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.
Both teams took plenty of time in their possessions, Garfield probably more by design than the Bullpups, although both played tough, tough defense. It appeared Garfield reined in its quickness advantage to prevent the west side's up-and-down style from leaving the outcome to chance as it tends to do. At least, coach Mike Haugen said, in his film study, the Bulldogs prefer uptempo play. The quickness became more an attribute on defense forcing David Stockton out of his comfort zone and making it difficult for Gonzaga Prep to get into its sets. Prep got few open looks outside. Posts Ryan Nicholas and Travis Long, however, had tremendous games. Nicholas scored 21 points and had 15 rebounds. Long - who has impressed people over here with his quickness for a big man - willed himself to 13 points and 12 boards, most of them coming at absolutely imperative times. The Cougars will love him.
Prep led 11-8, Nicholas with nine points, in the first quarter; trailed 19-15 and led 23-20 at varying times in the first half. They were up 30-24 with 5:35 left in the third quarter following a Stockton 3-pointer and power rebound by Long. Bulldog Glenn Brooks answered with a 3-pointer and Tony Wroten tied it with a basket and free throw. Long and Nicholas put the Bullpups back in front 34-30 after three quarters.
Wroten, 6-foot-5 and just 15 years old, is an average outside shooter and poor free throw shooter, but a magician around the basket. Still, he hit a 3-pointer with 3:36 left to tie the game 36-36. Two Stockton turnovers against harassment by Garfield's quick guards, put the Bullpups in a 40-36 hole with 2:14 left.
Game over? Hardly. Garfield missed three free throws and Nicholas sent it into overtime thanks to Wroten's miss at the buzzer. Garfield scored first in overtime on De'Andre Taylor's only basket in 10 attempts. He is typically the Bulldog's second leading scorer at nearly 15 a game. Long tied it, Wroten put his team ahead and rebounded a Bullpups miss with 1:15 remaining. Taylor hit two free throws. Stockton missed a 3-pointer, but Wroten - 8 for 17 from the line - missed two free throws. Long scored with 7 seconds left on, yes, another rebound basket. But Brooks hit two free throws (Garfield was 15 for 28, Prep 8 for 10 and therein told the tale of the night). Wroten finished with nearly half of Garfield's points. So now the Bullpups play another frantic team, Curtis, which has run and pressed its way into a win and a loss. Game time is 3:30 p.m.
About Marcus Tibbs: Someone on the blog asked about the Decatur standout who was granted an extra year of eligibility. He was slated to attend EWU, but it was discovered he was short credits when as a freshman his grandfather, with whom he was living, became ill. As a result he missed school and basketball to help out. He applied for hardship this year and it was granted by the WIAA. Another player over here, 6-8 Todd Beamer post Kevin Davis is considering it as well. A late-blooming college prospect, he missed a year when his daughter was born in 2007.
LC girls play Kamiak at 12:30 p.m. for the right to play for a trophy. The Tigers doubled Jackosn 62-31 in consolation action. That's it from Tacoma for now.