Two minutes into their basketball game with North Central, the Rogers Pirates had scored seven points and put the Indians on their heels.
But slow first-quarter starts have been common this year, NC coach Jay Webber said. His charges wiped out a 13-6 deficit in the final 2 minutes of the period, then turned the game over to Nathan Pelton.
Pelton’s 12 second-period points were the catalyst for the 64-54 comeback triumph at Rogers that left the Indians (6-3) in third place in the Greater Spokane League.
Pelton finished with 25 points, nearly half coming when NC outscored its hosts 28-8 during a span of more than 8 minutes in the first two quarters.
“You can’t measure how big (Pelton) is for us,” Webber said. “His heart is huge and he got us going. He got a few grinding to the basket, but got hot outside, too, which makes us tough.”
The game was important, coming as it did between two of the league’s 3A teams. The Pirates (4-5) had won their previous two games to move within a game of NC, which was coming off a 30-point loss to Gonzaga Prep.
The game, originally scheduled to be played at NC, had been moved to Rogers’ home court.
Jesse Vaughan and Dillon Franklin got Rogers off to the quick start and the team took a seven-point lead.
“You never want to start out like that, but for whatever reason the kids have kind of started slow in the first quarter and we’ve been outscored pretty good,” Webber said. “I’ve got to get a little more motivation for them before the game starts, I guess. But we had a good first half after the slow start.”
First, Lucas Evans scored five points in 50 seconds, and Dylan Harris made a 3-pointer in between to put the Indians ahead 14-13 after a quarter.
Then they added six consecutive points to open the second quarter, with two baskets by Pelton, before Vaughan ended Rogers’ 4-minute, 39-second scoring drought.
Pelton quickly countered with a 3-pointer and added five more points as the NC lead stretched to 34-21.
“I just started feeling it, I guess,” Pelton said of his hot quarter. “When we need a scorer I’m a scorer, and when we need to play defense I take the best guy. Tonight we needed a scorer.”
NC’s 12-point halftime lead was tested in the third quarter, with the Pirates cutting it to 46-40 as Vaughan scored six of his team-high 17 points. Two minutes into the final period, however, NC was ahead 54-40 and it was able to weather another Rogers rally.
“Coach tells us anytime you can get a win over another 3A team, it’s like two victories,” Pelton said.
Webber said he didn’t know if that’s true, but it certainly seems like it.
NC’s rally from the early seven-point deficit meant a two-game advantage over Rogers in the standings rather than the teams being tied.
Central Valley 71, Ferris 50: The new year has been good to the Bears (5-5), who have won four straight beginning on New Year’s Eve. Alex Howard scored 17 second-half points and finished with 26. He made six 3-pointers. Michael Williams scored 15 of his 22 in the second half and had nine rebounds. The hosts rallied by outscoring the Saxons (4-4) 43-28 in the second half, beginning with a 25-point third quarter.
University 65, Mead 58: The host Panthers (4-4) turned the ball over 25 times, leading to 21 Titans points and the road victory. U-Hi (2-7) outscored Mead 21-10 in the third quarter, with Ryan McInthyre and Curt Smith each scoring 14 points. Grant Fink of the Panthers led all scorers with 18.
Mt. Spokane 62, East Valley 47: The visiting Wildcats (4-4) rallied from an eight-point, first-quarter deficit and outscored the Knights (0-9) 20-8 in the fourth quarter. Connor Haley scored 19 points and had seven rebounds. Chaz Johnson added 18 points and Cory Plaggerman eight rebounds. Mt. Spokane had a 31-15 advantage on the boards.
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