Jackson Floyd scores 15 points, experienced Gonzaga Prep pulls away from youthful North Central
Jan. 27, 2023 Updated Fri., Jan. 27, 2023 at 11:39 p.m.
North Central starts two seniors, but much of its roster is made up of underclassmen. There’s a lot of talent, but the young Wolfpack are still going through growing pains.
Friday night, against a more experienced team with state aspirations, was another learning experience in the Greater Spokane League.
Senior Jackson Floyd scored 15 points, helping to erase an early deficit, Henry Sandberg added 13 and Gonzaga Prep – ranked No. 6 in the state 4A media poll – downed the 3A Wolfpack 55-39.
Gonzaga Prep improved its record to 15-3, 6-1 in the GSL’s upper division – one game behind Mt. Spokane and even with Ferris with two league games to play.
Junior Eli Williams led NC with 19 points. The Wolfpack played without 6-foot-10 junior post Jacori Ervin, their second-leading scorer.
NC packed the paint and held G-Prep leading scorer Jamil Miller to four points, 14 off his average.
“Jamil, he’s a great scorer for us,” Floyd said. “When all the attention is on him, it’s nice for other guys to be able to pick that up. He’s our main scorer, but when other guys can fill in that void, it’s really good for us because we have the talent to do it.”
Floyd, at 6-2, scored mostly on layups and runners in the lane.
“I use my strength to my ability as much as I can,” he said. “I mean, I like to play physical. So yeah, when I can do that, I do it.
“I know (NC) is athletic. We want to use that to our advantage to get them up in the air and find the openings under the rim.”
NC’s athletic play and length present a problem game-planning on both ends of the court.
“It’s difficult, obviously,” Gonzaga Prep coach Matty McIntyre said. “Tonight, it was very much up and down. So we needed to take advantage of opportunities in transition when they presented themselves.
“I thought we showed a lot of discipline and pulling the ball out and running half court offense when (NC) got back on defense.”
McIntyre praised Floyd’s performance with Miller being the focus of the NC defense.
“He took what they gave him and he kept it really simple,” he said. “And he came up really, really big for us, and that’s what we expect your seniors to do. It seemed like the game was coming really easy to him tonight.”
Williams hit a pair of 3-pointers then made a spinning layup to give the Wolfpack (5-11, 2-5) the lead late in the quarter. He scored 12 and NC led 16-12 after one quarter.
Floyd made a 3-pointer to start the second quarter and Jace Swanson created a turnover and layup. The Bullpups scored the first 10 points of the second quarter to go up by six.
Miller drove the lane for a dunk, and Floyd’s contested layup late gave G-Prep a 28-21 lead at halftime.
“One night (Floyd) might be a distributor. Another night, he’s gonna be a defensive stopper,” McIntyre said. “Another night, he might be a scorer. So he’s willing to help the team in any way possible. And that’s what just one of the many reasons we love him.”
The Bullpups started the second half with a 6-0 run, punctuated by a two-handed dunk by senior post Carter Verret, to open a 13-point lead.
Verret added another dunk moments later and finished with eight points.
“Jamil and Henry, Jackson and Jace take up a lot of the defense’s attention,” Verret said. “It makes it pretty easy for me to get my buckets under the rim.”
“Carter has taken an incredible leap from the beginning of the season to now, maybe more so than any player I’ve ever coached,” McIntyre said. “Things are clicking for him and it’s clicking at the right time, because we need him to be a presence for us moving forward.”
G-Prep limited NC to five points in the quarter and led 42-26 after three quarters.
A layup by Makai Daniels trimmed the NC deficit to eight with 3 minutes to go, but Swanson scored on a back-door cut, then Sandberg hit a 3-pointer to push the lead back to 13.
“A team like (NC), you know that they can score in bunches, but you gotta rely on your defense and just say, ‘Gotta get stops, make the game no fun for the other team,’ ” McIntyre said. “And I thought for the most part, we did that.”
Gonzaga Prep 47, North Central 32: Lucy Lynn scored 16 points and the Bullpups (12-5, 5-2) beat the Wolfpack (7-10, 0-7) in the early game.
“It’s a tough weekend with finals and all that stuff,” G-Prep coach Geoff Arte said. “But we found a way to win on Friday night in the GSL. That’s all you really want.”
G-Prep led by eight after the first quarter. NC got it back to five, but Taliah Lee hit a couple of big shots and the Bullpups led 22-14 at halftime.
“(Lee) is tough, and when she plays on balance, she’s as tough as anybody in the league,” Arte said.
Lynn took over in the second half, driving to the basket to either score or go to the line. She scored 12 of her 16 points in the second half.
“When they’re going to extend that zone way high, you just got to move it inside,” Arte said. “You’ve got to make shots. But I thought NC did a really nice job tonight on us. That’s a tough, tough, nasty zone.”
Hannah Hamilton led NC with 12 points and Shalene Ervin added 10.
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