TACOMA — Everyone wanted to know.
Could undefeated Ferris of Spokane run with Franklin?
In the best game of the Class 4A boys basketball state tournament, in front of the biggest crowd, the second-ranked Saxons from Spokane showcased speed and savvy, blowing past the top-ranked Quakers 100-79 Friday night in an intense, emotional semifinal matchup at the Tacoma Dome.
Ferris (27-0) plays Kentridge in the finals, scheduled to begin 9 p.m. today. The last team from Eastern Washington to win the state title was Walla Walla, in 1999.
"We knew we couldn't be intimidated by them," said Ferris guard Shawn Stockton, one of three Saxons with at least 25 points. "We just decided to take it right at 'em. We wanted to make a big statement tonight."
The game was played at a physical, frantic pace, with bodies rattling to the floor like bowling pins and several players breathing heavily in the first quarter. The final score broke the record for most points in a tournament game — 167 by Garfield and Foss in 2001.
Ferris also broke the 1989 record for most points by a winning team (95 by Mercer Island).
"I was impressed that they played as fast and physical as they did for four quarters," said Franklin coach Jason Kerr.
Franklin (23-3), which was trying to defend its title, tried to run Ferris into the ground, taking 37 shots in the first half, and 71 for the game. Ferris got to the line early and often, hitting 37 of 43 free throws for the game.
The Saxons finished a tight first half on an emotional high. Ferris center DeAngelo Casto got the ball in the low left block, spun through a double team and leaped toward the basket for a monster jam, giving Ferris the 41-36 lead at halftime.
Ferris built the lead to 65-53 at the end of a rowdy third quarter.
Kerr jumped off the bench and threw off his suit jacket after Quakers leader and senior guard Venoy Overton was called for a charging foul. The Franklin huddle a few moments later resembled a mosh pit, with Kerr right in the middle, trying to pump up his squad.
Soon after, Kerr picked up a technical for arguing from the bench.
"As a coach, it's your job to be able to step in the middle for your kids when things get a little frustrating, so they can continue to focus on their game and continue to be classy," Kerr explained. "I was communicating with [the officials] probably what the kids wanted to communicate."
Franklin cut the 12-point deficit in half after Peyton Siva hit a pair of free throws to start the fourth, and Overton drilled an NBA-range three-pointer while fouled.
But Overton fouled out with 6:56 left with 13 points, and Ferris found another gear, beating the Quakers press downcourt with heady guard play from Stockton, the nephew of NBA legend John Stockton, and Erick Cheadle. The lead grew again.
Casto scored 27 for Ferris, going 10 for 10 from the field, and Stockton and Jared Karstetter each added 25. Karstetter had 11 rebounds.
Franklin's Siva, a 6-foot sophomore, scored 35 and showed breathtaking jumping ability, outleaping the 6-8 Casto for a rebound midway through the second quarter, and a few possessions later, levitating through the lane for a near put-back.
"He's the one now that's got to take the leadership reins of this program," Kerr said. "I'm sure he'll take on that challenge like he takes on every other one."
Franklin plays Pasco for third place at 3:30 p.m. today.
FERRIS — Evan Ewing 0-0 0-0 0, Jeff Minnerly 2-3 0-1 4, Erick Cheadle 2-4 0-0 4, Tyler Lynn 2-8 4-4 9, Shawn Stockton 7-12 10-11 25, Jared Karstetter 6-12 12-15 25, Andre Jennings 0-1 0-0 0, DeAngelo Casto 10-10 7-9 27, Morgan Hyslop 0-0 2-2 2, Pat Maher 1-1 0-0 2, Beau Brett 0-0 2-2 2, Casey Ager 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 30-51 37-43 100.
FRANKLIN — Venoy Overton 3-10 5-5 13, Peyton Silva 10-24 11-15 35, Jody Johnson 3-6 1-1 7, Chris Holmes 3-9 0-0 6, Vonte Reid 0-2 0-0 0, Johnnie Stroud 1-3 0-0 2, Freddy Wilson 2-3 0-0 4, Robert Dampier 1-5 1-2 3, Sterling Carter 4-9 0-0 9. Totals 27-71 18-23 79.
Three-point shooting — Ferris 3-5 (Minnerly 0-1, Lynn 1-2, Stockton 1-1, Karstetter 1-1); Franklin 7-24 (Overton 2-5, Silva 4-12, Holmes 0-1, Reid 0-2, Dampier 0-1, Carter 1-3). Rebounds — Ferris 40 (Karstetter 11, Casto 6); Franklin 30 (Johnson 8). Assists — Ferris 15 (Stockton 6); Franklin 9 (Overton 4). Steals — Ferris 7 (Cheadle 2, Casto 2); Franklin 10 (Overton 4, Siva 3) Blocked shots — Ferris 2 (Casto 2); Franklin 8 (Siva 4). Turnovers — Ferris 19 (Cheadle 4); Franklin 15 (Overton 6). Fouled out — Ferris: None; Franklin: Overton, Wilson, Carter. Technicals — Ferris: None. Franklin: Bench, Siva.