Another game, another win and another player emerges as a go-to possibility for the Gonzaga Prep boys basketball team.
Junior point guard Chris Sarbaugh, who hadn’t scored in double figures in the Bullpups’ first four games, broke through in impressive fashion Friday, finishing with 17 points, six rebounds and three steals to lead G-Prep to a 69-50 win over visiting Ferris in Greater Spokane League play.
Sarbaugh, whose mop-like hair is similar to that of Matt Bouldin of the more senior Gonzaga University team, did a little bit of everything. Perhaps more important than the offensive contributions was his defense – especially after G-Prep’s slow start.
Ferris, off to a late start because of its extended football season, broke out like it had been the team playing for a month, not two weeks. The Saxons, behind three 3-pointers, opened a 13-2 lead when Chris Wilson hit the third 3-pointer at the 4:42 mark.
“We weren’t talking on defense, we weren’t helping as much and we weren’t closing out (on shooters),” Sarbaugh said. “We weren’t playing team defense. We came out kind of flat. We’re always ready against the Big Red (Ferris), but I think it was nerves.”
G-Prep coach Matty McIntyre called a timeout.
“There was no panic, no deer-in-the-headlight looks on their faces,” McIntyre said of his players. “We just went back to our defensive principles. The kids showed a lot of maturity.”
The turnaround wasn’t quite as quick as the Saxons’ start, but was effective nonetheless.
A driving basket by Sarbaugh gave the Bullpups (5-0, 2-0 GSL) their first lead at 21-20 with 3:46 to go before halftime. G-Prep never relinquished the lead.
Sarbaugh got a steal less than a minute into the second half and turned it into a crowd-pleasing dunk as a runaway victory was on.
“It starts on the defensive end,” Sarbaugh said. “The offense comes easy after that. Our intensity picked up and we were talking on defense after the start.”
G-Prep senior post Ryan Nicholas had his usual contributions. But his game-high 20 points, to go with nine rebounds and two assists, were hard earned. The Saxons front and sagging defense made Nicholas work for everything.
“Team after team will try to do that to Ryan,” McIntyre said. “He can get his points in a lot of ways. Tonight it was off offensive rebounds and in transition.”
Bullpups junior guard Parker Kelly, who hit seven 3-pointers in a league-opening win over University on Tuesday, also had to work for his points Friday. The Saxons did a good job knowing where Kelly was most of the game. Still, he finished with 11.
Ferris coach Don Van Lierop said his short-handed team (0-2, 0-1), which was playing in its league opener, played much better than it did in a season-opening 74-61 loss at Shadle Park a week earlier.
“I thought it was a really good effort – better than a week ago,” he said. “The bright spot for us is we’ll peak at the right time. We just have to be realistic and have some patience.”
The Saxons also played without two injured starters from last year – Jordan Tonani (leg) and Taylor Kamitomo (wrist). Both are recovering from football injuries.
Connor Halliday led Ferris with 16.
Ferris turns around and plays host to North Central in a makeup of a non-league game Monday and is at Lewis and Clark in a rescheduled league game Tuesday.
University 56, Central Valley 49: The Titans (3-1, 1-1) held the visiting Bears (3-2, 0-2) to two points in the first quarter, and the start proved to be the difference.
Spencer Drury and Kyle Bailey led U-Hi with 11 points apiece and Tony Tabish chipped in 10.
Scott Simon led CV with 16 points.
U-Hi led 44-31 going into the fourth quarter. Titans post Joe Dahl had nine rebounds.
Mead 58, Lewis and Clark 43: The Panthers pulled off an inside job at home. Post Aaron Dunn had a double-double – 22 points and 10 rebounds – to lead Mead (4-1, 2-0).
The Panthers held the Tigers (1-2, 0-1) to 32-percent shooting from the field while Mead shot 49 percent. The Panthers also outrebounded Lewis and Clark 35-21.
Levi Taylor led LC with 13 points.
Mead’s Bo Tully, who had 10 points, had five assists as the Panthers had 17 assists on 21 baskets.
LC cut the Panthers’ lead to nine points in the third quarter, but couldn’t get any closer. Mead built its biggest lead at 19 in the final period.
Shadle Park 52, East Valley 44: Ryan McIntyre and Ronnie Jarvis kept the visiting Knights (0-5, 0-2) in the game with their 3-point shooting.
But it wasn’t enough to counter the Highlanders (4-2, 2-0), who clamped down on defense in the fourth quarter, limiting the Knights to one field goal.
Taylor Pettersen led SP with 17 points, 15 in the second half. Teammates Brett Boese and Robby Douglas added 14 and 12, respectively.
McIntyre and Jarvis each made three 3-pointers. McIntyre had 15 points and Jarvis finished with 13.
North Central 68, Mt. Spokane 44: The Indians shot the best from the field they’ve shot all season and it translated into a runaway victory.
NC (3-3, 2-0) shot 51 percent from the field. Isaiah Antoine led three players in double figures with 12 points. Teammates Lucas Evans and Brandon Olsen had 11 and 10, respectively.
Hunter Hahn led the Wildcats (0-5, 0-1) with 16.
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