When the surge of COVID cases due to the omicron variant a few weeks ago pushed rivalry week at the Arena into February, Central Valley and University decided to play their league games against each other on the date originally scheduled for the “Stinky Sneaker” spirit game.
U-Hi’s boys and CV girls pulled out wins on Jan. 20, leaving Tuesday’s showdown at the Arena as a pair of nonleague affairs, tuneups before the District 8 tournament starts this weekend.
On the girls side, the seedings were set. Central Valley is the Greater Spokane League No. 3 seed to the 4A tourney awaiting its matchup with the Mid-Columbia Conference No. 4 seed, while U-Hi travels to Hermiston for a 3A first-round game on Friday.
The boys side was much more convoluted, as the Bears and Titans had to wait to see how Tuesday’s league slate shook out before learning their seeds. But it didn’t hamper the competitive spirit on the court or in the stands.
“It’s the Stinky Sneaker, no one can hear anything,” Central Valley coach Felice Orrell said. “It’s so fun.”
Central Valley 67, University 52: Dylan Darling scored 30 points, hitting 11 of 12 from the line, and the Bears (14-6) downed the Titans (12-8) in the late game.
Combined with Gonzaga Prep’s 64-60 overtime win over Mt. Spokane, the Bears secured the second GSL 4A seed to the district tournament.
Darling got help from Nathan Rowell with 13 points and Daniel Crowley had 12 for the Bears.
“That’s kind of always the key for us is, you know, we talk about making winning plays, and (Darling’s) got to get the guys when they’re open and they got to make shots,” Central Valley acting coach Geoff Arte said.
“Man, they’re huge,” Darling said of his teammates. “They’re just as important in this offense as I am and they were balling night.”
Sophomore post Shane Skidmore led U-Hi with 17 points. All-league point guard Jeremiah Sibley added 12.
U-Hi’s 6-foot-8 all-league post Conrad Bippes missed the contest, required to sit out after receiving two technical fouls last time out against Mt. Spokane.
In the first meeting this season between the rivals, Bippes scored 26 points to lead U-Hi to a 74-59 win, in which Darling finished with 39.
Despite it being a nonleague game, Darling said it’s been circled on the calendar for a while.
“It was super important senior year,” he said. “Me and the guys, we got it done. It’s been some we’ve been looking forward to.”
CV led 18-14 after the first quarter. After the lead grew to double digits early in the second quarter, U-Hi coach Garrick Phillips asked for time.
That didn’t slow down the Bears. Darling hit a 3, Rowell added one a bit later, and CV led 35-22 at halftime.
Crowley’s 3 at the 3-minute mark of the third quarter made it 51-31.
Sibley’s three-point play with just under 3 minutes made got it back to 10, but the Bears worked the shot clock down to 3, then Darling made a long 3 to ice it and both benches emptied to get everyone dressed into the game.
“It was really fun,” Arte said of the atmosphere. “It was kind of weird that it was a nonleague game, so it took a little of the pressure off of it. But yeah, it’s always fun when you get to have these community games.”
Central Valley 46, University 35: Autumn Agnew scored 19 points and the Bears (10-9) topped the Titans (7-12) in a nonleague game.
Eliannah Ramirez led U-Hi with 12 points.
”It was an amazing experience,” Agnew said. “I had so much fun.
“It was my first time playing in the Arena on this court with this team and we were all new, never played a Stinky Sneaker before,” Agnew said. “And I think we went out as a team and did what we needed to do to win.”
CV led by 11 heading into the fourth quarter, but Ramirez drove the lane for a pair of layups to get the Titans within seven. Orrell called timeout.
“I just said, ‘Stay poised,’ ” she said. “We’ve had some adversity in our third quarters throughout the season. Just taking a second and calming ourselves down… and they handled it really well.”
Agnew scored on two fast breaks, then hit a pair at the line. Skyler Neumann hit a short jumper off an assist by Agnew and the lead was 11 again.
“We just knew that the fourth quarter it was gonna come down to who ran it better, who ran the floor better and who did the extra running and practice,” Agnew said.
“We just stopped being aggressive,” U-Hi coach Jazmine Redmon said. “We just got to keep our foot on the gas pedal. Sometimes we let up but we just got to learn from it. We’ve got a big game coming up this weekend, so hopefully we can learn from this experience and take it on to postseason.”
University had five players score early and got out to a 12-9 lead midway through the first, but couldn’t extend it an led 12-11 after one. CV used a 10-4 spurt in the second to move into the lead at 21-16.
Sander nailed a 3 form the corner just before the horn and CV led 28-18 at the break. U-Hi got its deficit to five in the third, but CV finished the quarter on a 6-0 run to push it back to double digits.
”That’s my first time, it’s a production,” Redmon said. “It’s a lot of fun. And unfortunately, we didn’t win but we played hard and we’re gonna have fun watching our school perform their dance.”