When Gonzaga Prep has active hands on the defensive end, it can get out in transition quickly.
In the space of about 40 seconds midway through the first quarter against Shadle Park on Tuesday night, the Bullpups did just that.
After G-Prep coach Matty McIntyre called an early timeout, the Bullpups’ Sam Lockett and Anton Watson pulled off a pair of steals leading to fast-break dunks – one for Lockett and three for Watson, including an impressive alley-oop feed from Lockett – and G-Prep cruised past Shadle Park 76-48 in a Greater Spokane League boys basketball matchup.
Watson finished with 22 points and didn’t play much of the fourth quarter. Jamaari Jones added 16 points and Liam Lloyd chipped in 12.
Shadle opened an 11-6 lead after a couple of layups by Brock Leinweber and two buckets off the bench by Logan Liddicoat, including a 3-pointer.
McIntyre called for a timeout and G-Prep (7-0, 4-0) came out in the press after the pause. Watson broke loose for a dunk, and then Lockett picked up a steal and fed Watson with a fast-break alley-oop. Next time down, Watson came up with the steal and took it the length for a rim-rattling dunk.
“With Anton on the top of that press, there’s a lot of length there,” McIntyre said. “He can get his hands on a lot of passes and create some offensive opportunities for us.
“The press kind of woke us up a little bit. I thought we came out a little bit sluggish, but the press kind of kicked up our intensity. We got some momentum and after that our man-to-man looked a lot better.”
A 13-point run to close the frame allowed G-Prep to lead 19-11 after one stanza.
“We gave up the ball too easily,” Shadle Park coach Elijah Gurash said. “We gave them a chance to get some easy transition points and created a big hole for ourselves that we weren’t going to dig out of tonight.”
McIntyre gave most of his starters a rest at the start of the second quarter. Jones stayed in and scored six quick points, AJ Few nailed a 3-pointer from the corner and G-Prep busted out to a 28-13 lead with 4:46 left in the half.
The Bullpups’ point streak reached 11 before Liddicoat’s floater over Watson made it 30-15. Watson answered with a 3-pointer just before the break to give G-Prep a 20-point advantage.
Shadle’s Adrian Conway made a layup at the buzzer and G-Prep went to the locker with a 38-20 lead at intermission.
Watson led all scorers at the half with 14 and Jones added 12. Liddicoat paced Shadle with seven.
Watson picked up four quick points after the break, including a windup dunk, and Lloyd took over. He nailed a 3-pointer, then four consecutive free throws, and ended the quarter with another 3 as G-Prep went up 62-36 after three.
G-Prep’s reserves spent much of the fourth quarter grinding down the shot clock. Nick Drynan’s layup with about two minutes left made it a 30-point game.
Jake Groves led Shadle Park (4-3, 1-2) with 13 points and Liddicoat had 10 off the bench.
“This is his only second game back,” Gurash said of Liddicoat, who seemed to add a spark for the Highlanders whenever he came in.
Liddicoat has missed time this season with injury and the flu.
“He’s really battling back and he’s going to help us for sure,” Gurash said. “He’s going to provide a lot of depth that we need. He’s a very athletic kid.”
Gurash said it was a growth experience for his squad.
“I think we’re learning how to fight,” he said. “There were moments where we did, and there were moments where kids were doing some things we’ve been working on. We just have to be more consistent and not shoot ourselves in the foot.
“Once we can eliminate some of those mental mistakes, we’ll continue to get better.”
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.