TACOMA — Gonzaga Prep of Spokane won’t win a third consecutive Class 4A state boys basketball title, having been knocked out of the state tournament in a 60-59 loss to Sumner on Wednesday night.
But another Spokane-area team still has a chance to keep the title close after Central Valley of Spokane Valley hung on for a 65-64 win over Skyview of Vancouver, which missed a three-point shot at buzzer after battling back from 18 points down late in the third quarter.
The Thursday afternoon game at the Tacoma Dome turned into a classic because unheralded Skyiew did not give up after allowing a 16-0 run that gave Central Valley a 54-36 lead. Bears coach Mike Laws said he felt comfortable for about 30 seconds.
“We started rushing things and it was like, ‘What are you doing?'” he said. “We got panicky.”
Skyview answered with 10 straight points and finally caught up with 2:50 remaining at 61. Central Valley (24-2) recovered and took a 65-61 lead on a dunk by 6-foot-10 junior Gavin Gilstrap.
But the Storm (19-10) was not done. Kyle Gruhler, who had 31 points, made a pair of free throws with 15 seconds left. After a Central Valley turnover, Sean Boss made one of two free throws to get within one. Then, after another turnover, Skyview got the ball back with 3.7 seconds left and called timeout.
Gruhler was forced into an off-balance shot deep in the corner. It missed badly and somehow the Bears survived.
Despite the shaky ending, the fourth-seeded Bears are dangerous, with three wins over Gonzaga Prep this season, and a win last week over Federal Way. Top-seeded Union awaits in the semifinals but Laws has confidence in his team.
“I like our chances against anyone,” Laws said. “The kids play hard and they play smart. … And they have a lot of belief in themselves, which goes a long way toward getting wins.”
Central Valley (21-3) has both its teams in the semifinals. The third-seeded girls handled Issaquah 72-55 and also faces Union, a seventh seed, in the semis.
The Bears out-rebounded Issaquah 42-18. It was quite a feat for a team that does not have a player taller than 5 foot 11.
Central Valley won the title in 2016 and 2018. If that trend continues, this will be another year that the Bears win the title. Issaquah (20-10) won loser-out games Saturday against Kentwood and Wednesday against Kentridge to reach the quarterfinals.
The Glacier Peak girls might not buy the theory that it’s tough to make long-range shots at the Tacoma Dome. The Grizzlies (22-4), from Snohomish, made 11 of 21 three-point shots in a 62-57 win over Chiawana, earning a rematch against top-ranked Woodinville in Friday’s semifinals.
Malia Smith was 6 of 10 from long range to lead Glacier Peak, with all of her shots being three-point attempts. Maya Erling was 3 of 6 on three-point attempts for the Grizzlies. They likely won’t be intimated by Woodinville, having taken the Falcons to overtime before losing 62-57 in the Wes-King District title game two weeks ago.
- At nearly the same time the Seattle Prep was missing two late shots to force overtime in its Class 3A boys game, the Moses Lake girls had a chance to force overtime in its Class 4A game against Union. Media members and WIAA staff were straddling the curtain separating the two courts to see both games. They witnessed Moses Lake miss an open three-pointer from the side, and Union went on to win 56-51 with two free throws in the final second. It was a tough final minute for Moses Lake, which missed two free throws with about 25 seconds left while trailing by a point. Union (21-5) got 21 points from Mason Oberg.