Shadle Park’s boys have won their last four basketball games by a total of eight points. Coach Tim Gaebe‘s response does not sound like someone who’s concerned.
“I enjoy it really,” Gaebe said when asked if the recent string of last-second victories was cause for heart palpitations. “I love the competitiveness of it. The upside is good teams find a way to win and that’s something you can hang your hat on.”
What he really likes is that different players have come up big in times of need.
Anthony Brown scored in the closing seconds of a one-point win over Mead, and a late 3-pointer by sophomore Robby Douglas sent the Gonzaga Prep game into overtime where Shadle won by four.
Then it was sub Austin Hayes‘ game-ending putback – not to mention 8 straight free throws by Brown – that led the Highlanders past Mt. Spokane by a basket. (Shadle beat the Wildcats by 24 the first time the two teams met.) On Saturday, Zack Humphrey hit two 3-pointers, including the deep beyond the arc game winner with 10 seconds left, and two clutch free throws, Gaebe said, in a 55-54 win at University.
Gaebe said that the Highlanders (11-1) have yet to play as well as they are capable of. They haven’t hit on all cylinders, he said, but the Highlanders understand that they must mesh down the stretch and in the post-season for the ultimate desired outcome.
Tonight the second-place Highlanders host the third-place Bullpups at SFCC. Coming up in a week is a match up with league-leading Ferris.
Shadle’s coach sees a big upside in recent results.
“To the kids’ credit, they’re getting it done,” Gaebe said. “It’s interesting and exciting and good because we’ve won.”
State champs night
The granddaddy of spirit games, the Rubber Chicken, will play out tonight at the Spokane Arena.
Just a side note: It will be the first (although second time this year) Chicken that features two reigning 4A state champions, Ferris boys and Lewis and Clark girls, on the same court.
One for the ages
Shadle Park’s girls 44-41 basketball victory at University on Saturday was the product of a stunning conclusion.
Trailing by 11 points entering the final quarter, the Highlanders shut out the Titans on their own floor.
“I have never, ever been involved in anything like that against a team like U-Hi, which is so fundamentally sound,” coach Chad Dezellem said. “It was pretty impressive.”
He credited his players’ will and zone pressure with enabling the Highlanders to outscore the Titans 14-0.
Shadle cut the deficit to six points quickly and got back in the game. Lexie Pettersen, who Dezellem said was double and triple teamed, made a key 3-pointer and had several assists and Shadle made enough free throws to go ahead by a point in the waning seconds.
His daughter, Tori, missed a couple free throws, but stole the ball back to preserve the lead.
“The kids just found a way, to be honest,” said Dezellem of a win that kept Shadle tied for second and increased its lead to two games over U-Hi.
Big game tonight
Northwest Christian School risks undisputed first place tonight when it hosts Reardan in a statement Bi-County League boys basketball game.
The two-time defending state champion Crusaders (12-1, 9-0) lead the Indians (13-1, 9-1) by a half a game and rallied from a double digit deficit on the road the first time the two teams met.
“The way to beat Northwest Christian is to keep the ball in front of us and keep them off the offensive glass,” Reardan coach Bob Swannack said. “We have a lot of respect for each other.”
Beginning tonight, Bi-County teams are packing six or seven games worth of their season into the next two weeks before they begin the long road to the State 2B tournament.
Busy week on mat
East Valley’s wrestling team will be busy this week. The Knights wrestle four times, beginning tonight in an all-or-nothing match at home against University. They finish the GSL season with matches Wednesday and Thursday, then host the Washington Dream Duals on Saturday. The winner between the Knights and Titans keeps league title hopes alive.