Only in high school basketball.
The Gonzaga Prep boys had a 34-point turnaround, knocking off the second-ranked and previously unbeaten Central Valley Bears 62-46 Tuesday in a showdown between the Greater Spokane League’s top two teams at G-Prep after the Bullpups lost 58-40 to the Bears last month.
The Bullpups moved into a first-place tie with CV at 12-1.
G-Prep feasted on air-tight man-to-man defense, a big serving of senior post Jake Groh and a big advantage in transition.
CV (14-1) committed an uncharacteristic 15 turnovers, many of them caused by G-Prep’s defense. Groh put up a career-high 25 points. And the Bullpups (13-2) outscored the Bears 19-6 in transition.
“Win, lose or draw we wanted to make sure that we came out and went toe to toe with them,” G-Prep coach Matty McIntyre said. “Metaphorically speaking, when we got pushed we’d push back a little bit or show some resistance, some toughness. I felt we did that for 32 minutes.”
CV coach Rick Sloan spoke in boxing terms, too.
“We hit them in the mouth the first go around and they came back and returned the favor,” Sloan said.
Both teams didn’t back down in the first half, and the Bullpups managed to take a 25-23 lead into halftime.
G-Prep used a 7-0 spurt to open the second half – all from point guard Sam Dowd – to open a 32-23 lead, and CV had to play catch-up for the final 16 minutes.
Groh was especially effective inside, making 12 of 13 shots, finishing with five rebounds and three steals.
“Defense is where we live,” Groh said. “We worked hard in practice on defense and we came to play. You’ve got to start on defense. Your offense comes after defense.”
The Bullpups were so good defensively that no CV player reached double-figure scoring.
“Our effort was a lot better,” McIntyre said. “The first time we got pushed around and we never really responded with a super competitive effort.”
Dowd finished with 13 points and five rebounds. Ryan Alexander had five assists and Joe Chapman had seven rebounds and four assists.
“The whole difference was their ability to get easy looks – which was either in transition or inside,” Sloan said. “And we had a hard time containing (Groh). They got a lot of easy looks with him.”
McIntyre was impressed with Groh.
“He was phenomenal around the rim,” McIntyre said. “He was super aggressive and got his feet and shoulders square to the rim, and when he does that he can be very, very effective. He’s a kid that continually battles and his work ethic is phenomenal day in and day out.”
CV couldn’t get anything going in the fourth quarter.
McIntyre said the game wasn’t for the GSL championship.
“There are still six games to be played,” he said. “We’ve got a long ways to go.”
Ferris 71, Rogers 61: The Saxons (11-4, 9-4) maintained a firm grip on third place thanks to a career night from Cody Benzel.
Benzel scored 32 points and had nine rebounds as the Saxons held off the visiting Pirates (3-12, 2-11).
Ferris outrebounded Rogers 40-26.
Amaujae Daniels led Rogers with 19 points and Carson Murray had 16.
Lewis and Clark 53, Mead 52: Connor Hojnacki hit a 3-pointer with about a minute to go as the visiting Tigers (6-9, 4-9) knocked off the Panthers (9-6, 7-6).
Hojnacki scored a game-high 21 points.
Mead had two good looks in the final minute but couldn’t get a shot to fall.
University 56, North Central 41: The visiting Titans (9-6, 8-5) opened a 27-18 lead by halftime.
Brett Bailey led U-Hi with a game-high 28 points as the Titans outscored the Indians (0-15, 0-13) in every quarter.
Jalen Woodard led NC with 22 points.
Shadle Park 63, Mt. Spokane 58: The Highlanders (7-8, 6-7) stayed within sight of 3A-leading University by holding off the visiting Wildcats (5-9, 5-8).
Three players reached double-figure scoring for Shadle. Morgen Barnes led with 15 points, George Pilimai had 12 and Skyler Kelley added 11.
Jordan Weems led Mt. Spokane with 16 points and Stu Stiles had 15.
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