The end product will be much better than the early returns for the Gonzaga Prep boys basketball team.
What the Bullpups showed defensively Tuesday, though, has been a staple under coach Matty McIntyre.
Gonzaga Prep used a 19-0 defense-inspired surge in the second quarter for a lead it would never relinquish as the visiting Bullpups overwhelmed the Shadle Park Highlanders 58-35 in the Greater Spokane League opener for both teams.
Shadle’s Alvin Welch converted a three-point play, trying the score at 11-11 just 25 seconds into the second quarter. That’s where G-Prep started to take over.
The Bullpups (1-1), the preseason favorite to win the league title, bolted to a 30-11 lead. The run was capped when Max Gruber hit a 9-foot jumper in the key with 2:47 to go before halftime.
“Our ball pressure was phenomenal,” McIntyre said. “We created (12) steals. Ryan Alexander had four steals and all of his led to easy baskets.”
The Highlanders (1-2) never recovered.
G-Prep’s sticky man-to-man defense led to several baskets in transition.
“We communicated, we got after it on the ball, we got after it on help defense and we were all over the court,” Alexander said. “We played our butts off. (Defense) is what we strive for in practice. Coach loves our defense and defense leads to offense.”
Junior guard Sam Dowd led a balanced attack for G-Prep with 12 points, two steals and two assists. Alexander, also a junior, had 11 points and senior post Joe Chapman added 10 points and seven rebounds.
G-Prep lost its season opener Friday at Richland, 59-54.
“I think we took a big step from Friday,” McIntyre said. “We did a better job of getting the ball inside and had a better sense of what we were trying to accomplish. It was a composure deal, first-game jitters, a lot of unknowns … no excuses.”
Welch led Shadle with 10 points and Morgen Barnes had six rebounds.
Central Valley 61, Mead 54: The Bears scored the first 12 points of the fourth quarter to rally past the visiting Panthers. Mead held a 31-28 lead at halftime. But CV outscored the Panthers 20-12 in the final period. Austin Rehkow led CV with 21 points and Beau Byus added 17. Brandon Petterson led mead with 17.
University 42, Ferris 39: The Titans made a five-point halftime lead hold up against the visiting Saxons. Brett Bailey led the Titans with 14 points, 13 rebounds and two assists. Jeff Hahn topped the Saxons with 15 points and six rebounds. U-Hi held a 22-9 edge in second-chance points while Ferris outscored the Titans 24-12 in the key.
Mt. Spokane 60, Rogers 42: The visiting Wildcats outscored the Pirates 40-19 in the middle quarters. Stu Stiles led Mt. Spokane with a game-high 20 points and Tanner Kissinger added 11. Amaujae Daniels led Rogers with 17.
Lewis and Clark 62, North Central 50: The Tigers outscored the Indians 20-8 in the decisive fourth quarter at NC. Dean Richey scored a game-high 28 points to lead LC. Jalen Woodard had 19 for NC.