Nobody wanted to call it a “statement game” this early in the season. But a 36-point difference between two of the top teams in the state – no matter who is rating or ranking – will certainly raise some eyebrows.
Lexie Hull scored 24 points – the first 10 of the game and 22 in the first half when it mattered – and Central Valley avenged its only loss of last season with a resounding 67-31 win over Bellarmine Prep in the final game of the day in the inaugural Cam Jam Clash for Cancer at Central Valley HS on Thursday.
Bellarmine Prep, of Tacoma, entered play sixth in the WIAA RPI ratings, while Central Valley was eighth.
The Lions ended Central Valley’s 52-game winning streak in the quarterfinals of last year’s 4A state playoffs. This win can’t make up for the sting of losing at state, but the Bears (7-0) have had this one circled on the calendar for a while.
“Oh yeah, for sure,” said Hull, last year’s 4A Gatorade player of the year. “We were excited for this game. Happy to get it over with.”
CV coach Freddie Rehkow was especially happy with the defensive effort. The Bears limited Bellarmine (7-1) to single-digit scoring in each of the first three quarters, just three points in the third.
“I’m happy with the way we played tonight,” Rehkow said. “We got after it. That’s the team I know we can be right there. The defensive pressure was just smothering. We were on the floor for so many balls tonight. Any coach would be happy with that.”
CV still outscored Bellarmine 16-12 in the fourth when the Bears’ backups played together over the final six minutes. It was a bit of a surprise a game that had so much hype finished with Rehkow coaching his second team – hard – at the end of the game.
“That’s what every coach should be doing,” Rehkow explained. “All those kids are important. Every day when we go against each other (in practice) – we coach them up. For them to get out there against a good team like that, it’s only going to be good experience for them.
“Any time your second group gets to go out there and play those kind of minutes, that’s a good time.”
The Bears raced out to a quick 10-0 lead. Well, Hull did anyway, picking up three inside baskets, one with a foul, and a 3-pointer. Lacie Hull’s 3-pointer a couple of minutes later made it 14-2 and CV led 18-8 after one.
“I think everyone was just ready for this game and we came out full-strength,” Lexie said.
“I like it. She came out,” Rehkow said. “She’s gotta do that. When you have a Division I athlete, going to Stanford, state player of the year, she’s got to come out and basically step on that floor and knowing that they’re going to get their very best, so why not her give her very best?”
Bellarmine Prep’s Madeline Garcia got going at the start of the second and her 3-pointer a couple of minutes in got the Lions within eight.
But CV turned on the full-court press and Bellarmine got into trouble. Turnovers and fouls became quick baskets or free throws for the Bears – in a hurry.
Lexie Hull hit a short jumper off a turnover and on the next possession Peyton Howard hit the deck for a steal at midcourt and fed Hailey Christopher for a fast-break layup. Lacie drained a 3-pointer next time down, then Lexie made a parade to the free throw line, hitting six straight to end the quarter, with the Bears up 38-16.
Lexie finished the half with 22 points.
“We had to come out (with the press),” Rehkow said. “One of the problems you run into, you can either come out and just hope that things work or you can go out and make them work. I told them before we came out today there was no Xs and Os on the board. It all came from within, If they wanted it bad enough, go out and get it.”
They got it alright.
CV’s Tomekia Whitman scored 12 points – all in the second half – and Lacie Hull finished with 10.
Shalyse Smith led Bellarmine Prep with 12 points.
Central Valley plays Stanwood on Friday at 6 p.m. on Day 2 of the Cam Jam and Bellarmine Prep takes on Sunnyside at 2 p.m.
Glacier Peak 58, Mead 39: Abbie Juozapaitis scored 19 points and the 20th-rated Grizzlies (4-3) pulled away from the No. 29 Panthers (3-7).
After a slow start from both teams, Glacier Peak outscored Mead 17-7 in the second quarter and lead 25-13 at intermission. The Grizzlies then scored nine of the game’s last 10 points, including a 3-pointer by Juozapaitis, over the final five minutes to put it away.
Erica Nessen paced Mead with 11 points and Ashlynn Eggleston added 10.
Mead takes on Woodinville at 4 p.m. on Friday, while Glacier Peak faces Moses Lake at noon.
Woodinville 70, Sunnyside 56: Mia Hughes collected 19 points and the 11th-rated Falcons (6-1) topped the No. 12 Grizzlies (5-3). Madison Dubois scored 15 points and Nikki Zaback added 11 for Woodinville, which led 38-24 at intermission. Ashlee Maldonado led Sunnyside with 16 points.
Moses Lake 48, Stanwood 42: Jamie Loera scored 22 points and the second-rated Chiefs topped the 3A No. 26 Spartans. Ashley Alter led Stanwood with 18 points.