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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Northwest Christian downs Brewster, needs “one more” for State B title

Vince Grippi Correspondent

The chant began as soon as the Northwest Christian boys reached their Arena locker room.

“One more win, one more win.”

After dominating previously undefeated Brewster 73-58 in Friday night’s State 2B semifinal, the Crusaders need, yes, one more win for their eighth State B basketball title.

“We knew who we were playing and how good they were,” said senior David Olds of the Bears, ranked No. 1 most of the year. “They are a great team.”

And, to get past a great team, the Crusaders (25-2) knew they would have to play great. Or, as coach Ray Ricks said, “their best basketball ever.”

Which might be the appropriate description of the first quarter.

With Ryan Ricks on fire – he hit four quick-release 3-pointers in the first 8 minutes – and the defense on point – Brewster was just 3 of 14 from the floor with three turnovers – Northwest Christian led 25-7 after a quarter.

“The cool thing is,” Ray Ricks said, “the guys hit shots.”

And not just a few.

NWC was 14 of 26 from the floor in the first half, including hitting half of its 12 3-pointers. And the Crusaders did it playing a little differently than usual.

“We thought if we slowed it down and played at (a slower) tempo, we would be in control of the game,” said Olds, and that’s what Northwest Christian did.

Ricks, the coach, said the idea was to run some offense then finish off each 30 seconds with a “special,” or a set play. Often it was for Ryan Ricks, who finished with 27 points, three assists and no turnovers, despite handling the ball against Brewster’s pressure all night.

Or it was for Olds, who hit five 3-pointers en route to 19 points. If that didn’t work, there was junior post Asher Cox to clean up inside. The 6-foot-7 Cox had nine rebounds and 21 points.

The Crusaders cooled off some – they were under 50 percent from the floor after halftime – but never gave Brewster (25-1) anything easy, mainly because they took care of the ball. And they defended efficiently.

Ricks pointed out 6-2 Nathan Sander kept 6-4 Chance Williams off the offensive glass – Brewster had just three extra chances through three quarters – and the rest of the Crusaders did a nice job of executing the defensive game plan.

Timbo Taylor led Brewster with 16 points but took 15 shots to get them. The Bears shot 21 percent in the first half and 33 percent overall.

Now Northwest Christian is in the final once more. To get another gold ball, the Crusaders will have to get past Mossyrock (21-7, winners of 11 of its last 12 games) on Saturday at 3 p.m.

“It’s definitely within reach,” Olds said of the title. “We know if focus up for (today’s) game and play as hard as we did tonight, we can come away with the win.”

Only one more is needed.