So whether the defending State 4A girls basketball champions were going to win Saturday wasn’t the question.
It was the execution and efficiency that pleased Gonzaga Prep coach Mike Arte most.
With a laser-like focus, the No. 1-ranked Bullpups ran roughshod over the Curtis Vikings 73-30 in a regional round of state game at Mt. Spokane High School.
Before most seats were warm, Gonzaga Prep had opened a 15-2 lead. By the end of the first quarter it was 19-3.
So, coach, how do you keep your focus?
“It’s more all about ourselves, how we play,” Arte said. “It’s all about us, it’s not about the other team.”
Gonzaga Prep, 24-0 and winners of 47 straight games, will learn this afternoon its draw for the three days at the Hardwood Classic at the Tacoma Dome.
By halftime, the Bullpups were so far in front at 39-15 it was a matter of how big the margin would grow in the final two quarters.
Arte used the second half, though, to get most of his substitutes a lot of playing time. He said it was a non-pressure situation to get them prepared in case they’re needed in Tacoma.
Otiona Gildon took a nice pass from Stockton and finished inside to put the Bullpups ahead 52-21 with 3:55 left in the third quarter.
G-Prep’s four returning starters – Stockton, Gildon, Oona Harrington and Lauren Weir – played less than three quarters. Stockton, Gildon and Harrington sat on the bench the whole fourth period.
“Used to be a day when we made state like this we’d be shooting off fireworks and celebrating,” Arte said. “Now it’s like we’re expected to be there, right?”
So Arte was more than pleased that his team didn’t look at the game as a potential mismatch and used a typical business-like approach.
“We’ve been sitting for eight days so it was good to have a game,” he said. “Even though we had a game like that, it was much better to play a game than to have another practice so you can work on things in live situations with live ammunition.”
Stockton finished with a game-high 22 points, three steals and two assists. Gildon added 17 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and two steals. Harrington had 10 points, and six more players scored.
“We just realized that there are going to be more games for us (at state) that are going to be a lot harder than that so playing to the best of our abilities and getting prepared for what’s next was really important,” Stockton said. “I thought we were relentless. Throughout the bench everybody was playing really hard.”
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