved on in the Pac-10 Tournament. The one difference tonight: A much heavier dose of Aron Baynes inside. The 6-foot-10 Aussie attacked the basket with enthusiasm, dunking a couple times but also using his right-handed hook for 20 points. The Cougars led by 12 at half, built it to more than two dozen and repelled every Oregon attack. We’ll be back in about an hour with our game story.

Shadle girls coast

Sorry it took so long to get this story to you. The girls court was running 70 minutes late by the time Shadle Park tipped off. Fortunately at halftime the game was decided but before the end I had to move to the boys court for the Rogers game. Then, of course, I had two stories to write, but, better late than never, click below for my unedited Shadle park girls story.

Rogers comes up short

The magic run ended for the Rogers boys basketball team. Click below for my unedited game story, which will be combined with the Shadle Park boys story in Thursday’s paper.

WSU has 34-22 lead at half


Once again Washington State came roaring out of the locker room against Oregon. But this time the Ducks didn’t quit. If anything, they came out playing harder when they fell behind 22-9. A 7-0 run keyed by Tajuan Porter cut the lead, but the Cougars regrouped. And guess what, it was the WSU defense that ignited a 10-0 spurt from WSU. In the stretch Washington State forced four turnovers and built a 16-point lead. Only some sloppy play and a 3-pointer by Porter (he has 11 points) as time ran out allowed Oregon to cut it to 12 and, for the first time this season, score more than 20 points in a first half. Aron Baynes leads WSU with 14 points, including a 15-foot jumper in the final minutes. We’ll be back.

WSU ready for Oregon; Stanford wins


This post will serve two purposes. We’ll give you our thoughts on the Oregon game and we’ll summarize the night’s first game, won by Stanford 62-54 with a strong second half. Read on.

State 3A: No upset in Tacoma

They call it the “Egg McMuffin” game, the 9 a.m. state opener where people barely have the sleep rubbed from their eyes. Franklin, the No. 1 ranked team in state (in any classification most likely) is wide awake. Dave Trimmer called from Tacoma to say Shadle Park trailed by some 30 points at half and the score was 64-32 in the third quarter at the time. So it’s consolation for the Highlanders who have discovered that 3A is no bargain after nearly placing in 4A a year ago.

Here’s Dave’s story:

Shadle Park missed its wakeup call, losing to top-ranked Franklin 67-42.

“We had some opportunities early to keep the game in check and we didn’t convert,” Highlanders’ coach Tim Gaebe said. “That would have helped our confidence. They’re good and we panicked.”

Shadle Park (20-6) plays Lakes (16-8), an 87-75 loser to Seattle Prep, in a loser-out game at 9 a.m. today in a loser-out game.

Any one of these is all you need to know.

The Highlanders blew a layup on their first possession.

The Quakers (25-1) scored the first nine points of the game.

It was 14-4 after one quarter, 42-15 at the half.

Vonchae Richardson, who only missed two shots and hit six of seven 3-pointers, had 20 points.

Shadle Park shot 21 percent, Franklin 57.7.

All that while holding Louisville-bound Peyton Siva, a 6-foot-1 guard, to three free throws.

“I was aware of how quick they are, how up into you (defensively) they are,” Gaebe said. “We knew Richardson and Siva were the guys. We didn’t get Richardson checked. Without those 3’s we weren’t that bad.”

The Highlanders finished at 31.7 percent, just 1 of 14 from 3-point range. Anthony Brown, who is headed to Washington State, hit the 3 but he was only 4 of 13 from the field for 16 points.

Only two other players had two baskets and just one finished with six points.

“Again, it’s about confidence,” Gaebe said. “If we had knocked down some of those shots inside maybe we would have been able to go toe-to-toe with them.”

Richardson finished with 24 points, Siva 10, half coming from the foul line and Eastern Washington signee Chris Holmes, a 6-3 wing, had nine points on four of six shooting, and a game-high seven rebounds.


This means that Rogers, which lost six of seven games before winning three and the eastern region and Shadle Park girls are the remaining hopes for the GSL at the tournament.

WSU helps kick off Pac-10 tourney


Sitting near an electrical plug, trying to finish off a bagel in SeaTac, waiting for the connection to LA. But we have a little time to update the links available this morning on the opening of the Pac-10 Tournament. Read on.

Vandals gird for WAC tourney

These are heady days for the Vandal men’s basketball team. After having bottom-of-the-barrel expectations for this season, Idaho starts the postseason as the No. 3 seed in the WAC tournament. First up: Louisana Tech at 8:30 p.m. Thursday.

Click below for an early version of my preview.

By the way, Fresno State upended Hawaii 62-58 in the play-in game Tuesday. The Bulldogs will face top-seeded Utah State on Thursday.

Will WSU be able to impose its will?


We have the unedited version of our advance for tomorrow’s S-R on the link. It centers round the matchup Thursday night with Oregon. Read on.

A few links

I have a little time at the Las Vegas Airport, enough to put up a couple links of interest.

Here’s John Blanchette’s take on the title game. More in the San Francisco Chronicle, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Contra Costa Times and the Seattle Times.

UPDATE: Check out Chris Anderson’s photos from the men’s and women’s titloe games here.

I’m not big on these, but’s latest bracketology has GU as a four seed playing No. 13 Northern Iowa in Boise.

Where will WSU be next week?


A short post this morning, not because we don’t have time, but because there isn’t much to link. But we do have a few, including a couple concerning the NIT. Read on.

GU earns 11th straight NCAA trip

Back with the game story from Gonzaga’s 83-58 win over Saint Mary’s on Monday. Like Sunday’s victory over Santa Clara, Gonzaga was stellar on both ends of the court.

My unedited game story is below.


Gonzaga routs Gaels for WCC crown

The Gonzaga Bulldogs added the West Coast Conference Tournament title to their regular-season championship.

Six Bulldogs scored in double figures in GU’s 83-58 victory over Saint Mary’s on Monday. The 12th-ranked Bulldogs never trailed, led by 13 at half and by 20 with 11 minutes left.

More in about two hours.

Zags lead 38-25 at halftime

It wasn’t pretty, but it was effective.

