Spokane, who had played the last few weeks without senior center Hunter Bishop, saw him return on Homecoming night. Bishop’s presence in the paint was something the Owls had been missing.
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“Defensively, the Bishop kid makes a difference on their team. He blocks shots, he rebounds he is a force to deal with,” said Clever coach Luke Brosius.
The Blue Jays got off to a hot start in the first quarter, taking a convincing 22-11 lead over the Owls.
Spokane would not let the Blue Jays run away with the game and answered back, outscoring Clever 19-12 to make the halftime score 34-30 in favor of Clever.
The upset-minded Owls would come out strong after halftime and take the lead, 35-34, with only a minute elapsed in the second half. The lead would continue to swap back and forth in the third. The Jays would maintain their composure and manage to maintain the lead, 52-47.
“In the third quarter, they made some shots and we didn’t, but we didn’t panic” said Clever senior Dalton Fisher. “We knew it was their Homecoming game and it was a big game for them. They’ve got a great crowd and we are conference rivals. We knew it was going to be a close game.”
It was a determined Owls team that fell just short of the mark. Clever would maintain their lead throughout the fourth quarter, but Spokane never gave up.
With 2:05 left to go in the game, Brosius called a timeout with his team holding a precarious 61-58 lead. The Blue Jays would try to take the air out of the ball and force Spokane to foul. They would go four for five from the free throw line in the last minute to clinch the game.
“We knew they were a quality team, and with the Bishop kid back tonight, we knew it would be tough,” said Brosius. “Also, with this being their Homecoming, we knew they would be ready to play.”
Clever Sophomore Ryan Farmer, playing while sick, had just three points but contributed much needed motivation off the bench. “Our point guard was really sick, so he didn’t start tonight,” said Brosius. “We didn’t know if he was going to be able to play, but he gutted it out and gave it all he had.”
The leading scorer for the game was Fisher, with 24 points.
“He’s been playing great. The last five games I think he’s averaging about 25 points a game. He’s been shooting lights out,” said Brosius. “When things started getting rough in the third quarter, he got our team regrouped and refocused. He was the difference-maker tonight.”
“This was my first game back in a while, and I can feel it, I’m not going to lie,” said Bishop. “After the Blue and Gold, we got in a rut, and this was a really good game to get us back on track. I know we lost, but we did a lot of good things that we can work on to help prepare us for districts. It was good to get out there and play again.”
Clever 22 12 18 15 -67
Spokane 11 19 17 15 -62
Clever—Dalton Fisher-24, Jared Albright-15, Travis Pennewell-12, Matt Hamilton-11, Ryan Farmer-3, Colton Pemberton-2.
Spokane—Eric Bowman-22, Hunter Bishop-13, Zach Turner-12, Christian Brown-9, Storm Price-6.