It helps to have a little experience on your side.
Griffin Effenberger took an inbound play for Lewis and Clark with 11 seconds to go, went the length of the court and banked in an off-balance shot as time expired and the Tigers beat Ferris 44-42 in the teams’ Greater Spokane League rivalry game at the Spokane Arena on Tuesday.
“The play was to Naje (Smith) and they doubled him,” Lewis and Clark coach Jim Redmon said. “So we said it was either Griff, Naje or Jonny (Love). We wanted the ball in one of their hands and we just said, ‘Take the last shot.’ ”
Effenberger calmly brought it up to the free throw line, then drove the lane and tried to draw contact as he went to the rim. He didn’t need it as his leaner sank.
“When you have those three, it’s hard to guard three,” Redmon said of his leading scorers. “But I knew when (Effenberger) got it, he was going to take it. It’s great to have that.”
“Naje is probably our best player, a four-year starter,” Effenberger said. “One of the best in the GSL. But coach trusted me to make that shot, and I did.
“I work on my game a lot. I work on my game every day. I have faith in my abilities and to score that basket.”
Effenberger finished with 15 points, while Smith led the Tigers with 18 – including a pair of spectacular dunks.
Damion Carter and Shamrock Campbell had 12 points apiece for Ferris.
Lewis and Clark (9-6, 6-3) came into the contest rated 17th in state 4A, while Ferris (13-2, 7-2) entered at No. 3.
“We haven’t played to our potential,” Redmon explained. “Our problem, not others. I’m just hoping this springboards us a little bit.”
The teams struggled shooting early and Ferris led 5-1 when Redmon called an early timeout. The Tigers got the message. Smith threw down a dunk and LC went on a 12-4 run through the rest of the first quarter. Xavier Guillory’s putback gave LC a 13-9 lead after one.
The Tigers used a six-point spurt midway through the second quarter to open up a 23-16 lead, but Ferris responded by scoring the final five points of the frame – all by Damion Carter – and LC led 23-21 at intermission.
Guillory led the Tigers with nine points in the half and Smith added eight, while Carter paced the Saxons with nine.
Neither team led by more than three points in the second half as both teams settled into a zone defense and they waited each other out.
Effenberger’s floater tied at 40 with 3:32 left and LC called time out after getting the ball back. Smith scored on a reverse layup to make it 42-40, but Shamrock Campbell’s layup tied it at 42 with just over one minute to go.
Ferris got the ball back with 48 seconds left after Damion Carter tied up a loose ball off a miss. Ferris worked the clock, but Campbell missed a long 3 and the Tigers took the ball back with 11 seconds to go, setting up Effenberger’s heroics.
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