Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Rain 50° Rain
Sports >  High school sports

State 2B boys: Brewster holds off St. George’s in battle of traditional tournament powers

UPDATED: Fri., March 6, 2020

Brewster celebrates their 60-57 win over St. George’s during a State 2B boys semifinal game on Friday, March 6, 2020, at the Spokane Arena. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Brewster celebrates their 60-57 win over St. George’s during a State 2B boys semifinal game on Friday, March 6, 2020, at the Spokane Arena. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
By Dan Thompson For The Spokesman-Review

The St. George’s Dragons have become accustomed to big games at the state tournament, but on Friday night, one of the most successful programs in 2B history got the best of them.

Just barely.

The second-seeded Dragons had multiple chances to take the lead in the final two minutes, but each time the Bears’ defense stifled them. Senior Dan Rigsby’s double-clutch 3-point attempt rimmed off in the final seconds, and Brewster held on for a 60-57 victory.

It sends the fourth-seeded Bears to their first state championship game since it returned to the 2B classification. It won 1A state titles in 2003, 2004 and 2007 but hasn’t won a 2B title since 1985. St. George’s lost to Kittitas in the last two state title games.

Brewster (24-3) will play Life Christian in the championship game at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Spokane Arena.

On Friday, St. George’s (21-5) trailed by as many as nine but was in position late to take the lead or tie on three straight possessions late.

Trailing 58-57 with 15 seconds left, Rigsby tried to draw a foul but his shot rimmed short. With 13.6 seconds left, Brewster junior Cade Gebbers missed the front end of a 1-and-1 but got his own long rebound.

He went back to the line with 8.8 seconds left and again missed – but St. George’s was called for a lane violation, so Gebbers got another try.

On the third go, he made both, giving the Bears a 60-57 lead before Rigsby’s final shot missed.

“You gotta block out,” St. George’s coach Ryan Peplinski said of the final sequence. “Other than that I thought we played a great game. The kids showed a lot of heart. (The Bears are) really good and I thought we played well enough to win.”

Except, he said, for the rebounding, where the Bears had a 35-26 advantage. Both teams shot just a shade better than 44%.

Bears senior Conner Ashworth proved difficult for the Dragons inside. He made 8 of 9 shots for a team-high 19 points.

After the Bears took a 21-16 lead through the first quarter, the Dragons hit their stride in the second. Aidan Kelly hit a pair of free throws, giving St. George’s a 25-23 lead that the Dragons extended to 38-33 at halftime.

But after the half, the Bears used a 9-2 run to storm back ahead. The Dragons never led again. Junior Nick Watkins scored a game-high 23 points on 9-of-21 shooting.

St. George’s faces Willapa Valley in the third-place game at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Life Christian 65, Willapa Valley 42: Junior Omari Maulana and sophomore Bradley Swillie combined to score 30 points for the fifth-seeded Eagles, who reached the State 2B championship game for the first time.

LCA led 21-6 after the first quarter and 37-15 at half, burying the 10th-seeded Vikings (21-8). A night after scoring a season-high 30 in the quarterfinals, Willapa Valley junior Logan Walker was held to eight points on 2-of-8 shooting.

The Eagles hit 27 of 67 field-goal attempts and had a 54-30 advantage in rebounds. They won despite a 3-for-15 night at the free-throw line.

The Eagles are now 23-3, with two losses coming to 3A schools and the other by forfeit.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Subscribe to the sports newsletter

Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.