Gonzaga Prep junior guard Sam Dowd was easily the smallest man on the floor when the Bullpups and Ferris Saxons squared off in a basketball game between 3-1 teams.
But he came up big in Prep’s 58-57 nail-biting Greater Spokane League triumph at home Tuesday night.
Dowd scored 13 of his 20 points in the second half to forge a lead that the Bullpups could not give back. But oh, how they tried.
Dowd’s third quarter work broke a 27-27 halftime tie. He scored the first five points of the fourth as Gonzaga built a 51-39 lead.
Then the walls began crumbling. The Saxons ran off nine straight points in a little over three minutes, benefitting from wild Prep outside shooting and turnovers.
The score stood 55-53 before Dowd hit a clutch 3-pointer with 1 minute, 6 seconds remaining that stood up, although Bullpups partisans were left squirming.
“Their pressing kind of got to us,” Gonzaga Prep’s 5-foot-7 dynamo said. “And we didn’t knock down our free throws.”
In the final 27 seconds, Prep turned the ball over and missed the front end of two one-and-ones, but hung on.
Ferris’ Cody Benzel torched Gonzaga Prep in the second half, scoring 15 of his 19 points, including a pair of long 3-pointers. But he hurried a juggled third after Prep knocked it loose in the game’s wild ending.
The two teams played the foul-filled first half like they were in a hurry to get somewhere, but ended up in the same place, deadlocked.
Dowd took over. His quickness and derring-do challenging a forest of Saxons inside, including 6-foot-9 Jensen Rye, and at times willing the ball into the basket was electrifying.
“When he’s moving it definitely helps the team,” Bullpups coach Matty McIntyre said. “He ignited us tonight.”
McIntyre said his team didn’t execute well, which was classic understatement. They hurried 3-pointers. And when they slowed the ball down to protect the lead, they ran afoul of the Ferris pressure defense. But somehow the Bullpups survived.
Lewis and Clark 57, Rogers 56: Dean Richey scored 36 points, but none bigger than the basket he made for the win with 12 seconds left in another nail-biter. The Tigers (4-3 overall, 2-3 in league) trailed the host Pirates (1-5, 0-5) by six points at halftime in a back-and-forth game. They cut the deficit to a basket after three quarters and finally caught up on Richey’s basket at the end.
Mead 62, University 59: Clutch free throw shooting by Thomas Kautzman and Brandon Pettersen and 10 points by Mitchell Banaugh in the fourth quarter helped the host Panthers (5-1, 4-1) preserve the work they’d done in the middle two quarters. They outscored the Titans (4-3, 3-2) 32-18 during that time, which offset a 27-point night by U-Hi’s Brett Bailey.
Central Valley 59, Shadle Park 46: The unbeaten Bears (6-0, 5-0) outscored the Highlanders (3-4, 2-3) in every quarter to pull away. Beau Byus continued his torrid play with a game-high 20 points, giving him 57 in his past three games.
Mt. Spokane 67, North Central 40: Eleven players scored for the visiting Wildcats (3-3, 2-3) led by Stu Stiles’ 17. A 20-8 second quarter gave them a comfortable lead and 21 points in the fourth polished off the Indians (0-7, 0-5).
University 44, Mead 43: A layup from Kayleigh Valley with 24 seconds left lifted the visiting Titans (3-3, 3-2) to the upset.
Valley led U-Hi with 14 points.
Mead (6-1, 4-1) trailed 22-20 at halftime, but rallied to take a 36-31 lead going into the fourth.
But the Titans owned the final period.
Morgan Douglass, Delaney Junkermier and Jade Redmon scored 10 points apiece to lead Mead.
Shadle Park 54, Central Valley 51: Morgan Grier’s 3-pointer with 35 seconds remaining put the Highlanders (4-2, 4-1) ahead to stay over the visiting Bears (1-5, 0-5).
Winter Hayes, who hit three 3-pointers, led Shadle with 20 points and Kaycee Hert had 12. Grier added 10 points and 10 rebounds. Madison Hovren led CV with 27 points and Molly Barnhart had 13.
Gonzaga Prep 79, Ferris 61: Big first and third quarters propelled the league-leading Bullpups (5-0, 5-0) at home.
Otiona Gildon led G-Prep with 20 points and 10 rebounds while Kayla Leland and Madison Wright scored 11 and 10 respectively. Jill Louthian led Ferris (5-2, 3-2) with 19 points.
Mt. Spokane 48, North Central 45: The visiting Wildcats (4-2, 3-2) made 8 of 12 free throws in the fourth quarter to hold off the Indians (0-7, 0-5).
Alyssa Lloyd led Mt. Spokane with 15 points and 12 rebounds while Brooke Reilly had 12 points and 10 rebounds. NC’s Brianna King had a game-high 27 points to go with four assists and three steals.
Lewis and Clark 67, Rogers 27: The visiting Tigers (3-2, 3-2) raced to a 43-5 lead by halftime.
Emma Keenan led LC with 12 points, Sonja Kuhta had 11 and Joelle Tampien added 10. Sarah Guertin led Rogers with 15.