Gonzaga grabbed a 38-25 halftime lead over Saint Mary’s in the WCC championship game Monday. The Bulldogs didn’t shoot particularly well (14 of 33), gave up 10 offensive rebounds and had several stretches of generally ragged play.

Still, they generated enough offense (Micah Downs 10 points, Matt Bouldin seven points and four assists, and 12 points from reserves Demetri Goodson and Steven Gray) to build a comfortable lead. Downs also had 10 rebounds.

The Gaels had their own issues. They were a frigid 8 of 33 from the field and just 1 of 7 on 3-pointers. They were assessed a technical foul for dunking in pre-game warmups and trailed 1-0 before the opening tip off after Bouldin made 1 of 2 free throws.

Patty Mills was 1 of 10 and scored three points. Diamon Simpson scored eight points, most created by his four offensive rebounds.

More later.  

WSU’s trio honored by Pac-10


We’re concentrating on the All-Pac-10 teams today and will turn our eyes toward Oregon and the Pac-10 Tournament tomorrow. We talked with Taylor Rochestie, DeAngelo Casto and Klay Thompson about their selections, though we let them talk about their teammates. I will relate one thing that didn’t make the story – the unedited version is on the link – and that has to do with Casto. The 6-foot-8 forward from Spokane was surprised to learn he made the all-freshman team asking “How did that happen?” Well, his teammates had the answer. “I could tell this summer he had a lot of ability,” Thompson said. “He hadn’t even touched a weight before and he was that strong.” Read on.

Gonzaga holds off San Diego in title game

Back with the game story from Gonzaga’s hard-fought 66-55 victory over San Diego in the WCC women’s tournament championship game. The unedited version is below.


Bulldogs back in the NCAA Tourney

Gonzaga put five players in double figures, including reserve forward Kelly Bowen’s 15 points and a double-double by conference player of the year Courtney Vandersloot, to outlast sixth-seeded San Diego 66-55 and win the WCC Tournament championship Monday.

The Bulldogs added the tournament title to their regular-season crown. They’ll be making their second trip to the NCAA Tournament in three years.

Heather Bowman scored a team-high 16 points, Janelle Bekkering 14, Vivian Frieson 11 and Vandersloot 10. Vandersloot also had 10 assists.

More later.

Zags lead 32-28 at half

The Gonzaga women shot just 38 percent, but the Bulldogs used a 7-0 run in the closing minutes to take a 32-28 halftime lead over San Diego in the WCC Tournament championship on Monday at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.

Courtney Vandersloot and Heather Bowman each had eight points and backup forward Kelly Bowen added seven points and four boards. Five of Bowen’s points came in the 7-0 run.

San Diego was led by Kiva Herman’s 11 points. The sixth-seeded Toreros made 41.4 percent from the floor.

More later.

Zags up to 12th in polls

A quick post with the Gonzaga women’s game vs. San Diego for the WCC Tournament title about to tip off.

The GU men, who play No. 2 Saint Mary’s at 6 tonight, moved up a couple spots to No. 12 in the A.P. and ESPN/USA Today rankings. More here.

Find John Blanchette’s column on last night’s Gonzaga men’s game here.

WSU’s Rochestie first-team All-Pac-10


The Pac-10 awards are out (you can see the whole team here) and there are some surprises. Not among the bigger awards, with ASU’s James Harden as player of the year and UW’s Lorenzo Romar as the coach, but among the 10-man first team – and the honorable mention. On the plus side for WSU is Taylor Rochestie being named to the first team. The senior guard leads the Cougars in scoring and had that memorable game in Pauley Pavilion a couple of weeks ago. On the minus side, Aron Baynes, an honorable mention selection last year, didn’t earn that honor in this one. On the plus side, two WSU players – Klay Thompson, who was a lock, and DeAngelo Casto, a surprise – were named to the six-player All-Freshman team. On the minus, no Cougar earned all-defensive recognition, this from a team that led the conference in defense. The WSU pack must be exceptionally strong this season. We’ll have more later.

WSU has some questions this week


Last year at this time, we were wondering how many Cougars would make the Pac-10 first team (the answer: none), if WSU could get to Pac-10 tourney finals (the answer: no) and what seed WSU would get in the NCAA Tournament (the answer: four). This year there are different questions, but just as many. And they’ll start being answered today, when the Pac-10 reveals its awards. Will any Cougar be honored (the guess: yes, Klay Thompson on the all-freshman team and Taylor Rochestie somewhere on the All-Pac-10 team)? Read on for a couple links and some thoughts.

Pargo leads GU into WCC championship

Back with the game story from Gonzaga’s convincing 94-59 win over Santa Clara. The unedited version is below.

UPDATE: No. 2 Saint Mary’s pulled away late for a 71-61 victory over No. 3 Portland. Patty Mills’ shot was a little rusty but the rest of his game looked pretty sharp, considering he was coming off a five-week absence due to a broken right hand.


Bulldogs leave no doubt

Gonzaga’s semifinal date with Santa Clara in the WCC Tournament turned into more of a tuneup.

The Bulldogs dominated from the outset, leading by 21 at half and by as many as 40 in the second half en route to a 94-59 victory over the Broncos on Sunday at the Orleans Arena.

Austin Daye poured in a career-high 28 points. Jeremy Pargo had 16 points, Micah Downs 13, Steven Gray 12 and Matt Bouldin 11 as the Bulldogs shot 56 percent from the field.

Game story in about two hours. 


Zags up by 21 at half

Gonzaga finished off the first half by scoring 13 of the last 14 points to open up a 48-27 lead over Santa Clara at the break.

The Zags took the lead for good on Austin Daye’s two free throws with 15:47 left. The margin  eventually grew to 10 on Steven Gray’s two free throws. Gonzaga led 35-26 when Daye connected on a 14-foot baseline jumper with 3:08 remaining, triggering 13 consecutive points. Jeremy Pargo, who had a big half with 14 points, tipped a loose ball away from the Broncos and chased it down in the corner. His 3-pointer made it 40-26 and he added another 3-pointer  seconds later.

Matt Bouldin’s 3-pointer and another Daye jumper hiked GU’s lead to 48-26 before John Bryant made one of two free throws with 24.4 seconds left.

