TACOMA – Rick Sloan wasn’t begging for many more made baskets.
Just a couple here and there and the Central Valley boys basketball coach knows his team could have defeated the Curtis Vikings.
Try as they might, though, the Bears needed more than their usual hard-nosed defense. Curtis used some late dribble-drive baskets to hold off Central Valley 54-44 in a State 4A tournament opener Thursday at the Tacoma Dome.
CV (20-6) faces Issaquah (21-4) in a loser-out game Friday at 12:15.
“The sad part is they didn’t get our best shot,” Sloan said, no pun intended.
The Bears worked so hard to take a 26-24 lead into halftime. And they did it with their best offensive threat, Cameron Tucker, sitting on the bench for nine minutes in foul trouble.
“Our best player didn’t play much in the first half so we felt good about (the lead),” Sloan said.
CV shot 29 percent from the field (16 of 54), about 16 percent short of what it had been shooting the last couple weeks.
“To be in the game and shoot 29 (percent) is a tribute to these kids and the way they battled and played defense,” Sloan said.
Tanner Sloan made a 3-pointer to pull CV within 41-38 with 5:37 remaining. But offense was difficult to manufacture thereafter.
Rehkow led CV with 17 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots. He was the lone Bear in double figures. Lately the Bears had been much more balanced.
CV had to take chances in the final three minutes and the Vikings (24-3) took advantage, scoring on drives to the basket. John Moore was a particularly difficult matchup. He finished with 13 points.
“We had a couple bad possessions where we gave him an angle to the basket,” Sloan said, “and he took it.”
“They’re athletic, but with the way we play we can battle it out with our tough defense,” Rehkow said. “There were just a couple of mental errors that cost us in the end – not boxing out or getting up too close into them and they blew by us. We wanted to get up into them and force something but we also have to remember to play the way we’re taught and we just didn’t do it.”
CV took more 3-point attempts than usual, making just 6 of 25.
“We could have beaten them, no question about it,” Sloan said. “I was proud of our effort. I just felt bad for the kids because they picked a bad time to have a not-so-good offensive game.”
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