Every bit as good as advertised, top-ranked and unbeaten Central Valley of Spokane shone brightly at ShoWare.
In a battle between state 4A girls basketball champions from the past two years, the Bears spread the court, drove the lanes and shot well enough to pull away from the Chargers 57-39 in the King Showcase presented by the Ram Restaurant at the accesso ShoWare Center on Monday afternoon.
Kentridge, the defending state champion, had its 14-game winning streak snapped to an aggressive, smooth-running and well-balanced foe.
“They’re very good,” said an impressed Jordyn Jenkins, a 6-foot-2 sophomore who led the Chargers with 14 points and six rebounds. “They run the floor so well, they’re very athletic, and they’re also good sports about it.”
Stanford-bound twin sister towers – 6-2 seniors Lexie and Lacie Hull – combined for 31 points, 19 rebounds, three assists and eight steals for Central Valley (14-0). Lexie Hull proved especially difficult to contain down low or up top, finishing with a game-high 23 points on 8-of-17 shooting, along with 10 rebounds in 29 minutes of work.
Leading 24-22 at halftime, the Bears opened up a nine-point lead with the Hulls accounting for 13 of the team’s 16 points in the third quarter. Lucie Hull hit a key 3-pointer during the spree.
The Chargers (14-2) drew within eight, 42-34, early in the fourth quarter but couldn’t close the gap. Kentridge shot just 28 percent in the second half.
“They’re pretty strong at all positions. They’re talented and well coached, and they got the best of us today,” said Kentridge coach Bob Sandall. “They distribute the ball really well. They clear out (for) a bunch of scorers. … They do what they do really well. They’ve done it for three or four years now. Those kids just know each other. They’re tough to compete against.”
Idaho-bound Hailey Christopher finished with eight points and seven rebounds for Central Valley.
For Kentridge, Northern Arizona-bound Morgan Gary had seven points and five rebounds. JaQuaya Miller, a 6-3 junior, had five points and seven rebounds.
Kentridge must turn its attention to the North Puget Sound League Cascade Division race, with a one-game lead on Kentake and four regular-season contests to play. After a meeting at Mount Rainier on Wednesday, Kentridge travels to play Kentlake on Friday night.
The Chargers finish with a pair of home games next week against Kentwood and Kent-Meridian.
”My kids have always bounced back,” Sandall said. “Obviously, you never want to lose a game, but I still think we’re going to learn from this and we’re going to be better.”