It was always going to come to this.
Central Valley lapped the field in the Greater Spokane League this season – hardly challenged – winning by an average of 44-plus points per game.
After calming some initial nerves, the result on Friday was no different.
Lexie Hull scored 23 points before sitting much of the third and fourth quarters and Central Valley (23-0) routed GSL No. 2 seed Lewis and Clark (15-6) 59-22 in the District 8 4A championship game at the Spokane Arena.
Central Valley has spent most of the season No. 1 in WIAA’s RPI calculations and is ranked No. 4 in the nation by USA Today.
“We’ve got a lot more work to do,” CV coach Freddie Rehkow said. “This is just the first step. We got the GSL, now the district, and we’ve got one more to take care of. We’re going over there with a purpose.”
The Bears haven’t lost a game through districts in each of the past three seasons.
Asked if winning gets old, Rehkow answered, “No. Isn’t that why we do this?
“Love the kids. Love the game. When you’re winning, it’s fun.”
“It’s good every time,” Hull added.
Central Valley started slowly, uncharacteristically missing easy layups. The teams had combined for eight points at the media timeout halfway through the first quarter.
“We just missed too many bunnies,” Rehkow said. “I thought LC came out with a lot of intensity and got after us. We were just rushing things.
“I told them to slow down and play like they know how to play.”
“We couldn’t get into a run,” Hull said. “None of our shots were falling. I think maybe we were just too excited.”
Camryn Scaife’s 3-pointer gave CV its first lead with just more than 2 minutes left in first at 7-6. Lacie Hull followed with a 3-pointer and the Bears led 12-10 after the first quarter.
CV averaged nearly 70 points per game this season.
Lexie Hull, the reigning state Gatorade player of the year, heated up at the start of the second. She drilled a 3-pointer at the start of the frame, then sank a pair of free throws before burying another 3 and CV went up 20-12 midway through the second.
The lead reached 10 on another inside bucket by Hull. She added a fastbreak layup and followed a miss with a make.
Hull scored 14 of CV’s 16 points in the second quarter and Central Valley led 28-14 at the break.
“On any other team she probably would average 30-plus points a game,” Rehkow said. “But it’s not about scoring for her. It’s about just taking care of business.
The Bears came out with about 2 minutes left in intermission and were all business running the layup lines.
It might have helped. As expected, Lexie Hull led the charge. She hit a 3-pointer from the corner and the Bears scored the first 14 points of the frame.
Hailey Christopher made a driving layup off a dish from Lacie Hull. Just like that, Central Valley opened up a 30-point lead at 46-16.
Rehkow put the Hulls on the bench after the third-quarter media timeout.
It didn’t matter.
Tomekia Whitman converted a three-point play, Payton Howard went the length of the floor for a layup and Whitman picked up another easy bucket. CV led 53-16 after three quarters.
It went to running clock with 6 minutes remaining in the title game.
Jacinta Buckley led Lewis and Clark with 10 points.
University 61, Chiawana 55: Jacey Ramelow and Claire Dingus scored 16 points apiece and the Titans (17-7) eliminated the Riverhawks (19-6) to earn a trip to the regional round of state starting on Friday.
U-Hi, the GSL third seed, led by 11 at intermission. MCC No. 1 seed Chiawana stormed back, led by Kenedy Cartwright, who scored all of her team-high 19 points in the second half.
Cartwright put the Riverhawks up by one with a little more than 2 minutes left, but Kinsley Barrington hit both ends of a 1-and-1 and the Titans continued to make free throws as Chiawana was forced to foul.
“The pressure of the Arena and the game got to us a little bit, but when it came down to the end, calm heads prevailed,” U-Hi coach Jay Kennedy said.
Elli Boni added 15 points for U-Hi and Barrington finished with 12.
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