Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Sunday, September 22, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Day 71° Partly Cloudy

Benzel’s shot lifts Ferris over Mead in boys basketball

Mead’s Max Hess swoops under the long arms of Ferris’ 6-9 Jensen Rye for a successful layup. (Jesse Tinsley)
Mead’s Max Hess swoops under the long arms of Ferris’ 6-9 Jensen Rye for a successful layup. (Jesse Tinsley)

The play was designed to go to Cody Benzel.

The play wasn’t designed for the Ferris senior shooter to have to make a twisting, turning jump shot while being pushed.

Benzel made an awkward 9-footer to break a 63-all tie with 27 seconds remaining to lift the Saxons past the visiting Mead Panthers 67-63 in a well-played Greater Spokane League boys basketball game Friday.

“We had to get a shot because the (shot clock) was going down,” Benzel said. “I just turned around, jumped and threw it up there and it went in. I was getting pushed and I caught it. I wasn’t really able to turn around because my feet were messed up. I jumped and did a 180 and put it up there.”

Benzel, who had 29 and 23 points in the Saxons’ first two games, finished with 16 hard-earned points and six rebounds. He made both ends of a one-and-one with 7 seconds remaining to finish off the scoring.

For most of the game, Mead used a box-and-one on Benzel, usually guarding him with Thomas Kautzman and zoning the other four Saxons.

“I knew that Cody was going to be face-guarded hard so I had to step up and make some points to help our team win,” said Ferris senior guard Matt Belles, who had a season-high 21 points, 19 coming in the first half.

With the Panthers (2-2, 1-1) guarding Benzel closely, Belles had a nice start – one that the Saxons (3-0, 3-0) needed. He made 5 of 7 3-point shots in the first half.

After a slow start, Mead got going quickly midway through the first quarter. A basket by Brenden Johnson gave the Panthers a 23-19 lead going into the second quarter.

A 10-1 run gave Mead its biggest lead at 33-24 with 4:31 to go before halftime.

But the Saxons fought back. Belles hit three of his 3-pointers in the final 4:12 as Ferris pulled into a 38-all tie by halftime.

The Saxons’ 6-foot-9 senior post Jensen Rye, strapped with foul trouble in the first half, got a dunk and made two free throws to give Ferris its biggest margin at 51-43 midway through the third.

Mead cut it to 53-50 going into the final period.

A basket inside by Rye off an assist from Cole Karstetter allowed Ferris to open another eight-point lead at 61-53 with 3:48 to go. But the Panthers didn’t go away, using back-to-back steals off a press and a 3-pointer by Will McPhee and a basket by Anthony Gold to pull even at 63-63 before Benzel finished off the Panthers.

“We’re going to have some games like this when we’re not playing the best but we have to come through as a unit,” Benzel said. “I thought we did that tonight.”

McPhee led Mead with 22 points. He made 5 of 7 3-pointers. Brandon Pettersen had 12 points and Kautzman had 11 to go with six rebounds.

Karstetter had six assists and six rebounds.

University 74, Lewis and Clark 62: The visiting Tigers (1-4, 0-3) were no match for the Titans (2-1) in the middle quarters. Robert Little led U-Hi with 23 points and eight rebounds. He made 5 of 9 3-pointers. Michael Isoltalo added 14. Connor Hojnacki led LC with 23 points and six 3s.

Gonzaga Prep 83, Rogers 57: Four Bullpups reached double-figure scoring in a runaway at Rogers. Reed Hopkins scored 14 of his 23 points in the first quarter to lead G-Prep (2-1), Ryan Alexander had 15, Jamil Foster 14 and Brendon McClary 13. Trysten Carl led Rogers (0-4, 0-3) with 18 points, Robert Rucker had 13 and Dominic Sanders added 10. G-Prep opened a 44-27 lead by halftime.

Mt. Spokane 53, North Central 35: No details were reported.

Subscribe to the sports newsletter

Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.

You have been successfully subscribed!
There was a problem subscribing you to the newsletter. Double check your email and try again, or email