When Central Valley’s John Reese won the 119-pound weight class at last weekend’s prestigious Tri-State Tournament, the Bear senior was not surprised.
“I knew I could do it,” he said. “It was really gratifying to prove I was the wrestler they expected me to be.”
Reese was one of two CV champions at the prestigious meet. Shane Cunanan also won at 125 pounds for the third-place Bears.
Reese and Cunanan have been synonymous with CV wrestling for four years.
Both have experienced the highs and lows of an intensely personal sport.
Reese finished third in state when he was a sophomore. Last year, after losing by pin in the 115-pound semifinals to University rival Jared Osborn, he settled for fifth.
“It was a huge disappointment,” he said. “I wasn’t focused and wasn’t working the way I should have. Things in my life weren’t in order.”
That has changed this year. Although the start of his season was delayed by ringworm, last Wednesday he wrestled up a weight and won by 13 points at Mead.
“I was a little rusty,” he said of the 18-5 roll-around. “Another thing, I feel pretty strong on my feet and basically could have taken him down at will. But riding was something I needed to work on.”
That match behind him, Reese won four straight times at the Tri-State. He pinned opponents in the quarter and semifinals, the latter over Kelso state placer Cau Huynh.
He beat two-time state qualifier Jason Belyea of Lakeside 6-3 for the championship.
Reese did not give up a takedown the entire tournament. In the finals he was able to control Belyea on the mat the entire time.
“I felt pretty strong on my feet,” he admitted. “Everything felt good on top as well. If I need to ride I can. If not I go to my strong suit.”
And he’ll help bring CV along with him.
Reese and Cunanan were the only Bear finalists, but fourth placer Brandon Brown, 145, and fifth placers Blair Alderman, 171, and Courtney Brown, 160, reached the semifinals.
East Valley’s Justin Walker finished second at 130 pounds to Sandpoint’s four-year unbeaten Jared Lawrence.
Knights Kevin Woolf, 119, and Brad Crockett, 140, took third and John Sommer, 103, was sixth.
University’s Tim Owen, 103, was third, Conor Jordan, 135, finished fourth and Reggie Lee, 171 was sixth.
Gonzaga Prep Valleyites Nick Bliss, 152, and Chris Montgomery, 112 were third and fourth respectively.
Clean sweep for Bears
CV basketball teams swept their winless counterparts from University in the last Greater Spokane League basketball games of 1997.
The 3-1 girls stormed to a 32-20 halftime lead and weathered the 0-5 Titans comeback for a 55-49 victory.
Rikki Jackson paced the first half with 11 points and finished with 15 for the game. Michelle Grafos scored 10 second-half points to hold the Titans at bay. Jenny Coyle was also in double figures for CV.
The taller Bear boys, now 2-1, won 56-38. Jeff Priebe, a 6-foot-6 junior guard, sparked the Bears with 7 of his 11 points in the first half. Included was a three-point play after 0-5 U-Hi had rallied to trail 20-15 late in the second quarter.
Inside players Tom Perkes and Marc Hinckley combined for 17 second-half points to put the game away.
U-Hi continued to struggle offensively apart from Brad Van Duyne, who scored 13.
WV Holiday Tournament next
West Valley basketball teams will host their annual Holiday Classic Tournament on Monday and Tuesday.
Bonners Ferry, Medical Lake and Colville are the opponents.
The Eagles boys and girls teams are currently 2-4 overall and 2-2 in the Border League following last weekend’s games.
WV’s boys, playing no seniors, beat Lake City and lost to Post Falls in their most recent games. Junior Chris Gregg came off the bench to score 22 points in each game.
Eagle Brad Groh has been in double figures in all but one game this year for a 14.0 average. Fellow letterman junior Eric Deno is at 11.0 per game.
West Valley’s girls lost to league leader Lake City and beat Post Falls to even their league record.They’re tied with East Valley (3-4 overall) in league.