Ferris boys basketball players believe this year they’ve made a greater commitment to defense. You wouldn’t get an argument from University coach Garrick Phillips.
The Saxons provided formidable obstacles Tuesday to what the Titans tried to do at U-Hi and the end result in this game between Greater Spokane League unbeatens was the visitors’ 68-50 triumph.
“Give them a lot of credit,” said Phillips after U-Hi (5-1 overall, 4-1 in the GSL) suffered its first loss. “We got outplayed in a lot of different ways. They pushed us out of what we wanted to do. They outhustled us and got to loose balls.”
U-Hi struggled shooting at home, while Ferris topped 50 percent from the field.
Ferris (4-1, 4-0) and the Titans are similar in a lot of respects. They both want to push the ball, are balanced and pass quickly in an attempt to break you down on defense. Each was up to the task and as a result, it was a high-energy contest with the teams expending considerable amounts on both sides of the ball.
But Ferris bolted to an early 16-5 lead and repelled every run the hosts would make, thus stretching the lead in every quarter.
The Saxons had five double- figure scorers, led by Taylor Kamitomo’s 18 points, seven in the fourth quarter for the team’s biggest lead. His uncanny knack around the basket was in full evidence.
And junior Chris Wilson, going to the basket more this year than last, hit three patented back-breaking 3-pointers in the third quarter, the last two coming late in the period for a 53-37 lead.
“We knew we had to rebound and play solid help defense, nothing special,” said Kamitomo of the early first-place GSL showdown. “Good defense plays into solid offense.”
Riley Stockton, another of the five double-figure scorers and rebound leader with 11, was impressed with the Titans. “A big compliment to them,” he said.
“They all can play ball and all are shooters. I think we’ve really committed to the defensive side and it has helped our toughness.”
Ferris coach Don Van Lierop likes the quick start to the season by his seasoned squad and loves the balance.
“We’ve had three or four different leading scorers in our ballgames so far,” he said. “That’s good.”
Gonzaga Prep 61, Rogers 43: The host Bullpups (5-1, 5-0) finished strongly in the fourth quarter to maintain first place in the GSL. Parker Kelly scored 20 points, one of three Gonzaga Prep double-figure scorers. Therone Tillett had 16 for the Pirates (3-4, 3-3).
Central Valley 57, Shadle Park 53: The visiting Bears (4-3, 3-3) had a quick start to take a 21-18 first-quarter lead and it held up thanks to Gaven Deyarmin, who scored 25 points. He hit 10 for 14 field-goal tries. A late 3-pointer brought the Highlanders to within three points.
North Central 43, Mead 40: The Indians (3-4, 3-3) led by eight points over the Panthers (3-5, 2-4) on the road and weathered Mead’s comeback by hitting two free throws to seal the win. Zac Hill’s 10 points was the only double-figure effort in the game.
Lewis and Clark 81, Mt. Spokane 59: The visiting Tigers (1-7, 1-5) exploded 22-9 out of the gates while piling up an impressive point total over the Wildcats (1-4, 0-4). Austin Dixon with 15 was one of five double-figure scorers for LC.