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Mount Spokane takes bite out of Garfield for 3A WIAA regional boys basketball win, 3 takeaways

Sixth-seeded Wildcats lead by as many as 18 points, but settle for 74-64 win Saturday in Bellevue

BELLEVUE, Wash. - If Mount Spokane was looking for a big bounce-back moment Saturday - it found one against a perennial powerhouse.

In the schools' first-ever meeting, the sixth-seeded Wildcats utilized efficient offense - and a big scoring spurt to start the second half - to beat defending state champion Garfield, 74-64, in the Class 3A regionals at Bellevue College.

A 8-0 run to start the half pushed Mount Spokane's lead to 18 points before the Bulldogs mounted a charge.

Garfield cut it to 68-62 on Ishe Kanhukamwe's bucket with 2:05 to go, but the Greater Spokane League champions scored the next six points to put the game away.

Mount Spokane lost to North Central for the bi-district title a week ago.

"We looked in the mirror after our last game. We weren't executing at a high enough level," Mount Spokane boys coach David Wagenblast said. "And in this game, I thought we did a great job of just executing."

Here are three takeaways from the Garfield-Mount Spokane game:



Wagenblast gets why so many think senior Ryan Lafferty is a shooting guard.

He can score from anywhere on the floor. He has size a 6-foot-5. And he is one of only two players in program history to reach the 1,000-point plateau.

But on Saturday, Lafferty was the team's primary ball-handler. And while he scored 15 points, he also had six assists - and set up the Wildcats' offense beautifully.

Wagenblast said more of that is coming in the future - at next week's WIAA championships in Tacoma and with the college to which he has signed in the St. Thomas Tommies of Minnesota.

"You give him the ball," Wagenblast said. "He's a really special player."



The Wildcats followed a blueprint Saturday others have in frustrating Garfield's offense.

Their help-side defense facing Garfield penetration was on point, especially in the first half. It forced the Bulldogs to work their way back around, go deep into the shot clock - and settle for wild one-on-one shots.

Garfield only made three fields in the second quarter - two on Kanhukamwe 3-pointers.

"I was really proud for about it," Wagenblast said. "We were dialed in on it for most of the game."



It has been an up and down season for coach Brandon Roy and his title-seeking guys.

The Bulldogs finished third in the Metro League's upper division during the regular season. They came back and won the league tournament, but were beaten in the Sea-King District semifinals by Eastside Catholic.

And on Saturday, they could not contain Lafferty or the Mount Spokane cutters to the basket on defense - or get standout Legend Smiley consistent touches (he didn't score in the third quarter) on offense.

Is Roy concerned heading into the title defense in Tacoma?

"We've got to play harder more consistently because now the games are going to be back to back to back (on consecutive days)," Roy said. "You can’t pick and choose when you are going to bring that type of energy."