North Central had been in something of a valley, suffering three straight losses after holding third place in Greater Spokane League boys basketball for much of this season.
Such ups and downs, however, have been common with nearly every team this season.
The Indians (9-7) peaked again with a pair of victories at home this weekend, the latest a 58-55 decision over the Rogers Pirates on Saturday to regain undisputed third place.
The Pirates, Mead, Ferris and Lewis and Clark are all 8-8.
“Pretty crazy, isn’t it?” asked Indians coach Jay Webber. “For us, we just haven’t been playing very well over the last five or six games. (Friday) night’s win over Ferris was big for us confidence-wise. We’re seeing signs of kind of breaking out of it a little bit.”
NC, with an inspired first half by Darwin Nelson, stormed to a 15-point halftime lead over the Pirates and weathered a Jesse Vaughan-fueled comeback to break a 43-all tie late in the third quarter and stave off the visitors.
“We just let them push us around a little bit and had to battle back,” Rogers coach Tim Wood said. “We got it tied up, but then it’s just the small things when it gets to games like this.”
Nelson scored 16 points in the first half, mainly with his quickness to the basket. He finished with 17 for the game.
NC broke a 6-6 tie to lead by 11 after a quarter and increased it to 30-15. Vaughan, who had 24 of Rogers’ final 37 points, scored eight as the Pirates closed to within 35-29 at the half. He added four more to start the third quarter.
Rogers’ Zach Nelson, who had hit a clutch 3-pointer before intermission, hit another for a tie with 1:41 left in the third period. But NC’s Dylan Harris answered 22 seconds later.
The Indians never trailed, but the game went down to the final 2 seconds when an inbounds pass got away from Vaughan, who finished with 28 points.
University 66, Mead 54: The Titans (3-14) maintained their hex on the Panthers (8-8), completing a season sweep. They outscored the visitors 40-27 in the second half. Spencer Drury led with 16.
East Valley 46, Mt. Spokane 38: The Knights (4-13) aren’t out of the 3A playoff picture yet following their win over the host Wildcats (6-9). EV made 10 of 13 free throws in the fourth quarter when Jakob Pugsley was 4 for 4 at the line and Korie Sherman scored six of his 10 points.
Gonzaga Prep 61, Lewis and Clark 44: The visiting Bullpups (15-2) jumped to a 13-4 lead over the host Tigers (8-8) and evened their series. Ryan Nicholas scored eight of his game-high 19 points in the first quarter. The Bullpups got key contributions from substitutes Parker Kelly and Nik Hellenthal.
Ferris 70, Central Valley 53: Beaten by 11 the first time these two met, the host Saxons (8-8) returned the favor to the Bears (7-9), ending a three-game losing streak. Ferris’ Connor Halliday scored 15 of his 19 in the first half.