Pargo made 5 of 6 shots en route to 14 points. Daye had 13 points and Micah Downs added eight. The Zags had a big edge at the free-throw line, making 11 of 13 to Santa Clara’s 4 of 7.

Kevin Foster led Santa Clara with 12 points. Bryant, the conference player of the year, had three points and five rebounds.


GU women advance to WCC finals

Gonzaga’s women built a big first-half lead and held off several Loyola Marymount rallies to post a 74-63 win. The top-seeded Zags will meet No. 6 San Diego, which upset No. 2 Portland 74-64.

Read on for an unedited game story that will run in Sunday’s S-R. Check back later for a halftime update and the game story from the GU men’s semifinal game.

Meanwhile, here’s a column by John Blanchette on the WCC staging its tournaments in Las Vegas.


UI’s Hopson a WAC first-teamer

Well, one Idaho basketball coach picked up the award they deserved Sunday. And it wasn’t Don Verlin. Jon Newlee, the leader of the Vandal women, was named Coach of the Year. But Verlin, the first-year UI men’s coach lost out to Utah State boss Stew Morrill, his longtime mentor.

The good news for the Vandals: Point guard Mac Hopson was a first-team selection, joining Luke Babbitt and Armon Johnson from Nevada, USU’s Gary Wilkinson and New Mexico State’s Jahmar Young. You can read the Idaho release here and the WAC release here.

UW loss, the day after


Honestly, after an 18-hour Saturday, fighting snow on I-5 and turbulence on two bumpy flights across the Cascades, I don’t know why I’m awake at this ungodly hour of 6:45 a.m. Oops, 7:45 – thanks Mr. Daylight Saving Guy. Why am I typing this post? Really, I should be sleeping. But no, I’m here at the computer, watching it snow outside – is it really spring forward? – and wondering how the drive to Pullman will be this evening. Oh well, no rest for the wicked. Let’s get to our usual morning-after post. Then we’ll take two more Excedrin – and no, I don’t get a promo fee for that. Just an ulcer. Read on.

Vandals pull out 3rd in WAC

To put it simply, the Idaho Vandals looked like they had no business winning for most of Saturday night. Don Verlin said he thought they were going to lose, and most of the 2,679 at the Cowan Spectrum probably felt the same way.

But the Vandals pulled out a 59-56 win over Fresno State — thanks to Mac Hopson’s 20 points and another clutch 3-pointer from Trevor Morris. Hard as it is to believe, Idaho will go into next week’s WAC tournament as the No. 3 seed. Yep, the same program that had no direction for much of this decade finished in the top three — which makes Verlin a lock to win WAC Coach of the Year.

Read on for my unedited game story that will appear in tomorrow’s S-R.

Zags, Broncos part III

Back with an expanded look at the Gonzaga-Santa Clara matchup in the semifinals of the WCC Tournament and more on John Bryant’s record-smashing performance against San Diego on Saturday.

More below. (You’ll note near the bottom of the unedited version below that Portland will face Saint Mary’s in the other semifinal. As I type this, the Pilots are up 54-24 with 10 minutes left).

Broncos advance to semifinals vs. GU

No. 1-seeded Gonzaga will take on No. 4 Santa Clara, which eliminated San Diego 80-69 on Saturday night at the Orleans Arena, in the semifinals of the WCC Tournament on Sunday night. Tip-off is at 6:30.

No. 2 Saint Mary’s awaits the winner of Saturday night’s No. 3 Portland-No. 6 Pepperdine contest, which starts in about 30 minutes, in the other semi.

The Broncos (16-16) opened up a 38-23 halftime lead on the fifth-seeded Toreros. John Bryant had 11 points and 17 rebounds in the first half. Kevin Foster chipped in three 3-pointers and 12 points.

San Diego (16-16) closed within seven early in the second half, but Marc Trasolini’s three-point play restored a 10-point edge. The Broncos eventually led by as many as 20 as the Toreros sputtered on offense.

Bryant finished with 24 points and 27 rebounds. Foster added 21 points.

The top-seeded Gonzaga women’s team will meet No. 4 Loyola Marymount in the semifinals at noon Sunday. Renahy Young scored 23 points and Cassady Moore added 15 points and eight rebounds to help the Lions past No. 8 Santa Clara 71-60.

More later.


UW handles WSU, wins Pac-10 title


We said before the game Washington State had to get at least close to a draw on the boards to have a shot. Well, the Cougars didn’t, getting out-rebounded by 12. But they still had a shot coming down the stretch, and that tells a lot about how much this team has improved the past few weeks. With a lot going against them, the Cougars played the Pac-10 champions down to the wire on their home court. Bodes well for the postseason, a postseason that is all but assured and will be, I’m thinking, if they defeat the Oregon Ducks for a third time this year Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. The winner will face UCLA at 8:30 Thursday. Read on for the unedited version of my game story.

Extra game worth $40,000 to EWU

Eastern Washington’s athletic director Bill Chaves said the Eagles will get a monetary guarantee of $40,000 for traveling down to Moraga, Calif., to play Saint Mary’s College on Friday.

Sorry I didn’t post this earlier as I had mentioned, but State B basketball has been taking up much of my time of late.  So here’s a link to the story I wrote for Saturday morning’s S-R about the late-season game. And here’s the link to story Saint Mary’s posted on its website, complete with comments from Gaels coach Randy Bennett.


