The throaty roar of the motorcycles signaled the time of the year. It was Battle of the Bone night at University, the 13th renewal of the Central Valley-University wrestling rivalry.
“It’s a great rivalry and a great thing for the sport,” said coach John Owen, following his Bears’ second straight win, 34-27. “Obviously it brings out enormous interest when you’ve got the superintendent riding in on a Harley.”
District superintendent Mike Pearson was riding one of the three Harley-Davidson motorcycles that circled the mat at University High School revving the motors while the Titan wrestling anthem, George Thorogood’s “Bad to the Bone” played during warmups.
A capacity crowed cheered its approval. And Central Valley won the battle for the cow femur trophy, paring U-Hi’s advantage in the 9-4.
There was a little something for everybody. Each team won seven matches, the difference being CV’s four pins to two (plus a major decision) advantage. Both drew inspiration from two young Jacobs.
Titan sophomore Jacob Mason opened with critical victory at 145 pounds over Jordan Choate.
“(Coach) Don Owen said this was one of the most pivotal matches,” said Mason of his 12-6 win. “He beat me by two points at Tri State and one point at the Rocky Mountain (tournaments).”
Bear freshman Jacob Hollenbeck‘s name wasn’t even listed on the program and he said he didn’t think he’d set foot on the mat. But he got the call at 130 pounds and responded with a stunning first-round pin that assured the Bears of their triumph.
“He’s going to be really good,” said coach John Owen. “He’s got a really good work ethic, cares a lot about wrestling and does the extras you need to do.”
He now has a 4-0 record in GSL competition this year.
With every match, the crowd’s cheers not only were meant for the winners, but for those who got off their backs to keep losses close.
Four that stuck out in John Owen’s mind were Cody Stratton, keeping his 160-pound loss to Danny Jordan at five points, 171 where Andy Wickstrom won 7-1, 103 where Braden Davis lost 9-3 to Tyler Clark and 112 where Jared Maynes dropped an 8-2 decision to Brandon Byers.
“At 103 that guy’s tough. He had pinned and teched us,” said Owen. “That was a moral win.”
Wickstrom tied the match 6-6 starting a run of four upper weights victories for a 22-6 lead U-Hi couldn’t overcome.
“We knew nothing about (their) 171 (pounder),” Owen said of Wickstrom’s win, “but stuck our feet in the sand and stayed where we were in the weight.”
It was quite a year in the GSL. East Valley beat Central Valley 29-28 as both finished with league-leading 9-1 records. EV lost by a point, 33-32 to Ferris.
The Knights also edged U-Hi 32-30, while the Titans (7-3) escaped Ferris (7-3) 38-36. Several matches went down to the final bout, including the Titans’ six-point loss to third-place Mead (8-2).
Wrestling now becomes more individualized with district competition beginning Friday for all classifications.
Hoops stretch run
Greater Spokane League girls basketball is entering the stretch run for three Spokane Valley teams chasing playoff dreams.
East Valley (3-11) is one of three 3A teams with virtually identical records, vying for two regional berths. The Knights must still play Mt. Spokane and North Central (both 4-11) and must beat both for a chance.
“We lost to both of them,” said first-year coach Rob Collins, “but we’re playing better than we were.”
Morgan and Bryana Manchester didn’t play in the first game with NC. Morgan has averaged double figures since then. EV lost to Mt. Spokane by three points when they met. Kelsi Jacobson, who had 15 points in Thursday’s loss to Lewis and Clark, leads the league in scoring.
University (11-4) is a solid fourth in league, four games ahead of Central Valley, and virtual shoo-in for one of the six District 4A tournament berths. The Bears (8-8) face Mt. Spokane tonight, North Central and Ferris in their next three games and likely need two more wins to get in. The game with the Saxons (6-10) Feb. 5 is pivotal.
The Titans beat North Central 51-34 and Gonzaga Prep 52-48 in most recent games. Kasey Jurich has been on a tear, scoring 37 points in the wins.
The Bears ended a seven-game losing skid, three of the losses by two points including 42-40 to Shadle Park, with an 81-29 romp past winless Rogers on Thursday.
•West Valley (11-2 overall, 6-1 in league) continues to enjoy a breakout Great Northern League year. The Eagles played Friday at Medical Lake Friday, the second of four straight road games. Melissa Mauro scored 21 points in a 67-43 win at Deer Park.
Limping toward playoffs
Central Valley and University boys basketball teams are still viable District 4A playoff candidates, but they’re not making it easy on themselves.
The Bears (9-8 overall, 8-8 in league) remain fourth among 4A teams despite losing three straight games. This past week they were beaten 79-56 by second-place Shadle Park and 63-53 Thursday at Rogers.
CV is tied in the loss column with Mead. The two teams have a two-game lead over three others battling for the remaining three of six district berths.
The Titans (5-10) are among them, but now have lost their last five games.
William Davis scored 24 points in CV’s two losses last week while Alex Howard and J.C. Agen had personal season highs with 18 and and 14 respectively against the Pirates.
The Bears are at Mt. Spokane tonight at 7:30 p.m. and finish against North Central, Ferris and Lewis and Clark between Thursday and Feb. 7.
U-Hi’s situation is more precarious, needing a win tonight at Mead. The team’s final four games include East Valley, Ferris and playoff hopefuls LC and Rogers.
Most recently they were beaten 61-42 and 69-51 by North Central and third-place Gonzaga Prep. Mason Johnson had 33 points.
East Valley’s (1-13) Danny Marshall scored 29 points for the second straight game despite a loss Thursday 60-57 to the Tigers.
•West Valley (9-4, 5-2) is at a critical juncture of its season. Tied for second with Clarkston and Cheney in the GNL, the Eagles play the Bantams on Tuesday and the Blackhawks on Friday. Both games are on the road.