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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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University’s Spencer Matt back playing basketball 6 months after knee surgery

It’s nothing short of remarkable that University senior Spencer Matt is back playing basketball six months after reconstructive knee surgery.

Matt was feared lost for the year when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in his right knee in the championship of the Ferris tournament in early July. He had surgery July 16.

Worst case scenario Matt couldn’t play for nine months. Best case was six months.

His first game back, Jan. 8, Matt scored seven points. He’s averaged 13.3 points in four games.

“It feels good to be back out there,” Matt said.

Said U-Hi coach Garrick Phillips: “He’s a very, very hard worker and has great desire, too. Obviously he was putting himself at risk to be able to help his team. He’s got great character. This means so much to him.”

He had to meet the 10-day practice policy to be eligible.

“It was the last play of the championship game against Gonzaga Prep,” Matt said, recalling the injury. “I tried to shoot a deep 3 to tie the game. I got fouled, that’s when it tore, right when I planted to shoot I got hit in the knee.”

Matt set a goal for the best-case scenario.

“I worked really hard,” he said. “It feels pretty good. The conditioning is coming back. I played the whole game (Friday) and felt pretty good.”

Matt’s return couldn’t be timelier for University. With Gonzaga Prep, Lewis and Clark and Central Valley locks for the top three district spots, Ferris (6-5), U-Hi (6-6) and Mead (5-7) are fighting for the fourth spot. The fifth seed travels to No. 4 in a loser-out game to decide the fourth and final seed to district.

“With (six) games left, we’re figuring out how to play together,” Phillips said. “It’s great to add a proven player like Spencer. We showed the first time through (league play) that we can be really good or really bad. If we can put it together we can be scary. Everything starts over at playoff time. I think we can be pretty dangerous.”

The biggest think Matt adds is the ability to shoot late in the shot clock – something the Titans have lacked.

“I’m going to try to do everything I can to help us where we need it,” Matt said.

Dream Duals

The Dream Duals have outgrown their recent home.

They’re going from East Valley High to the Spokane Convention Center on Saturday.

“We’ve ramped it up to a larger number of teams,” duals director and EV coach Craig Hanson said.

Eight teams will compete in 4A, 3A, 2A and 1A divisions. There will be five in the B division.

In 4A, University and Mead will join a solid field that includes Moses Lake and Chiawana.

Arguably the deepest and stiffest field is in 3A where most of the teams are ranked. Third-ranked Mt. Spokane and No. 6 North Central will join top-ranked Kamiakin and second-ranked Edmonds-Woodway.

Defending state champ and No. 1-ranked Clarkston headlines the 2A field.

Freeman, Lakeside and Deer Park are in the 1A field.

Wrestling begins at 8 a.m. with eight rounds. Admission is $10 for an all-day pass, $5 for youth and $25 for a family.

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