UW wins Pac-10 title at WSU’s expense


Just a quick post because we have to get to the post-game interviews. The Cougars had their opportunities, which is an improvement over earlier in the season. Back then, playing without Klay Thompson in the second half, with an amped crowd that wanted a Pac-10 title solo, and struggling to get shots against a UW defense that was so passive the Huskies didn’t pick up a foul in the second half until there were 8 minutes, 26 seconds left, the Cougars would have been blown out. That didn’t happen Saturday. What did happen, though, is UW exposed the Cougars’ lack of depth. Without Thompson and Marcus Capers, also saddled with foul trouble, there were stretches in the second half WSU had to have Nik Koprivica bring the ball up. Taylor Rochestie kept WSU in the game on the offensive end, finishing with 23 points. The Cougar defense did the rest, refusing to yield despite UW’s repeated onslaughts until after the final media time out with 3:55 left. But in the end UW had too many second-chance points, too many points off turnovers – though WSU had just 10 – and too much firepower for WSU (three players in double figures, including 16 for Quincy Pondexter). We’ll be back in about two hours with our game story. Until then …

UW leads 30-25 at the half


It is Senior Day at UW, with Jon Brockman, Justin Dentmon and Artem Wallace honored before tipoff. Brockman is one of the top bigs to ever wear Husky purple, but this year’s Pac-10 champions are dependent on their guards. And they are pesky, especially when they are allowed to grab the opponent’s arm, which happened early in the first half. It wasn’t called and that’s part of the reason the officials let this game get away from them for a while. The play midway through the first half was way too physical, leading to a slew of turnovers and out-of-control shots. But the whistles began to blow later in the half, with UW’s Venoy Overton the guy who paid the price, with three fouls in a 2-minute period. Marcus Capers matched him, though his third was a no-brainer, 90-feet from the Cougar defensive end. That came in the middle of a close-out-the-first-half 5-0 run that gave UW its halftime lead. In that stretch the Huskies had five offensive rebounds and lead in the boards 25-15. Quincy Pondexter led Washington with 10 points, though Brockman has nine rebounds, including five on the offensive end. Aron Baynes has 11 and six, but Klay Thompson hasn’t scored since hitting a 15-foot jumper less than a minute into the game. The Cougars are 0-3 from beyond the arc, UW is 1-7. We’ll be back at the end with your chance to comment. Until then …

State Day 4: Gonzaga-Inglemoor

Bullpups are facing a long and lanky sweet shooting team from Seattle that scores five deep. 6-6 player Todd Campbell on wing, 6-8 Paul Jorg in post and a 6-4 wing as well. Team was 10-for 16 from the field at one point, operating out of a 1-3-1 offense that spread the court. But Prep, whose David Stockton hit three 3-pointers, rallied from a 12-7 first-quarter deficit to lead 23-19.

Inglemoor then scored 10 points in the final 4 minutes of the half to go from 27-24 behind to 29-27 ahead.

3 Q - foul troubles and subbing puts four reserves on floor with Travis Long and Inglemoor’s well disciplined crew takes advantage for a 43-38 lead this period. Bullpups need some magic.

4Q - They find some in Sean Fischer who scores 8 points in 50 seconds for a 48-45 lead. A couple ill advised shots and foul on a 3-point try ties it, Stockton answers with a 3-pointer, 

Prep leads 53-50 with 1:32 remaining and the ball. It’s a grinder.

56-55 with 20 seconds left. Nicholas put team of 55-50, but Prep allows a 3-pointer.

57-57 with 5 seconds left. Nicholas and Stockton each 1-2 from the line and Inglemoor scores. The game tyer on a put back over the top by 6-6 Todd Campbell in the scrum for a reb of missed layin. Fischer shot off front rim as time expires OT (second today in consolation games).

OT - Fischer opens with hist 5th 3-pointer of half and great spin layin by Long makes it 62-57. Currently 64-61 with 1:08 left.

14,5 seconds, Prep’s hit 8 for 10 from line for 70-64 lead and wins  72-62 (intentional foul for 1 free throw and basket by Stockton ends it.

Earlier, LC blew most of a 17 point lead, but was bailed out by Daisy Burke who made 6 of her 20 points down the stretch to bail out her tem for a 60-55 win. 

WSU must rebound without Harmeling


One. That’s the number of Pac-10 games Washington State has won when they’ve been outrebounded. The first Stanford game. Otherwise, against Cal twice, against USC in LA and, of course, the beating on the boards that was the Cougars first game against UW, the Cougars lost the boards and the game. The 36-20 UW margin was by far – USC by 12 was the next biggest margin – the worst performance on the glass WSU has endured this season. So obviously Washington State has to at least hold its own on the boards today. They’ll have to do it without Daven Harmeling, who injured his right shoulder at the end of practice Thursday and won’t play today. The shoulder sprain makes him day-to-day. It’s the same shoulder that’s been bothering him all season but not the one that cost him his sophomore season. For other thoughts about the showdown at BofA – or Hec Ed if you prefer – read on.

WSU hopes not to get snowed under at UW


We are in Seattle, where the snow level is expected to plummet this afternoon and evening, which is always fun over here. Ah, well. As long as it’s warm in Hec Ed – it will be, in more ways than one – and the electricity stays on, we’ll be able to give you the coverage you deserve. For what’s being said about today’s basketball game – there is only one Apple Cup in my mind and it’s played outdoors – read on.

Sandpoint falls

The Sandpoint boys basketball team ran out of magic in the second half of its 4A state semifinal Friday.

Priest River also stumbled in a 3A semifinal.

Click the tab below to read my unedited game story.

WSU faces UW with lot on line


There’s not just a lot, but a heck of a lot riding on Saturday’s game with UW for Washington State – and, for UW as well. Our advance covers all of it. For the unedited version, read on.

State 4A boys: Fischer jump starts Prep

In an ugly first half, Gonzaga Prep shot just 23 percent from the field, but Curtis was little better. A lob over top cross court to Travis Long for flying layin puts Bullpups up 19-17 at half.

Bullpups can’t generate movement or offense and Ryan Nicholas has been in and out due to a cut (blood time in wrestling parlance). Subs Parker Kelly and Chris Sarbaugh, however, have helped and Josh Kaufmann has made a couple free throws.

3Q - Sean Fischer where you been? Nine points this period helps Bullpups take 36-28 lead 

4Q - Prep ahead 48-36 3 min left. Three straight free throw misses giving Curtis a chance. 48-41 with 1:33 left. 17 sec 54-43 (Fischer hits his ft for most part)

 final: 54-43, first trophy since 1991

Prep plays Inglemoor for fourth and seventh, 1:30 p.m.

Lewis and Clark girls play Bellarmine Prep for fourth and eighth 11:30 a.m.



