They should have refunded admission after the first quarter of the Greater Spokane League boys basketball game at Shadle Park.
After 8 minutes, Ferris could only manage a 7-3 lead – this after Shadle Park made just 1 of 12 shots from the field.
The blood in the lethargic Saxons’ veins managed to warm slightly the final three periods, but it was enough for Ferris to escape with a 54-46 win Friday.
Had there been any energy in the Saxons in the first half, the Highlanders wouldn’t have had a chance to rally within a basket in the fourth quarter.
The Highlanders made just one of their first 17 shots. That translated into a 16-5 Ferris lead. And when Kyle Knutsen shook loose in the key for a basket followed by a basket in transition by Alvin Welch, Shadle was very much alive, trailing 16-9.
Two free throws by Cody Benzel allowed Ferris (14-2, 12-2) to go into halftime leading 24-14.
The Highlanders (5-10, 5-9) apparently warmed their hands at halftime because they came out making four of their first five shots in the third quarter to pull within 26-23.
Ferris extended the lead back to 10 points twice including taking a 42-32 advantage going into the fourth.
The Saxons opened the period missing their first six shots, and when George Pilimai got a short basket in the key, the Highlanders got within 43-41 with 3:35 remaining.
Ferris would miss the front of two one-and-one situations, and Shadle Park had back-to-back possessions with the opportunity to tie or take a lead.
On a key possession, Ferris swung the ball around, and as the shot clock ticked near the end Benzel posted up and made a turnaround jumper while being fouled. He completed the three-point play to give the Saxons plenty of cushion at 46-41 with 1:48 to go.
On back-to-back possessions, Shadle attempted 3-pointers that were wide left both times, ricocheting off the backboard.
Benzel converted a layup to extend the lead to 48-41 with 1:26 remaining, and the Saxons made 6 of 6 free throws in the final 42 seconds.
If ever there was a night Ferris was ripe to be knocked off it was Friday.
Shadle outrebounded Ferris 35-29 – usually a statistic that indicates whether a team is working hard or not. And the shortest player on the court, 5-foot-5 Shadle point guard Alvin Welch, led with 10 rebounds.
“They played tough defense and we played bad,” said Benzel, who overcame a 0-for-5 start in the first quarter to finish with a game-high 23 points including 11 for 11 from the foul line. “We came out flat. None of us came out ready to play.”
Pilimai, who was scoreless in the first half, finished with a team-high 13 points. Freshmen Andreas Brown and N’Keil Brown had 10 each.
“We had a let down from the Rubber Chicken,” Benzel said. “A good team will learn to play through that. The positive is we got a win, but it was a crappy start to the game for both teams.”
Lewis and Clark 69, Rogers 50: The Tigers (4-12, 3-11) outscored the host Pirates (4-12, 4-10) 39-25 in the second half. Connor Hojnacki led LC with 18 points and Dominic Oliveri had 15. Robert Rucker led three Pirates in double-figure scoring with 13.
Mead 51, Mt. Spokane 45: The host Panthers (10-6, 9-5) clamped down in the second half to hold off the Wildcats (5-11, 3-11). Brandon Pettersen led the Panthers with 19 points and nine rebounds. Stu Stiles led Mt. Spokane with 16 points, all coming in the first half.
Gonzaga Prep 60, North Central 30: The visiting Bullpups (13-3, 12-2) got out fast, opening a 32-15 lead by halftime as they cruised past the Indians (2-14, 2-10). Reed Hopkins led the Bullpups with 12 points, Brandon McClary had 11 and Sam Dowd added 10. Marcus Saugen led NC with 10.