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Sports >  High school sports

Jamil Miller hit season-high to pace Gonzaga Prep over University; Sitara Byrd helps Bullpups girls top Titans

UPDATED: Fri., Jan. 28, 2022

Gonzaga Prep’s challenging nonleague schedule might have made its overall record looking less stellar than in previous non-COVID seasons in recent memory. But that belies the progress the Bullpups have made throughout the season.

And they’re starting to play their best basketball at the right time.

Jamil Miller scored 21 points, Henry Sandberg had 19 and Jayden Stevens added 16 and Gonzaga Prep topped visiting University 74-49 in a Greater Spokane League 4A/3A game on Friday.

The Bullpups moved to 11-6 overall, 6-0 in league.

“We played really well tonight, had really good energy,” G-Prep coach Matty McIntyre said. “And that’s a really good team over there. So proud of the effort tonight.”

Jeremiah Sibley led U-Hi (12-5, 5-2) with 12 points.

“One of our worst shooting performances, for sure,” U-Hi coach Garrick Phillips said. “And just the opposite, give them a lot of credit they shot really, really well.”

McIntyre said he knows things get will continue to be tough down the stretch.

“The games to end this season are going to be just like playoff games with Ferris, Central Valley and Mt. Spokane to finish it up,” he said. “So that’s going to be a great lead up to the playoffs and people are gonna have to be playing their best basketball at the end.”

It was a season high for Miller, who transferred this season from Shadle Park.

“It’s such a good program,,” Miller said. “You know, they’ve been teaching me a lot. And I’ve just been getting better the whole season.”

“I’m sure it’s difficult coming into a new system, new school, new environment,” McIntyre said of Miller. “Everyone does things a little bit differently. So I’m sure his role is changed from where it was previously.

“But man, when he attacks the basket, gets on transition, then when he starts crashing the boards, you know, his activity level has just picked up an incredible amount last couple of weeks.”

Stevens missed the nonleague game against U-Hi earlier this season, which the Titans won. In the rematch, he and Miller helped hold U-Hi’s Conrad Bippes to 10 points and forced the 6-foot-8 post into foul trouble.

“We’ve been working all season,” Miller said. “You know, they got us the first time we just came out with some energy.”

“It’s a big difference from the first game when we didn’t have Jayden play,” McIntyre said. “Just the presence Jayden gives us inside and being able to at least make Bippes take tough shots. And then we’re able to rebound the ball more effectively.”

“(Bippes) was frustrated a little bit,” Phillips said. “They did a good job of loading up against him and he missed a couple easy ones that he usually makes and I think that added to it a little bit. But yeah, their speed and help side hurt us a lot.”

Stevens picked up a couple of inside buckets, Sandberg hit a 3 from the corner and G-Prep got out to a 12-4 lead early. Sandberg hit another corner 3 and the Bullpups led 18-11 after one quarter.

Midway through the second quarter, Stevens came up with a steal at the top of the key and went the distance with a one-handed dunk to push the lead to double digits and bring the home crowd to its feet.

Miller’s 3 from the wing at the first-half horn gave G-Prep a 35-22 halftime lead .

The lead reached 19 early in the third quarter, but Brummett hit a 3 with a minute to go in the quarter to get it to 12. But Miller beat the buzzer again with a banked shot from just inside halfcourt and G-Prep led 52-37 after three quarters.

“I got the ball and I just saw time running down,” Miller said. “I knew I had to get the job done.”

“That was a great shot, but he shot it soft, he shot it under control,” McIntyre said. “He didn’t just throw it up. He definitely had a plan when he shot that.”

G-Prep’s Carter Collins brought the house down with just over a minute left in the game with a steal at midcourt and dunk over Sibley to stretch the lead, then Stevens followed with another fastbreak jam for emphasis.

“I think we’re definitely peaking at the right time,” McIntyre said. “There’s still a lot of growth that can occur but I’m pleased with, you know, where we started and then where we were at tonight. You can you can see that we’re improving and that just has to continue.”

Girls

Gonzaga Prep 56, University 47: Sitara Byrd scored 24 points, Taliah Lee added 20 and the Bullpups (14-3, 5-1) topped the Titans (6-10, 3-4) in the early game.

Eliannah Ramirez led U-Hi with 19 points.

The win allowed G-Prep to stay one game ahead of Lewis and Clark and two ahead of Central Valley in the battle for the top 4A seed to the District 8 tournament against teams from the Mid-Columbia Conference.

“Big win. Huge win,” G-Prep coach Mike Arte said. “No. 1 seed’s really important because all the indications from the MCC is that they have four really good teams, and it’s gonna be tough for the GSL this year. So the higher seed you can get may be the easier road, but I don’t think there’s any easy road when you get to that point.”

Tied at 27 at halftime, Ramirez drove the lane on two straight possessions for buckets, then Katie Christensen made a pair from the line to put U-Hi up 38-33 midway through the third quarter.

“(U-Hi coach) Jazmine (Redmon) has those girls playing hard and effectively and she does a really good job,” Arte said. “You know, we talked to our girls yesterday about this being like a trap game, a team that can beat you if you don’t concentrate and focus. And I think when (U-Hi) got up five, that got our girls’ attention.”

Byrd hit a 3, then got loose for a fastbreak layup. Lee’s layup at the end of the frame gave G-Prep a 41-38 lead after three. A 9-0 run, capped by a 3 from Lee, gave G-Prep a 12-point lead midway through the fourth.

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