Surprise! EWU men to extend 2008-09 basketball season

I just got off the phone with Eastern Washington’s head men’s basketball coach Kirk Earlywine, who called to let me know the story I wrote following the Eagles’ 68-62 overtime loss to Portland State in last Saturday’s regular-season final in Cheney was not factually correct.

In the game story I filed, I noted how the four seniors making their final appearance at Reese Court had succeeded in extending their season — but only for five minutes, which was how long it took to play the extra period.

It turns out, that wasn’t the case.

Read on.


State 4A: Rehash of night before

When a basketball game gets started an hour late and newspaper deadlines are just an hour away it makes writing a game story difficult. Don’t know if I was able to articulate the drama of last night’s Gonzaga Prep-Decatur game. It was a grinder. Unfortunately for the Bullpups, they came up just short, 48-44 in overtime. Here is a recap of what I wrote and things I may have missed.


Trying to make sense of Pac-10’s night

COUGARS • UPDATED: 11:35 A.M.; 12:30 P.M.

Good morning. It’s clear and cold in Pullman though I understand it’s warmer in Seattle, where WSU will face the Huskies tomorrow. Last night’s Pac-10 results figured out a couple things in the standings: Cal will finish third, ASU fourth, Stanford ninth and Oregon 10th. Other than that, it’s up in the air. We have links for you this morning, so read on.

UPDATE 2: Sorry to do this to everyone, but I just received a call with a revised - and official - interpretation of the three-way tiebreaker from the Pac-10. The conference’s official word is, in the case of the USC, UA and WSU ending up in three-way tie (all winning Saturday), USC would finish fifth due to its 3-1 record in games between the teams. Then UA and WSU’s tie would be settled under the rules of the two-team tiebreaker. That means, because both would have defeated UW and UCLA once and lost both to Cal, WSU’s two wins over ASU (UA lost twice to the Sun Devils) would break the tie in WSU’s favor and the Cougars would be sixth. THIS IS FROM THE PAC-10 OFFICE as relayed by WSU basketball SID Jessica Schmick. All other ties would be broken as described below …

UPDATE 1 (EDITED): For a three-way tie at 9-9 between USC, UA and WSU, see paragraph above. If the Cougars win and either USC or UA lose, the Cougars are sixth in a head-to-head tie with USC, fifth if its UA. Also, if UA and WSU both lose and USC wins, USC is fifth, Arizona sixth and WSU seventh. And, of course, with those teams playing after the WSU-UW game, nothing will be known for sure until about 7:30 tomorrow night. If UA, USC and WSU were to all lose, UA would finish fifth, Oregon State sixth, USC seventh and WSU eighth. If USC and WSU lose, OSU is sixth, USC seventh and WSU eighth.

Vandals keep rolling at home

The Vandals won for the 11th time at home Thursday — not that anyone on the Palouse seems to be taking notice. Just 1,803 fans showed up to watch Idaho dispatch Louisiana Tech 66-58 and inch up the WAC standings.

Keep reading for my unedited game story from wintry Moscow. One note that not’s included in the game story: Idaho outrebounded La Tech 37-27, a pretty remarkable feat for the WAC’s worst rebounding team. In coach Don Verlin’s words, “As I told this team, we’re starting to show some toughness. And if we’ll show some toughness and we’ll rebound the basketball, we can make some noise in the WAC tournament. We’re starting to improve on our biggest weakness, and that’s what I’m so happy about.”

State 4A day 2: Gonzaga Prep

First quarter of GP-Garfield is tied 11-11 - Ryan Nicholas took up where he left off with 9 of 11. Game’s physical as might be expected but closer to the vest than last night. Began at 9:30 p.m. Bulldogs extended defense bothers Bullpups. And Tony Wroten pretty special, but Prep hangs tough.

2nd quarter - It’s Long vs. Wroten defensively. Bullpups can’t get outside look until Sean Fischer buries shot from left side with 44 seconds left and 21-20 lead. Stockton goes down lane for another basket :11, but Wroten answers in kind and barrells over Long, but gets block call, 02. Prep up 23-21 at half.

 3rd quarter - As gritty as the first two. Prep builds a 30-24 lead early, but Wroton ties it. Then Travis Long makes a strong move baseline for a basket and Nicholas hauls down a rebound in traffic and scores. 34-30 Prep after three.

4th quarter - Wroten’s first outside shot, a 3-pointer with 3:36 left ties the game at 36. He scores again on the second of two Prep turnovers for a 40-36 lead with 2:14 to go. Looks bleak, but Nicholas scores with 16 seconds left and it goes to OT


OT - DeAndre Taylor’s first basket puts the Bulldogs up. Ryan Long’s rebound ties it. But Wroten goes inside for a 44-42 lead with 1:45 left. The Bullpups miss a shot and Taylr hits two free throw. Prep down by four points with 45 seconds remaining. Nicholas rejected with 28 seconds to go - time’s on Garfield’s side.

Final score: Garfield 48, G-Prep 44. Glenn Brooks’ two FTs with 6 seconds left iced the win.

Sandpoint boys victorious

The Sandpoint boys basketball team did something Thursday it hasn’t done in 43 years.

Click the tab below to read my unedited game story.

Post Falls boys hold on

The Post Falls High boys basketball team made the biggest plays when it mattered most Thursday in the State 5A tournament.

Click the tab below to read my unedited game story.

Top-seeded Zags await tourney opener

I filed a short advance of the WCC Tournament, which opens Friday in Las Vegas, that will run in tomorrow’s S-R. You can read the unedited version below.


Rochestie practices with WSU

COUGARS • UPDATED: 9:50 P.M., 8 A.M.

Just a quick post tonight. Another day, more economic bad news. But here on SportsLink, we’ve got our head in the sand. Everything’s coming up roses as far as we can see. For some good news (though I gave it away in the headline), read on.

