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Sports >  High school sports

Pressure defense turns into easy offense as Mead girls down Ferris in Greater Spokane League opener for both teams

UPDATED: Wed., Jan. 5, 2022

Most of the area teams played on Tuesday, which left the matchup between the Mead and Ferris girls teams as the only Greater Spokane League game in town – and it was billed as a good one, with both teams off to a solid start to the season.

The teams came in with two losses between them, but the proceedings left little doubt which squad was superior – at least on this given night.

Mead used a suffocating defense to generate easy offense on the other end and the undefeated Panthers used a 29-point second quarter to run away from the Saxons 62-36 in the first GSL league game of the season on Wednesday.

Mead coach Quantae Anderson said there was no secret formula to the second-quarter success.

“I just told them that we just got to keep the pedal on the metal,” he said. “We’ve got to keep playing defense, get out on shooters and make sure that we’re boxing out and rebounding. We decided that’s what we wanted to do and then we did it.”

Olivia Moore scored 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting including four 3-pointers. Teryn Gardner added 14 points for the Panthers (10-0).

Moore credited the Panthers’ defensive effort.

“I don’t even know, I was just on fire,” she said. “The team kept finding me and I was just knocking down shots. We were working together and had so much energy on defense that was just getting us going on offense.”

Kacey Spink led Ferris with 12 points, six in the fourth quarter.

With Ferris head coach Scott Ward and assistant Vince Grippi in COVID protocol, assistant Joanna Rock assumed head coaching duties for the Saxons (8-3).

“I think that it’s just really unusual circumstances,” Rock said. “In the first half we were a little unsettled, and the second half we grew. This is a long season and, you know, our hope is for state and so we’re just constantly trying to improve.”

Perhaps still sluggish from the holiday break, the game got off to a slow start, with the teams combining for six points after 4 minutes.

Gardner used a dribble-drive to generate six quick points, but Ferris’ Kayla Jones responded with a 3-pointer from the corner, and the Panthers led 15-9 after one quarter.

Moore lit up in the second quarter. She hit a couple of midrange jumpers, converted a pair of free throws and made a 3-pointer to push the lead to 33-11 after a Mead 18-2 run midway through the quarter.

“She was opening and we were finding her,” Anderson said. “We passed the ball well and she feasted. She didn’t take bad shots. And she did not miss.”

Rock called timeout to gather her squad, but the break didn’t change matters. Moore hit another 3, Gardner scored another six and Alicia Suggs added a pair inside. All told, Mead outscored Ferris 29-4 in the quarter and led 44-13 at halftime.

“We shared the ball, which was really fun,” Anderson said. “Get stops, so you get to run, we get to pass.

“And when I eat, you eat, we all eat, right? And it really looked like that in that second quarter.”

Perhaps complacent with the big lead, Mead struggled in the third quarter. Ferris senior Kacey Spink scored a couple of quick baskets to give the Saxons a spark.

But Teayona Hoard hit a 3-pointer off a missed free throw, and the Panthers took a 30-point lead into the fourth quarter.

Spink scored six points early in the fourth but came out midway through after an injury. Both coaches went to the bench with 2 minutes to go.

“First first league game. Anybody can beat anybody,” Moore said. “We’re not going to overlook anybody.

“And so we were determined to come in here and make a statement for sure.”

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