Between them, the two combatants completing the Shadle Park-Rogers wrestling donnybrook Thursday night had one Greater Spokane League win between them.
But the pair of the Highlanders’ Brett McVay and Pirates’ Ian Smith battled as if a state tournament 152-pound title were at stake.
The tense contest at Rogers brought a rabid audience to its feet. McVay broke a 0-0 deadlock with four third-period points for his first GSL win, 4-0, giving Shadle its first team victory by the slimmest of margins, 37-36.
“We had a tough start,” said coach Shawn Howard, whose losses have come against the top four teams in league. “But we had to keep working hard and keep our heads up.
“I couldn’t ask for a better kid for it to come down to. Brett’s a hard worker.”
McVay’s was the fifth win in the last seven matches as Shadle (1-4) rallied from a 33-16 deficit against the Pirates (2-3).
“It was demoralizing,” McVay said of his 0-4 league start. But he said the pressure of his do-or-die match made him determined. “I just kept doing my work and was lucky to get what I did.”
The defining contest came earlier when Shadle’s 285-pound Tyler Brown bear-hugged Anthony Rider to his back midway through overtime for a pin and six points that made the difference. They were tied 1-1 after regulation.
“That changed the match,” Howard said. “It could have been just a win.”
The rising programs, guided by young and enthusiastic coaches, couldn’t have been closer. Both teams won seven matches and had five pins or forfeit victories, the one-point differential coming on Cameron Babcock’s major decision at 195 pounds.
Mead 62, NC 6: The Panthers (5-0) won the first 12 matches, seven by pin, to stymie the visiting Indians (3-2) and remain tied with University in first place. Nick Lamb (126 pounds) and Chandler Rogers (160) each pinned in less than 30 seconds.
Central Valley 52, Ferris 13: Dan Schoultz of the host Bears (4-1) opened with a pin over Drew Sharkey at 285 pounds. The Saxons (1-4) eventually took a 13-12 lead, but CV won the final nine matches.
Mt. Spokane 50, Gonzaga Prep 22: The host Wildcats (4-1) kept pace with the leaders by bolting to an 18-0 lead in the first three matches and keeping the Bullpups (0-5) winless.
Great Northern League
East Valley 39, Cheney 33: The visiting Knights (2-0) trailed 21-0 before taking command of the Blackhawks (1-1) by winning seven straight matches from 113 pounds through 152.
Medical Lake 39, West Valley 33: The host Eagles (0-2) led early and got a late 126-pound victory by Austin Hilderbrand, 5-3 over fellow state veteran Anton King, but the Cardinals (1-1) proved too strong in the middle.
Deer Park 59, Pullman 24: Freshman Michael Leonard got his first GNL win as the host Stags (3-0) cruised past the Greyhounds (0-1).