UPDATE: After Cal’s win at Arizona, UCLA’s victory over Oregon State and USC’s win at home over Oregon, the Pac-10 tournament seeding has cleared up - for Washington State. As far as I can tell, I put up some incorrect information last night in the case of a three-way tie with USC and UA (presuming all three win Saturday). I read the Pac-10 multiple team tiebreaker rule one way (2a), as the “results of collective head-to-head-competition” as winnowing the multiple team tie down to two teams and then invoking rule 2b “If at any point the multiple-team tie is reduced to two teams, the two-team tie-breaking procedure will be applied.” Because USC would be 3-1, UA 2-2 and UWSU 1-3 in the three-team tiebreaker, that’s the way the seedings would fall, though I want to double-check that today. Of course, if WSU wins and either USC or Arizona loses, then it goes to the two-team tiebreaker. As we said, WSU wins that tiebreaker over UA (due to ASU wins) but loses to USC (0-2 against the Trojans). Of course, WSU could lose to the Huskies. If that happens, then there are other possibilities, explained by Dan below.

State 4A: Two winners

Lewis and Clark steam rollered Jackson 62-31 today to remain alive for a girls basketball trophy. Three seniors, Jeneva Anderson, Sarah Kliewer and Emily Travis played roles. Anderson and Travis particularly with 29 points combined and timely defense and rebounding. Youngsters Mary Blevins and Haley Hendricksen combined for 22 of LC’s whopping 66 rebounds.

Also, although there were doubters, Moses Lake came through for a hard-earned 48-44 victory over Auburn-Riverside. Key down the stretch was Kelly Sutherland who missed a couple of free throws with the Chiefs up by two points, but Moses Lake got the ball back and took off a number of seconds in back court before Sutherland buried a jumper with 21 seconds left. Jordan Loera had 21 points and Carly Noyes added 14 and had 10 rebounds. They both came up with big points in the taught contest when A-R made a run. Sutherland scored 12.

Eisenhower boys trailed 29-15 at half, but scored 51 in the second two quarters to win 66-64.

State 4A Day 2: What’s next?

It’s late Thursday morning in Tacoma, Day 2 of the State 4a basketball tournament. Lewis and Clark concludes loser-out games at 2 p.m. against Jackson. Gonzaga Prep boys get the midnight special (8:30 p.m.) against Garfield in the quarterfinals. Today is picture day and in the WIAA’s infinite wisdom, the pictures are taken on court rather, say, than in the Exhibition Hall. That usually sets the games back in time. Expect a later start. Speaking of which, the girls games that usually run late were right on time Wednesday, but the boys ran late yesterday in part to the foul-filled slugfest between Eisenhower and Curtis. So the G-Prep 7 p.m. game and LC 8:30 game overlapped by about a half.

As for Prep’s dandy:

Burgess to enter WCC Hall of Honor

Gonzaga’s Frank Burgess is among the eight former players or coaches who will be inducted into the WCC’s Hall of Honor this weekend. Burgess, a 6-foot-1 guard, led the nation in scoring at 32.4 points per game in 1961. (Burgess is pictured above attending a GU game Feb. 26, 2006.)

More on Burgess and the inaugural Hall of Honor class here.

More honors for Josh Heytvelt, Matt Bouldin and Austin Daye. Read on for that and a few more WCC/GU-related items.


WSU prepares as Pac-10 plays


The Pac-10 gets back at it tonight. Everyone except WSU and Washington, of course. Those two will wait until Saturday afternoon to get back on the court. By then the Huskies will know if they are Pac-10 champs by themselves or if they have to defeat the Cougars to earn that distinction. With UCLA playing the two Oregon schools at home, the guess here is UW will need to win Saturday to avoid sharing the top spot with the Bruins. For more on what’s going on with the Cougars and the conference, read on.

State 4A: Defending champs in trouble

Like Gonzaga Prep, Lewis and Clark’s girls basketball team dug itself a big first half hole. But a third-quarter rally has gone for naught and they trail 47-35 with 4:22 left to play.

the Tigers trailed by 13 points in the first half and were down 31-19 at halftime. A Jeneva Anderson fueled rally cut the lead to 33-31, but following a Federal Way timeout they ran off six points in a row in the final 47 seconds of the quarter and now are on the verge of putting the game away.

Morris, Vandals gear up for final stretch

With just two games left in the regular season, Idaho has a chance to dramatically improve — or hurt — it’s seeding for the WAC tournament in Reno. The Vandals are fifth in the conference right now, with the chance to possibly move up a couple spots with wins over Louisiana Tech and Fresno State this week.

Keep reading for my story on guard Trevor Morris and where the Vandals sit as they near the postseason, plus a few notes items.

State 4A: Gonzaga Prep

Things look bleak for Gonzaga Prep at the outset of their game against Decatur, which started at 7:30 p.m. Outscored 17-2 Prep struggled in first quarter before Sean Fischer hits two 3’s and David Stockton scores near end of period for 17-10 deficit.

From there the Bullpups regrouped, outscored Decatur to take a 31-26 halftime lead.

Nicholas goes wild, 11 points, 48-45 prep after three quarters.

Nicholas hits two FTs, puts G-Prep up 52-48 with 3:55 to play.

Score remains the same, but now 2:47 remain. LC girls close to tipping off vs. Federal Way.

Marcus Gibbs gets away with a major shove on Stockton, gets the steal and layin. Tie at 54. But Nicholas hits two FTs to put G-Prep back on top 56-54 as clock hits 1:00.

Out of a timeout, Terrell Wiliams gets a good look at a 3 but hits iron only. Nicholas rebounds, gets fouled and hits both FTs for a 58-54 lead. 15.8 seconds left.

Another missed 3. Stocton rebounds this one and heads to the line with 7.1 seconds left and a chance to ice things.

FINAL — Gonzaga Prep 60, Decatur 54.

The Bullpups looked poised down the stretch — much like the team that won the GSL title.

Quick stats of note from the final box:

Nicholas 22 points … 7x12 from the field, 8x8 from the line, to go with 6 rebounds.

Stockton had six turnovers maneuvering through the Decatur pressure but also had 13 points, seven boards and three steals.

Tibbs led Decatur with 19 points but was only 2-of-8 from 3-point range. Also had seven assists.

G-Prep held Decatur to 36 percent shooting (18-of-50) and outboarded the Gators 35-31.


