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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

GSL girls: Defense keys CV victory

After 15 minutes in the locker room, the Central Valley girls basketball team headed to Dick’s to get its reward Friday evening.

Bears coach Freddie Rehkow told his players that if they took care of business he’d treat them to milkshakes.

In a game that fell short of offensive brilliance, No. 1-ranked Central Valley all but clinched the Greater Spokane League championship with a difficult 42-39 win over the Lewis and Clark Tigers.

Truth be told, the Bears needed the milkshakes – at least to replenish the energy spent defending and rebounding. And to help them reload for that rare Saturday contest in a three-game week.

And another reason the Bears needed some nourishment was at least four starters played through sickness.

“It’s like an emphysema ward in there right now,” Rehkow said when he emerged from the locker room.

Rehkow wasn’t complaining. He’s grateful his players are sick now, rather than come postseason.

“Is that what you call an ugly barnburner?” Rehkow asked to nobody in particular.

Both teams were out of sync offensively. Some of that was because both teams played stingy defense.

Still, the teams played to an 11-11 tie at the end of the first quarter. But that’s when CV’s defense took over.

LC went nearly eight scoreless minutes in the second period when Taylor Cunningham made a 3-pointer with a second left before halftime.

“We focus on defense a lot because we know we can have defense every game even if our offense isn’t working well,” CV sophomore wing Lexie Hull said. “Defense definitely saved us tonight. LC’s such a good team that we had to rely on our defense.”

Hull led CV with 18 points and 11 rebounds.

CV (17-0 overall, 15-0 league) had opportunities to open up the game, but stubborn LC (13-4, 13-2) wouldn’t budge.

“We knew we had to get them running but LC did an incredible job,” Rehkow said. “They were just as tired as us. We told the girls (at halftime) we had to keep going, somebody’s going to let up, but nobody did.”

Cunningham hit a 3-pointer to pull LC within 39-37 with 2:55 remaining. The Tigers had chances to cut into the margin, but a couple of turnovers and errant shots were their undoing in the end.

CV freshman Mady Simmelink, who Rehkow said was probably his sickest player, drew the assignment of defending LC sharpshooter Riley Lupfer, who scored 10 points but needed 15 shots to do so.

“I’ve never had a player gut it out like Mady,” Rehkow said. “We told her that was one of the best (defensive) jobs ever on Riley. Mady just kept battling. She’ll get one of the wristbands we hand out for an outstanding job.”

Cunningham led LC with 12 points and five rebounds.

North Central 60, Ferris 40: The Indians (7-10, 7-8) opened on an 18-0 run and never looked back in topping the visiting Saxons (5-12, 4-11). Megan Dean led the Indians with 18 points, Quincy McDeid had 13 and Lexie Brandt added 11. Abby Muelheim led Ferris with 11.

Mt. Spokane 61, Shadle Park 42: After the teams played to a 20-20 tie at half, the Wildcats (10-7, 8-7) outscored the visiting Highlanders (2-15, 2-13) 39-22 the final two quarters. Jordan Smith led Mt. Spokane with 24 points and eight rebounds and Jaidyn Smith added 10 points. Makenna Grier had 15, while Abby Bauernfeind and Willow Risinger had 11 apiece for Shadle.

Mead 57, Rogers 35: The Panthers (11-6, 10-5) shut out the visiting Pirates (1-16, 0-15) 15-0 in the first quarter. Amanda Chan led Mead with 14 points. Atyzha Upton led the Pirates with 13.