TACOMA – As opening statements go, the Gonzaga Prep girls basketball team earned an A.
Bullpups coach Mike Arte was satisfied, but not content.
Gonzaga Prep started fast and controlled throughout, handling the Bothell Cougars 54-29 in the State 4A tournament quarterfinals Thursday at the Tacoma Dome.
The defending state champion Bullpups (25-0) take on Todd Beamer (24-1) in the semifinals tonight. Tip is at 9.
Todd Beamer defeated Walla Walla 55-48.
G-Prep wasn’t going to let the Cougars (20-6) get comfortable early. The Bullpups opened in fullcourt pressure, and that allowed G-Prep to get out to a 12-2 lead four minutes into the first quarter.
“We were really dialed in at the beginning,” Laura Stockton said. “Focus was a huge part.”
There wasn’t a point the Bullpups lost focus.
Bothell got the margin under double digits early in the third. But the Bullpups asserted domination again in a speedy manner.
They finished the quarter on a 15-0 run, taking a 49-25 lead into the fourth.
Otiona Gildon and Stockton played a nice combination of Batman and Robin. Gildon finished with a game-high 25 points and 12 rebounds. Stockton had 20 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and two steals as G-Prep ran its winning streak to 48.
“Oti was a monster at the high post,” Arte said.
Even better news for Arte is he got to sit Stockton the final 5:41 of the fourth and Gildon the last 4:49. Fatigue can be a factor in a three-day tourney.
What earned an A+ was G-Prep’s suffocating defense. The Cougars scored just eight points the final two quarters.
“Our defense was stellar,” Gildon said. “We definitely have a target on our back so we just need to show them what we’re made of and continue to play hard and together as a team.”
Stockton didn’t find much to dislike.
“These are the best eight teams in the state so it’s awesome to come out and show the state what we can do,” she said.
Said Gildon: “Coach always says we need to start off really strong and push the ball inside and then kick it out a little out of motion. We made sure we took the easy shots instead of jacking up shots early in the shot clock.”
Gildon expects the Bullpups to continue where they left off Thursday.
“We just need to continue to do what we do best,” Gildon said.
Arte said there are some things the Bullpups will give attention to before tonight’s game.
“Offensively, I thought at some points we were a little stagnant,” Arte said. “We weren’t working under their zone very well.”
Moses Lake 47, Skyview 36: After a nervous start, the Chiefs settled down in the second half.
The Chiefs (22-2) slowly built a lead in the final two quarters.
Moses Lake takes on Inglemoor (24-1) in the semifinals tonight. Inglemoor used a 17-0 start on its way to a 56-33 win over Bellarmine Prep.
The Chiefs used a 9-0 surge to build a 13-point lead late in the fourth.
Jessie Loera led the Chiefs with 15 points, three steals and three assists.
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