WSU’s Thompson defending the best


There are a lot of reasons behind Washington State’s three-game Pac-10 winning streak. The offense has been performing at a much-more efficient level, the defense has tightened up. Marcus Capers has started to exert himself on the defensive end against opponents’ point guards and DeAngelo Casto has continued to improve, bringing his energy on a more consistent basis. But there is one, somewhat-overlooked improvement that has helped the Cougars tighten up their rotation and allowed them to play with more consistency: Klay Thompson’s defense. The freshman from Southern California has been making strides all year, but the light has if not gone on, it’s at least shining brighter. Read on for the story that will appear in tomorrow’s S-R.

Shock to be on SWX, the Peak

Spokane announced its TV/radio lineup for the 2009 season. The Shock will be on KHQ’s SWX and on FM-105.7 (The Peak). More here.

State 4A: Winston does it all

Start of Walla Walla’s state opener sounded like a one-on-one game - Gary Winston 9, Todd Beamer 4. The Blue Devils lead 27-21 at half. Winston, who’s being recruited by area colleges as a junior, has 15 points.

Blue Devils’ Michael Weisner fouls out with 2 minutes, left, they make just 3 of 11 free throws down the stretch but win 54-49 thanks to Winston, 25 points, and the toughness and clutch play of Spencer Hessler (10 rebounds, 3 timely baskets).

Defenseless in Tacoma, Curtis falls behind Eisenhower 22-10 after a quarter and trailed 35-17 with 9 seconds left before scoring on a free throw and turnover cutting it to 35-20 at intermission. It was just the early indication of an impending collapse. Although Ike pushed a six point lead back to 14 in the final quarter, the Cadets blew it, refusing to milk clock, missing free throws and layins, turning the ball over down the stretch and losing 68-65.

 Pasco’s girls couldn’t make a basket, but still led by a basket before breaking away in the final four minutes for a 28-14 halftime advantage over Mt. Tahoma. They ran off 17 straight points to lead 41-19 and went on to an easy win.

State 4A: Day 1 in the Dome

TACOMA - The favored Federal Way boys found themselves behind 8-2 in the first quarter against upstart Redmond, but quickly righted the ship. The Eagles were up 17-10 after a quarter, 37-16 at half and cruised to a 66-36 victory. Like to get up and down the floor, but most of the early scoring came from afar. They’re one of two South Puget Sound league first-day winners already, Kentridge topping Mariner 65-50. Earlier Inglemoor edged Roosevelt 42-40 in a first-round game between KingCo Crown Division teams. May seem to violate the WIAA rule where league teams can’t play each other early, but Roosevelt got here at the expense of the Greater St. Helen’s league in the Vancouver area.

In girls play Moses Lake got off to a good start, 51-38 over South Kitsap. Carley Noyes was 10-13 from the field for 20 points, sophomore Jordan Loera had 16. Auburn-Riverside, back from 3A, whipped Eastlake 48-30 meaning two Wolves are in the loser’s bracket. Traditional power Snohomish was up 33-12 at half over Bellarmine Prep and leads 49-29 with 3 minutes remaining. Final: 53-34.

By the way, get on and you can get access to game broadcasts.

Region 18 tourneys at NIC

The North Idaho College men’s and women’s basketball teams play host to the Region 18 tournaments, beginning Thursday. Here’s a preview.

State tournaments

The Post Falls, Sandpoint, Priest River, St. Maries and Wallace boys basketball teams open play at state Thursday. Here’s a preview of the tournaments.

Idaho: Boys state hoops

Click the tab below to see team-by-team capsules of each team at the state boys basketball tournaments.

Day after USC Upstate

Back with the day after USC Upstate post. GU hammered the visitors 90-40, but the Spartans did take home $70,000, their second biggest payday of the season (Notre Dame forked out $90,000).

Read on for more.


UW is ready for WSU


Well, it seems the Seattle University Redhawks are not yet ready to play with the big guys in Washington after all. OK, that’s not fair. One nonconference game at UW isn’t a true test, but the Huskies did blow them out last night, leading to many television sets in Seattle turning over to the last part of Reaper on the WB. Which would have been an appropriate metaphor for UW’s postseason chances if the injury to Quincy Pondexter was as serious as it initially looked. But Pondexter, who went down hard in the first half and took a long time to get up, returned to play in the second half, suffering from bruised ribs. He looks to be OK. Read on.

GU seniors shine in final home game

Gonzaga’s five seniors — Jeremy Pargo, Josh Heytvelt, Micah Downs, Ira Brown and Andrew Sorenson — went out in style in their home finale. The Bulldogs cruised to a 90-40 win over USC Upstate on Tuesday night in front of 6,000 at the McCarthey Athletic Center.

Read on for my unedited game story that will run in Wednesday’s S-R. (Sorry, let’s try that again!)


State 2B, 1A and 4A begins today

Greetings from Tacoma - third week on the road. It’s the rest of the state versus the Tacoma area schools in the Dome. We’ll find out if last year’s finalist, Federal Way can ascend to the 4A throne vacated by Ferris. Kentridge, Todd Beamer, Curtis, Foss and Decatur make up nearly half of the field and AP Poll media voters’ concensus was that this is where state power lies. Walla Walla (Beamer), Eisenhower (Curtis) and Gonzaga Prep (Decatur) face half of them. Lewis and Clark girls play Federal Way to open their title defense. Both the Bullpups and Tigers play late on Wednesday.

Here’s Doug Pacey’s take on the tournament from the News-Tribune in Tacoma.

I’ll be in touch.

The B’s are in Spokane where Northwest Christian is going for four in a row, Colfax, a former 1A power is hoping to crash the girls title party.  1A is in Yakima where Freeman girls are the lone local representative.

 And it’s West Valley versus Clarkston (in boys) and Pullman (in girls) for 2A state berths at Eastern Washington University on Thursday

Bennett’s thoughts on WSU’s season, postseason


A few things to talk about this evening, though not as much as usual on a Tuesday afternoon. That’s because WSU did not practice today, doing a little lifting and individual work instead. So the players were unavailable. But coach Tony Bennett did meet with the media as usual, and we have some of what he said. Read on.

All kinds of GU stuff

Now that’s a catchy headline. We’ve got a hodgepodge of stuff, from links to Robert Sacre to other Zag-related items. Read on.

