Central Valley and Gonzaga Prep entered play tied for the Greater Spokane League No. 1 seed to the District 8 4A tournament with two league losses apiece.
With the Bullpups’ win over CV on opening night on Dec. 3, it was critical to the Bears’ chances for the league title to knock off G-Prep on Friday.
Despite missing one of their leading scorers due to injury, the Bears took care of business.
Grace Geldien scored 14 points, Michael Pitts added 13 and visiting Central Valley pulled away in the second half to beat G-Prep 56-38.
Reserve Abby Lewis scored a season-high eight points – all in the fourth quarter – to help the Bears ice it.
CV (11-3, 7-2) will be without senior shooting guard Anika Chalich for the rest of the season with a knee injury. Chalich, CV’s leading 3-point shooter, averaged nearly 10 points per game.
“We’ve had kind of a crazy week,” CV coach Felice Orrell said. “We’ve had finals. We had Ani go down. I mean, kind of an emotional week for us, but yeah, we pulled it out. Really proud of my kids.”
Fellow senior Peyton Howard, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, was sympathetic toward her teammate.
“It’s a big loss, yeah, especially for me just knowing how hard it is to go through that, and that’s a season under and she’s not playing after high school, so it’s a big loss and a lot to go through just personally, so we got to step up as teammates and really be there for her.”
“(Chalich) is huge for us,” Orrell said. “We’ve all been obviously heartbroken, but we’re gonna assign a new role for her, keep her going positive. Really proud a bunch of our kids stepped up tonight in different areas, defensively, hitting some big buckets. So, yeah, really proud of our kids.”
Pitts drilled a 3 midway through the first and the Bears led 13-4 after one.
G-Prep’s Julia McIntyre scored back-to-back buckets, then forced a turnover on defense to pull the Bullpups within three (14-11) midway through the second. Lakin Garnder’s first basket tied it at 17 with 1:29 left in the half and Sitara Byrd’s 3-pointer with 3 seconds left put G-Prep (11-4, 6-3) up 22-21 at halftime.
Howard popped a 3 early in the third, then scored on a fast break to put CV up by six. Chloe Williams hit a long 3 at the end and CV led 35-25 after three.
“We worked really hard on it this week,” Howard said. “Big practices, pushing each other really hard. We didn’t want to lose that game again.”
Lewis hit a couple of baskets early in the fourth to give the Bears a 16-point lead, then hit four straight free throws near the end.
“I think just things are going good for Abby when she’s attacking the basket,” Orrell said. “I think that first half, you know she was kind of having a few struggles with the press, but I’m really proud of her to figure it out at halftime and then switch to ‘let’s attack’ and finish up.”
Leah Carney led G-Prep with 13 points.
Around the league
Mead 39, North Central 28: Joelnell Momberg scored 12 points, Olivia Moore added 10 and the Panthers (11-4, 6-3) beat the Indians (5-11, 2-6). Sara Patrick led NC with 13 points.
University 85, Shadle Park 30: Ellie Boni scored 22 points and the Titans (7-8, 5-4) downed the visiting Highlanders (4-12, 0-8). Eliannah Ramirez scored 17 points and Tyler McCliment-Call added 15 for U-Hi. La Nia Thompson led Shadle with nine points.
Lewis and Clark 67, Rogers 17: Macey Grant scored 18 points, Andie Zylak had 15 and the visiting Tigers (7-7, 5-4) topped the Pirates (1-12, 0-8). Frosh Brooklyn Jenson added 12 points for LC. Sydney Vining led Rogers with eight.
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