The Mead and Gonzaga Prep boys are headed to state.
And they'll face off a fourth time Saturday in the 4A regional championship game.
Click the tab below to read my unedited game story.
His Panthers broke through Friday as they edged the Kamiakin
Braves 49-48 in a titillating 4A regional semifinal at the
It will be an all-Greater Spokane League regional final when Mead (19-5) squares off against Gonzaga Prep (22-2) for the fourth time. Tipoff this afternoon is at 5.
Gonzaga Prep, which fell to Mead in the District 8
championship game, downed
In a loser-out game,
Mead 49, Kamiakin 48: The Panthers earned their first berth to state since 2003 – when Mead, behind Adam Morrison, took second.
The Panthers had to hold off a Kamiakin team oozing with talent and no seniors.
Point guard Brendon Myers penetrated and slipped a nice pass underneath to a wide open Taylor Farnsworth for what would prove to be the winning basket with 46 seconds remaining.
Then Mead broke the Braves down with defense. Kamiakin’s Case Rada missed a 17-foot jumper that went in and out with :14 to go, but the Braves got the rebound. After a timeout with 3.4 seconds remaining, Mead fouled the Braves twice because it had two to give before the bonus. Bo Tully delivered both fouls and just as he fouled Rada the second time, the Brave managed to get off a shot that went in from 18 feet. But the referee who blew the whistle waved off the shot, saying the foul was committed before the shot.
Still, Kamiakin had possession. Tully fronted Rada, but he caught a lob pass and spun around for a leaning 7-footer that glanced off the glass and rolled off the rim. Rada had two tip follows that didn’t fall as the horn sounded.
Mead senior post Aaron Dunn was standing at the top of the free-throw line, with his gut seemingly in his throat, as the final seconds ticked away.
“I was just praying that those weren’t going in,” said Dunn, who finished with a game-high 21 points and seven rebounds. “I thought the first one was in. That was a couple of crazy seconds. I was freaking out no doubt about it.”
Williams thought the Panthers were fortunate.
“We got a little lucky there at the end and we’ll take it,” Williams said. “It’s what everybody talks about in coaching when you get the highest of highs.”
Then Williams went on to talk about rock cutting.
“We’ve used the analogy of the rock cutter (this season),” he said. “I can’t remember the author of it, but he talks about to keep hammering and keep hammering and you never know when that thing’s going to break. It could be the 101st time after you’ve hammered it 100 times. That’s what the kids kept doing – they just kept hammering and hammering and we finally broke it open.”
Dunn led an efficient start for the Panthers. He made all five of his shots in the first half, going into intermission with 15 points.
“I honestly felt like everything was going in,” Dunn said. “I didn’t feel like one of them was a bad shot.”
It was an odd second quarter. After Kamiakin hit a 3-pointer 22 seconds into the period, Mead’s zone defense clamped down. The Braves didn’t score the rest of the half, allowing Mead to take a 29-20 lead into intermission.
Farnsworth hit a basket to open the third quarter, giving Mead its biggest lead at 31-20. But Kamiakin chipped away, finally finding some cracks in Mead’s zone.
Kamiakin used an 8-4 spurt to open the fourth period to tie the score at 43-43 with 4:34 to go.
The teams traded baskets before Farnsworth’s game winner.
“That was rugged intense playoff basketball game,” Williams said. “To have a group of kids who love each other so much and to see them bond together and reach this achievement …. I said to them we need to tack up a little more history in the gym. There are not a lot of state appearances there.”
Gonzaga Prep 56,
G-Prep opened a 16-7 lead after the first period and led comfortably 28-18 at halftime.
The Bullpups extended their lead to 42-26 going into the fourth quarter.
With G-Prep ahead 54-38, things got a little sloppy the final 2:14.
“We have some things to clean up against the press,”
Bullpups coach Matty McIntyre said. “At times we handled it fairly well and at
other times we didn’t execute as well as we could have.
Parker Kelly led G-Prep with 19 points and Ryan Nicholas had a double double – 15 points and 15 rebounds.
“It was all our defense,” McIntyre said. “The first three
quarters was all based on our defense in order to get that lead and put
Davis 59, University 52: The Pirates (19-7) opened a 33-24 lead by halftime and controlled thereafter.
Kyle Bailey led U-Hi (11-14) with 15 points.