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CV on top in tight GSL boys basketball race

The logjam at the top of the Greater Spokane League boys basketball standings last week has shifted somewhat since last Friday.

The Central Valley boys (10-3 overall, 9-2 league), who played hard-nosed defense start to finish in a first-place showdown Tuesday against Gonzaga Prep (8-5, 8-3), find themselves occupying the league’s top seat after stopping the Bullpups 61-52.

University (10-3, 8-3) was an early solo leader, then there was the stretch last week when CV, Lewis and Clark (9-4, 7-4) and Gonzaga Prep were tied for first.

Going into games Friday, U-Hi and G-Prep are tied for second followed by a three-way tie for fourth between Ferris (9-4, 7-4), Shadle Park (9-4, 7-4) and LC.

The sifting in the standings has been largely downward.

In key matchups Friday, CV is at Ferris and Shadle goes to LC.

CV’s win over G-Prep completed a league sweep for the Bears.

“It’s always nice to beat a team twice, especially when they’re playing well,” CV senior Gaven Deyarmin said.

In CV’s 60-41 win over the Bullpups in December, the Bears made 9 of 18 3-pointers. In the rematch, CV feasted in the key.

G-Prep coach Matty McIntyre has nothing but praise for CV.

“The penetration offensively (by CV) was a backbreaker for us – the drive and dish,” McIntyre said. “You can’t beat quality teams when you give up so many layups. The first game they beat us behind the 3-point line and now they beat us in the paint. That’s what good teams do. They can beat you in a variety of ways. Central Valley is a very solid team.”

CV coach Rick Sloan had a hunch that if he gave his team time off during the holiday break it would make a difference.

“We took five days off over the winter break and now we’ve got our legs,” Sloan said. “Did I think we’d be in first? That’s a good question. There are a lot of games left. We’re going to enjoy this and get ready for Ferris.”

• The CV/G-Prep girls game was one of the top games of the season in the GSL.

For the second time in three games, the No. 1-ranked Bears (13-0, 11-0) had to stage a rally to win. Two free throws from Brooke Gallaway with 8 seconds left allowed CV to escape with a 59-57 win Tuesday.

“I thought Gonzaga Prep played extremely well,” CV coach Freddie Rehkow said. “Things that hurt us against Mead came back against (G-Prep) – rebounding. We found a way to fight through it. Games like this are character-builders. As a coach you’d like to take a breath a little bit. You don’t like to do it on a regular basis. The nice thing is we didn’t panic.”

Rehkow knows his team can and should be playing better.

“We’re 13-0 and yet we know we need to be playing better,” Rehkow said. “We’ve got to be playing better than we’re playing or it’s going to be tough to get out of our own district.”

G-Prep (10-3, 8-3) and U-Hi (10-3, 8-3) are tied in second, LC (7-6, 7-4) is next and Shadle (7-6, 6-5) and Mead (6-7, 6-5) are tied in fifth.

In key games Friday, Mead visits G-Prep and Shadle goes to LC.

GSL tweaks district

The formats for the 4A and 3A boys and girls district basketball tournaments have been tweaked.

Just the top four teams qualify for the 4A district boys and girls tourneys. In years past, the fifth-place team played the fourth-place team in a loser-out play-in game.

In 3A, the one-year experiment featuring a best-of-3 series to decide the district champ has been eliminated. This year it’s straight single elimination with the third seed facing the No. 2 seed and the winner taking on No. 1 to decide the district title.