Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

By Garth Meyer
Gazette Reporter 

Lopez Island team no problem for Gar/Pal boys


February 28, 2019

It opened with Van Halen's “Panama” before the tip and Garfield/Palouse pressed.

Ely Hawkins denied a Lopez Island shot under the basket for no foul. Blake Jones scored on a long drive and it was quickly 11-2 Vikings. Another Blake Jones steal and pass to Tanner Anderson on the fast break and it was 13-2, timeout Lopez Island.

“Summer of '69” played next on the gym speakers and Hawkins hit a three-pointer for 17-7, then it was 20-7 at the end of the first quarter.

It was not yet 10:30 a.m. Feb. 23 at West Valley High School in Spokane Valley.

The day before, the Lopez Island Lobos, from the San Juan Islands, took a ferry across the Strait of Juan De Fuca on their way to the game. On this day the cruise would be Gar/Pal's.

But first, an over-the-head assist from the Lobos' Galen Westervelt for a three-pointer by Reese Hamilton cut the margin back to half of Gar/Pal's total. A Vikings' fast break to Jones followed and it was 28-13.

Gar/Pal could enjoy the views starboard and aft.

If the music was to stay '80s, what about some obscure A-ha from '87: “We're Looking for the Whales.”

Gar/Pal led 36-18 at halftime.

Opening the third quarter, Jones got another steal and sent the ball to Tanner Anderson for a score and foul, 41-20.

Jones' ankle was still bruised after playing in pain against Cusick last week, in another must-win game, before which he went down with a bad sprain in the Southeast 1B/District Nine second-place game in Colfax.

It was soon 45-20 Gar/Pal over Lopez Island and in came more Vikings backups.

Gar/Pal's Austin Stockert passed to Jacob Anderson, who threw to Jordan Paddock for a three-footer, 52-24, with 1:08 left in the third quarter.

In the second half, the Lobos' Hamilton hit a three for 53-27.

At the end of the third quarter, the gym music was down to “We Built This City” and Gar/Pal was headed to state. The only question left was when Coach Steve Swinney would pull all his starters.

Hawkins – the only Viking on the roster to have played at state, as a freshman in 2016 – hit another two-footer to keep Gar/Pal up by 30.

Swinney kept the starters in a little longer to work on execution of the offense.

Then they began to come out. Together they watched the end of the game from the bench, amidst jokes and laughter, Blake Jones' face not wide enough to contain his smile.

Final score was 69-36.

Jones led Gar/Pal with 11 points, seven rebounds, five steals, four blocks and three assists.

“He does it all for us, just a complete player,” said Swinney.

Tanner Anderson added 14 points and five rebounds. Hawkins scored 13 and Caden Sanderson 11.

Galen Westervelt led Lopez Island with 16 points in the season-ending loss.


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