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Spokane shoots well, but doesn't get enough defensive stops in District defeat

SPOKANE'S BO ESSICK dives for a loose ball against Greenwood on Monday.
SPOKANE'S BO ESSICK dives for a loose ball against Greenwood on Monday.

FAIR GROVE — Renewing acquaintances with old friends didn’t keep Spokane’s J.D. Tate and Ethan Newell from helping the Owls give Greenwood a competitive contest in the teams’ Class 3 District 11 first-round matchup Monday.

No. 5 seed Spokane led for most of the first half and trailed by only three points with 2:55 to play, before bowing to the fourth-seeded Blue Jays 63-53.

Tate plays summer ball with a couple Greenwood players

“I see them as friends before and after the game. But during the game, we aren't friends, that's for sure,” Tate said. “I understand that and they understand that.”

Greenwood’s staring lineup includes junior forward Garrett Winslow, who transferred from Spokane two years ago.

“I played with him my whole life up until I was in the eighth grade,” said Newell, a sophomore forward. “I hung out with him a lot back in middle school. It was good to see him again and play against him.”

Tate, Newell and practically all of the Owls were seeing nothing but the bottom of the net early on. Spokane (13-14) started the night by making 5-of-10 3-point attempts, 

“We did what needed to do,” coach Newt Starrett said. “We knew they would play a zone and I knew we were going to get some shots from the outside. I told the shooters, 'Be ready because when we drive in and pass it out, you're going to have your shot.’" 

Meanwhile Tate was 5-of-6 from the field in his 12-point first half.

The Owls were twice up by six, including 29-23.

But Greenwood answered with authority by going on a 23-4 run over the final two minutes of the second quarter and the first four-plus minutes of the third quarter to pull out to a 46-33 lead.

Over a nine-possession stretch, the Blue Jays were nearly flawless while scoring on eight trips downcourt.

 Nic Burri and Collin Clark repeatedly beat their man off the dribble and penetrated into the paint for high percentage shots.

“Clark and Burri took over and made big shots,” Starrett said. “That’s a tough matchup for us, especially with Clark as a 6-7 guard who can move and shoot over the top of people. Outside of J.D., 6-1 is our tallest player.”

“We didn't have very good matchups,” Newell said. “They’re so shifty with their moves. It seems like you're always one step behind them. If you try to catch back up, you get a foul called on you.”

Burri netted 32 points and Clark 17.

"They're good, all-around players,” Tate said. “They're good driving and shooting. It’s tough to guard them.

“Something happened in the third quarter, when they got a big momentum boost and we started turning the ball over a lot,” he added. “They got up by (13).  You can't get behind that far at Districts.”

Spokane at least got back in the game by once again firing away from 3-point land. The Owls hit  three straight 3s during a 15-5 run. A Jace Leigh 3 made it 51-48 midway through the fourth quarter.

Holding a 53-50 lead, Greenwood proceeded to score nine straight points to seal its win. 

Spokane missed its final four 3-point attempts, but still finished a respectable 8-of-20 beyond the arc.

Newell swished five 3-pointers while scoring a season-high 15 points.

 “This was a confidence-booster for sure,” Newell said. 

"All year long, we knew he could shoot. It was just a matter of him getting the confidence in himself that he can shoot,” Starrett said. 

Tate topped Spokane with 18 points on 8-of-15 shooting in his Owls finale. He played the final five minutes with four fouls.

"All I could think of was, 'Oh, there's no way, I can't foul out my last game,’” Tate said.

He will look back on his Spokane career appreciative of those around him.

“Right (after) the Blue & Gold Tournament of your senior season, you snap your fingers and there it goes,” Tate said. “It came a little too fast.

"My Dad went (to Spokane), so it means a lot to me that I got to go there for my four years, too,” he added. “I’ve had a lot of experiences, good teammates and a lot of support from a good fan base.”

Greenwood 63, Spokane 53

SPOKANE (53) — Leigh 3 0-0 8, Riott 1 5-7 8, Armitage 1 0-0 2, Newell 5 0-0 15, Tate 8 2-2 18, Blaue 1 0-0 2. 

GREENWOOD (63) — Clark 6 4-5 17, Rose 2 0-0 4, Winslow 1 2-4 5, Litherland 2 1-3 5, Burri 13 5-7 32. 

Spokane      19 12  8 14 - 53

Greenwood 18 14 14 17 - 63

3-point goals - Newell 5, Leigh 2, Riott, Burri, Clark, Winslow.