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Ferris nips U-Hi in boys basketball thriller

It’s the type of game that will help both Ferris and University as the postseason draws near.

Considering most of its wins have been by double digits, Ferris perhaps might benefit most from stopping the visiting Titans in a game that wasn’t decided until the final possession Friday.

Saxons senior Riley Stockton’s 10-foot jumper lifted second-ranked Ferris to a 50-48 win over University in Geater Spokane League boys basketball action.

U-Hi sophomore Brett Bailey completed a three-point play with 8 seconds left, knotting the score at 48-48. Then Ferris senior point guard Jordan Tonani brought the ball up court, pulling up for a 3-pointer. But the shot bounded off the rim and Stockton alertly got the rebound and seemingly put up the shot all in one motion with 1 second to go to extend the Saxons’ winning streak to 15.

“Honestly, I thought Jordan’s shot looked down the net,” Stockton said. “I just tried to follow and maybe get a hiccup or shot like I did. I thought the time was running out so I just put it up and it fell.”

In other words, Stockton reacted and had no time to think.

The game started as if it would evolve into a shooting contest. Ferris made 8 of 16 from the field in the first quarter only to be topped by U-Hi’s 7-of-10 effort. The opening 8 minutes ended in a 19-19 tie.

Then the game seemingly had to a screeching halt. U-Hi (12-4 overall, 11-3 league) outscored Ferris (15-1, 14-0) 18-12 over the next two quarters.

“I think both teams’ defenses had a lot to do with that,” Stockton said.

With U-Hi leading 37-31 going into the fourth, the Titans hit a dry spell. They missed their first 12 shots as the Saxons forged ahead 42-37.

Finally, Zach Bruce hit a driving basket for U-Hi with 2:07 remaining.

Two free throws from Taylor Kamitomo gave the Saxons their biggest lead at 46-39 with 1:15 to go.

At that point, U-Hi coach Garrick Phillips decided to gamble. He called for full-court pressure, and the Saxons made three uncharacteristic turnovers.

“Over the past five years they’re not a team you want to press,” Phillips said. “They’ll really make you pay because they’re strong, really athletic and they take care of the ball.”

Most of the time, but not during a 35-second stretch that allowed U-Hi to tighten things up.

“That’s not us and we know that,” Stockton said of the late mistakes. “If we can learn from it then it’s good for us.”

Phillips didn’t need to look at the statistics to know what thwarted his team.

“The bottom line is we missed shots,” he said. “And we had very, very good looks. I’ll take my chances with the guys who had wide-open 3-pointers all day long.”

Kamitomo led Ferris with 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Stockton and Tonani had 12 points apiece.

Bailey and Zech Martin led U-Hi with 13 points each.

Ferris coach Don Van Lierop exhaled afterward.

“I’m glad they’re 3A and I wish them well,” he said of the Titans. “That’s a good team.”

Mead 55, North Central 49: The Indians (6-9, 6-8) had better balance, but the visiting Panthers (6-10, 5-9) had Garrett Swanson.

Swanson had a game-high 34 points, making 11 of Mead’s 20 field goals. The Panthers opened a 28-23 lead by halftime – a lead that held up in the second half.

Zac Hill led NC with 21 points. Gunnar Swagger added 12.

Lewis and Clark 81, Mt. Spokane 61: The Wildcats’ Kellen Clute scored a career-high 37 points, but three Tigers (5-11, 5-9) combined for 48 as they outscored the visitors in each quarter.

Jeff Livingston led LC with 23 points, making 6 of 10 3-pointers to go with six rebounds. Austin Damon had 14 points and 10 rebounds and Brady Houbrick added 11 points.

Seven other Wildcats (4-12, 2-12) managed a combined 24 points.

Gonzaga Prep 72, Rogers 45: The Bullpups (13-3, 12-2) moved into sole possession of second as they cruised at Rogers.

The Bullpups scored the game’s first 11 points and never looked back.

Parker Kelly led G-Prep with 23 points, Stephen Ferraro had 13 and Shane Schmidlkofer added 10. Marquis Leighton led Rogers (6-10, 6-8) with 11.

Central Valley 57, Shadle Park 48: The Bears (8-8, 7-7) rallied from a 29-22 halftime deficit to stop the visiting Highlanders (3-13, 2-12).

Joseph Guerrinha scored eight of his team-high 17 points in the fourth quarter for CV. Gaven Deyarmin added 15.

Nick Bettinson led Shadle with 27 points and 11 rebounds.