There is something different about Central Valley’s boys and girls basketball teams, as University High found out in a Greater Spokane League doubleheader on Saturday.
The CV boys won 62-55 because new coach Rick Sloan’s flex offense has provided more easy inside scoring opportunities.
The girls of veteran coach Dale Poffenroth are playing with more cohesiveness and control, resulting in a well-conceived 78-31 triumph.
Victory improved the Lady Bears’ record to 6-1 and was a prelude to their first-place showdown Jan. 3 at defending champion Mead.
“It’s a different team with different chemistry,” said Poffenroth, even though the players remain much the same.
“I think they’re learning from last year,” he said.
Against the Titans, CV showed more court awareness, which resulted in fine execution and easy baskets.
After trailing early in the game the team went on a rampage. Rikki Jackson and Andrea Kallas accounted for 14 of CV’s 17 first-quarter points.
When Crystal Lee got involved, scoring 13 points, the result was a 27-12 second quarter and 44-21 halftime lead.
The Bears outscored U-Hi 26-6 in the third quarter and the starters’ work was done. Kallas and Lee finished with 23 points each and Jackson scored 13.
Kallas has been key to CV’s effortless early success.
She’s averaging nearly 18 points per game overall and more than 21 in league, including a 28-point outburst against Rogers.
Last year she averaged fewer than six points per game.
“Any time you transfer it takes time to adapt,” said Poffenroth. “Ours was a whole different program and she had to understand that in order to get shots.”
Kallas, who came to CV as a sophomore, is at a loss to explain her success, but not the team’s.
Full-court pressure has produced results, she said.
“I knew we had the potential but didn’t show it until this year,” she said. “Our press is so strong, it intimidates people.”
CV boys a mix of old, new
Past Central Valley teams were known for superb defense and patient, guard-oriented offense.
The defense is much the same. Tuesday, the combination of full and half-court presses forced a young Rogers team into many mistakes.
The Pirates scored just 11 first-half points and had just 17 after three quarters in CV’s 58-35 win.
Against University, the ability to work inside for shots as well as score from without produced an early third-quarter run for CV.
As a result, aftering going 1-3 in preseason, the Bears are tied for second following a week of GSL competition.
“We just finally put one together,” said Sloan. “We’ve been inches away from playing good basketball and did it against U-Hi.”
There were no stars, although Ryan Millar, with 12 points, had his best game of the year and Ben Platt, with 10 points, got the team going early.
Raif Jochim came off the bench to lead the team with 10 rebounds. Two other subs, Nate McFarlane and Travis Brown scored nine points each, the same as Ryan Smith, CV’s season-long scoring leader.
“People think if they stop Smith they stop us,” said Sloan. “Not now. We’re playing team basketball.”
Eagle Holiday Classic
West Valley’s boys and girls basketball teams will host the Eagle Holiday Classic Friday and Saturday.
The girls open play against 6-1 Bonners Ferry, at 2:30.
The boys play Bonners Ferry, also 6-1, in the 8 p.m. finale.
Other teams in the boys tournament are 5-1 Lakeside and Post Falls. Girls teams include Moscow and Post Falls.
Number three lucky for wrestlers
Third place was lucky for Valley wrestlers at the Tri-State tournament.
Central Valley finished third overall with 123.5 points and had three third-place finishers.
They were John Reese at 119 pounds, Shane Cunanan (125) who lost 7-6 in the semifinals, and Courtney Brown also placed third, at 152.
Other third-placers were East Valley’s Chris Duncan at 171 pounds and Tristan Beeman at 189.
Coupled with fourth-place efforts by 135-pounder Jay Campbell and 160-pound Rusty Ruchert, the Knights finished fourth with 107 points.
University High two-time state champion Andy Roberts captured the 130-pound championship of the tournament with a 13-6 win over Amos Hoyt of LaGrande.
Roberts built a 10-0 lead on the Oregon state champion and two-time runner-up.
Gonzaga Prep’s Chris Montgomery reached the 112 pound finals, finishing second.
Titan Jared Osborn placed fifth at 119 pounds.