The first time the Gonzaga Prep boys basketball team met Lewis and Clark in late December, the Bullpups were timid and lacked all signs of intensity.
The return matchup 13 days later between Greater Spokane League co-leaders was a 180-degree difference for Gonzaga Prep.
The Bullpups held Lewis and Clark to 19 fewer points in a 51-44 victory Tuesday.
The tall Tigers outrebounded G-Prep 42-17 in the first game. The Bullpups got LC by six this time.
“I think we came in a little overconfident the first time,” G-Prep guard Kea Vargas said. “We just let them outwork us. We came hungry for them this time.”
Now No. 4-ranked G-Prep (11-1 overall, 9-1 league) has a one-game lead over LC (9-3, 8-2), Central Valley and Shadle Park.
“Our energy tonight from the beginning to the end was a lot better than last game,” G-Prep forward Devin Culp said.
Culp and Vargas were in the middle of all things good Tuesday. Vargas had a team-high 13 points including three 3-pointers at key moments and Culp came off the bench for 12 points, five rebounds and four assists.
G-Prep used a 9-2 surge to open a 14-7 lead midway in the first quarter. Although LC would battle back at different times, the Tigers never took a lead.
Vargas hit a step back 3-pointer to give G-Prep a 28-17 lead with 1:32 to go before halftime before the Bullpups went into the break leading 28-19.
LC used a 7-0 run to knot the score at 31-31 when 6-foot-9 Vaughn Handel hit a turnaround jumper in the key with 4:47 remaining in the third.
But three points from Culp and a 3-pointer from Vargas allowed the Bullpups to take a 37-31 lead into the final quarter.
Twice LC pulled within a point in the fourth. The Tigers had three straight possessions where they had a chance to take the lead, but G-Prep wouldn’t budge.
“When we faced adversity, our defense kept us in there,” G-Prep coach Matty McIntyre said. “We didn’t quite let them get over the hump – even though they were making runs at us.”
A key shot for G-Prep came when Culp had the ball at the top of the free-throw line, drove right and spun back left before a soft shot with his opposite hand banked in to put the Bullpups ahead 47-41 with 1:36 to go.
“I was falling down and luckily it went in,” Culp said. “I was going to go right but Naje (Smith) cut me off so I just spun and kind of off-balance threw it up and in.”
Justin Martin made three 3-pointers, finishing with 12 points to lead LC.
University 80, Rogers 58: The Titans (5-7, 5-5) scored a game’s worth of points (48) in the first half, pulling away early from the visiting Pirates (2-10, 2-8). Austin Dill led U-Hi with 20 points and Spencer Matt, in his second game back from a knee injury, had 19. Denzel Brantley led Rogers with 17 and KJ Hassett scored 12.
Ferris 61, Mt. Spokane 32: Defense propelled the visiting Saxons (6-6, 5-5) past the Wildcats (2-10, 1-9). Jace Van Lierop led Ferris with 17 points and Mike Ervin had 14. Ben Stevens led Mt. Spokane with eight.
Shadle Park 68, Mead 53: Leading by four at halftime, the Highlanders (9-3, 8-2) outscored the visiting Panthers (7-6, 4-6) 20-11 in the third to open a cushion. Tanner Groves led Shadle with 24 points and 12 rebounds, Kobe Reece had 16 points and Andreas Brown had 10 rebounds. Bailey Hiebert led Mead with 14 points.
Central Valley 67, North Central 24: The visiting Bears (10-2, 8-2) shut out the Indians (0-12, 0-10) 25-0 in the second quarter. Cameron Tucker led CV with 18 points and Ryan Rehkow and Josh Thomas each had 15. Damion Carter led NC with 11.
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