Matty McIntyre wasn’t trying to be prophetic.
As it turned out, though, the Gonzaga Prep boys basketball coach was right. Things tighten up in the postseason – especially among Greater Spokane League teams.
Fourth-seeded University gave the top-seeded Bullpups all they wanted and more before host Gonzaga Prep prevailed 61-55 in a District 8 tournament opener Thursday.
Second-ranked G-Prep (20-1) secured a berth to the subregional with the Mid-Columbia Conference along with third-seeded Central Valley, which needed overtime before leaving Lewis and Clark with a 70-62 victory.
CV (17-4) visits G-Prep in the title game Friday to decide subregional seeding. At the same time, U-Hi (10-12) goes to LC (16-5) in an elimination game to determine the third seed. Tipoff at both games is 7:30.
Gonzaga Prep 61, University 55: A basket by Nick Lerma gave the Titans their final lead at 46-44 with 6:44 remaining.
Braden Morse made two free throws and followed with a basket in the key to put G-Prep ahead to stay at 50-46 with 5:16 to go.
Still, U-Hi, which played well for 3 1/2 quarters, had its chances.
The key basket for G-Prep came when Sam Lockett reversed and drove to his left, hitting a difficult shot off the glass to put the Bullpups up 57-53 with 59 seconds to go.
G-Prep converted both ends of one-and-ones the final 23 seconds to widen the margin in an otherwise tightly contested game.
“Sam had that great take to the rim to get us up by four,” McIntyre said. “We made just enough plays at the end to get the job done. It was a battle for 32 minutes and that’s what playoff basketball is all about.”
The final minutes belonged to G-Prep.
“It comes down to one or two possessions and I can think of about 10 that we usually do better,” U-Hi coach Garrick Phillips said. “I give Gonzaga Prep a lot of credit for their defense. They’re a really good team. We definitely had our chances. It hurts.”
U-Hi made six 3-pointers in the first half but only two in the final two quarters.
“It was a point of emphasis coming into the game,” G-Prep guard Logan Adams said of U-Hi’s perimeter game. “We talked about it at halftime and made some adjustments.”
Adams led G-Prep with 17 points. Morse, Kea Vargas and Anton Watson had 10 apiece. Watson had eight rebounds and Lockett finished with five assists.
Spencer Matt led U-Hi with 17 points and Austin Dill had 16.
Central Valley 70, Lewis and Clark 62 OT: Justis Simmons hit a game-tying 3-pointer to send the game to overtime and then made two more as the Bears prevailed at LC. Simmons led CV with 18 points and Cameron Tucker had 15. Naje Smith led LC with 17 and Isaiah Hernandez had 16.
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