More on WCC awards, Sacre

Just filed this notebook for Tuesday’s S-R. The main topics (WCC awards, Robert Sacre’s decision to redshirt) were touched on in earlier posts, but there’s more info below.

Sacre opts to redshirt

Gonzaga reserve center Robert Sacre, who has been sidelined for more than two months after re-injuring his foot, has decided not to try to return to the court this season. He’s eligible for a medical redshirt, so he’ll be a sophomore for the 2009-2010 season.

If Sacre had played in any of GU’s remaining games, he would have lost the opportunity for a medical redshirt.

“I feel it’s the best thing,” said Sacre, a 7-footer who played in five games in November and early December. “I feel good and I want to take the risk and do it, but the best thing for me right now is to redshirt.”

More later.

Bryant wins POY; Bouldin, Heytvelt on WCC first-team

For the first time since 1999, Gonzaga didn’t win at least one of the WCC’s four individual awards. WCC coaches vote on the awards, which were announced Monday afternoon.

Santa Clara senior center John Bryant was named player of the year, snapping Gonzaga’s streak of winning or sharing the award the last eight seasons. Portland’s Eric Reveno was voted coach of the year. Gonzaga’s Mark Few had won or shared the award seven of the last eight years.

Saint Mary’s forward Diamon Simpson was a repeat selection as defensive player of the year. Portland’s T.J. Campbell and Santa Clara’s Kevin Foster shared newcomer of the year.

Gonzaga’s Matt Bouldin and Josh Heytvelt were selected All-WCC first team. Bouldin made the first team in 2008. The rest of the first team included Bryant, Simpson, Portland’s Campbell and Nik Raivio, Saint Mary’s Omar Samhan and Patty Mills, San Diego’s Gyno Pomare and San Francisco’s Dior Lowhorn.

GU’s Austin Daye, Steven Gray and Jeremy Pargo, who was the player of the year in 2008, were honorable mention selections, along with Portland’s Jared Stohl and Robin Smeulders and SCU’s Foster.

The All-Freshman team included Foster and his Broncos’ teammates James Rahon and Marc Trasolini, Pepperdine’s Keion Bell and LMU’s Jarred DuBois.



Gonzaga moves up to 14th

Gonzaga climbed three more spots in the polls, settling in at 14th in the A.P. and ESPN/USA Today rankings. Saint Mary’s checks in at 26th, just outside the ESPN/USA Today’s top 25. That’s up 11 spots from a week ago, if my math is correct.

More here.

Heading over to GU soon for media day and All-WCC announcements. More later.

A lot can happen for WSU this week


Looking at the comments from our previous post, we can see the complexity of the Pac-10’s tie-breaking rules tripped up a lot of people. That’s one reason we said we’d wait until things cleared up a little bit. But here is a pertinent fact: WSU really needs a win over Washington. That would help immensely. But even a 9-9 record won’t guarantee anything, if Arizona and USC win twice. That would make UA fifth and USC sixth, winner in the head-to-head-tiebreaker with WSU. Other than that, there are many possibilities, but a lot of them revolve around defeating the Huskies in Seattle. On UW’s Senior Day. With the Huskies playing for sole possession of the Pac-10 title. That’s a tough task. For other items on this Monday, read on.

UPDATE: Just thought I would pass on the link to the latest rankings because, if you look at the bottom of the Associated Press, under the others receiving votes, you’ll see WSU with 4 points. That would put them at 37th as far as I can tell.

Five seniors close out home careers

Gonzaga’s Senior Night celebration is a little different this season. The Zags have a non-conference opponent, South Carolina Upstate, coming in Tuesday. The visitors fill what would have been an eight-day break between Gonzaga’s WCC finale at San Diego and the semifinal contest in the WCC Tournament.

The Zags’ five seniors reflect on their careers below in an unedited version on an article that will run in Monday’s S-R.


Day-after San Diego

Back with the day-after post following Gonzaga’s 58-47 road win over San Diego on Saturday. Much more below.

(Programming notes: I’m working on an article on the Zags’ five seniors as they await their final home game Tuesday at the McCarthey Athletic Center. I’m hoping to post it later tonight. The WCC awards and all-league team will be released Monday.)


Looking back at Eags’ season-ending loss

The Eastern Washington Eagles had hoped to spend the next few days doing a little scoreboard watching and hoping Montana State might stumble a couple of times and let them sneak into the Big Sky Conference Tournament that opens next Saturday.

Instead they will be busy turning in practice gear after watching their postseason tournament hopes flicker out on Saturday night when they suffered a 66-62 overtime loss at home to Portland State.

Read on.



ASU upset, the day after


As I peruse the Pac-10’s tie-breaker rules, trying to see how Washington State could avoid the Wednesday play-in games, I was reminded of the last piece of furniture I tried to put together. You know, the one with the instructions that state “put tab A into slot F, twist until you hear a crack, then throw the whole thing in the trash because it’s a piece of junk.” Remember putting stuff like that together? Well, as far as I can tell, unless the Cougars defeat UW next Saturday in Seattle, there’s little chance for them to finish in the top six. USC and Oregon State – now, the Beavers losing tonight in Eugene would help immensely – play each other next week and the team that wins that game more than likely will have the tiebreaker edge on WSU. And that’s the Cougars main problem. In just about every case, everybody they are battling for the last of top six spots, Arizona, USC and Oregon State, holds the tierbreaker edge over them. Still there are a lot of variables that will be cleared up after next Thursday’s games, so it makes more sense to go into more detail then. Just remember this, the Cougars still have a shot at missing the Wednesday games. But it will take a few things happening. Read on for our next-day coverage of the Senior Day win over ASU.

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Jim Meehan (@srjimm) Jim Meehan's coverage areas include Gonzaga University men's basketball, Spokane Shock football, golf and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Chris Derrick Chris Derrick is a sports reporter. His primary coverage areas are the Spokane Chiefs, Spokane Indians, women's basketball and high school softball and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Sean Kramer Sean Kramer is a freelance correspondent who covers the University of Idaho football team and men's basketball team.

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Vince Grippi is the online producer for SportsLink, a product of The Spokesman-Review.

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