Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Gillian Bears plays big role, Gonzaga Prep girls upset No. 5 Sumner to advance to quarterfinal

TACOMA – The 12th-seeded Gonzaga Prep girls team entered Wednesday’s round-of-12 matchup against fifth-seeded Sumner winners of four consecutive elimination games, including Saturday’s 61-55 decision over Decatur in a State 4A opening-round game.

The Bullpups were used to dealing with pressure.

Their senior leaders were superlative again, and they got a career night from their developing 6-foot-3 post.

Junior Gillian Bears finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds and two blocked shots and the Bullpups (19-7) upset and eliminated the Spartans (21-7) 64-55 at the Tacoma Dome.

Senior Taliah Lee led G-Prep with 19 points, six rebounds, six assists, four steals and two blocks. Greater Spokane League first-team selection Lucy Lynn scored 17 points for the Bullpups.

Gonzaga Prep advances to face third-seeded Tahoma in a quarterfinal Thursday at 7:15 p.m.

“Everyone has a role on our team,” Bears said. “And everyone’s working to the best of their abilities. I think that our momentum has been really good. And if we keep going, we can get far.”

“I was super proud of how we battled the last couple of weeks,” Gonzaga Prep first-year coach Geoff Arte said. “The message this week was just, ‘Don’t be satisfied.’ Let’s just keep playing our brand of basketball and when the 32 minutes is up, win or lose, we’ll feel good about it.”

Freshman guard Olivia Collins led Sumner with 20 points and nine rebounds. G-Prep held South Puget Sound North MVP junior Lainee Houillon to 4-of-19 shooting from the field for 12 points.

It was a team effort.

“I think our help defense, having each other’s back,” Bears said. “We planned a lot of what defense we’re gonna run and we just really executed it and helped each other out.”

Bears took advantage of mismatches the entire game, but especially in the second half when she scored 14 of her 18 points.

“We had some plays planned for (Sumner) that they couldn’t have scouted,” Bears said. “We were just really ready to run a post offense with our size. And it just worked out.”

“They were a little smaller than some of the teams we’ve run into early,” Arte said. “So, we kind of thought we’d try to exploit that matchup as best we could and (Bears) was great. … She’s just kind of coming out of her shell these last couple of weeks.”

Sumner came out with a full-court press through most of the first quarter, trying to deny Lynn the ball. But the Bullpups mostly handled the defensive pressure .

Lynn ended up with eight points in the first quarter and G-Prep got out to a 15-14 lead. Lynn hit a 3-pointer from the corner early in the second quarter to tie the score at 20.

Lee made a long 3 midway through the quarter to give the Bullpups a four-point lead. She converted both ends of a 1-and-1 with 18 second left and G-Prep led 31-28 at halftime.

Lee took a steal the distance early in the third quarter for a six-point lead. Bears banked one in to make it 44-37 with just more than 2 minutes left. Bears finished a fastbreak with a layup, then blocked a shot on the defensive end.

Lee’s layup with 6 seconds left gave Gonzaga Prep a 50-39 lead heading into the fourth.

Lee’s third 3-pointer of the game with 4 1/2 minutes left made it 61-49. Bears added a left-handed layin moments later and the Bullpups held on down the stretch.