SPOKANE — Early this season, Bailey Gibson tried to guard teammate Brock Ravet in practice.
After all, the two Kittitas juniors had grown up together, playing AAU ball on the same team since they were preschoolers.
But on this occasion, it didn’t go well for Gibson. Ravet made a move and Gibson slipped and broke his left wrist, causing the Coyotes’ emotional leader to miss more than half the season.
So when Ravet crumpled to the floor just 20 seconds into the second half and the Coyotes up by just three points in their bid to repeat as Class 2B state champions Saturday at the Spokane Arena, Gibson knew exactly what to do.
Gibson, who scored just two points in the first half against St. George’s, made back-to-back 3-pointers before Ravet returned and then added a driving layup, scoring eight straight points and sparking Kittitas to a 65-50 victory against the previously undefeated Dragons.
“Instantly, I thought it’s sad. I was feeling for (Ravet) to see him in pain,” Gibson said. “When he goes out, someone has to step up. I’ve felt that way for years. I got some open shots and it was going in.”
Ravet jumped in the air while making a pass just past midcourt and landed on the foot of a St. George’s player, rolling his left ankle. The Gonzaga commit limped to the bench and was attended to by a WIAA trainer, missing less than two minutes.
But Ravet, who had 30 points, 17 rebounds, three assists and three steals in the finale, seemed upset he was sidelined at all.
“Some dude (the WIAA trainer) had me doing some jumps (on the vacant girls court),” Ravet said. “I told him I was fine, but he wasted two minutes having me jumping in place.”
Ravet seemed to move gingerly for a couple of minutes after returning before getting back in rhythm. He scored seven points in the final 1:47 of the third quarter to give the Coyotes a 50-39 lead.
“I knew the guys had it,” Ravet said of his short stint off the court. “Bailey hit some big shots. He got hurt at the beginning of the season and we almost struggled. But once he came back we started moving the ball and trusting everyone.”
Even St. George’s coach Ryan Peplinski was hoping Ravet would return. His reaction when Ravet went down?
“Oh, no,” said Peplinski, who helps coach the Eastern Washington Elite in the summer, the same program Ravet plays with. “You don’t want that. If we came back and won the state championship and he was really hurt ... you want to beat everybody at their best.”
And Peplinski believes Ravet is the best.
“He’s a guy when we go to L.A. and Vegas (in the summer) that D-I guys can’t stop. We get to see a lot of good players and I didn’t see anyone better this year. You don’t see it because he scores so much, but he’s a phenomenal passer. He’s a big-time IQ kid. Gonzaga’s going to be pleased it got him.”
Other than the WIAA trainer, the only problem Ravet had was when he was handed a pair of scissors to cut down a strand of the net after the trophy presentation.
“They kept slipping out of my hand,” Ravet said of the scissors. “Last year I only got a little piece (of the net), but this year I got a big piece.”
As for repeating as champions?
“It means everything. It means so much to all of us,” Ravet said.
And the possibility of a three-peat, with the Coyotes losing only one starter to graduation?
“I hope so,” Ravet said, a big smile coming across his face. “That’s the goal.”
Kittitas coach Tim Ravet said this title might be even more special than last year’s.
“When you’re on top, you get everyone’s best game,” the coach said. “But the (gold) ball (on top of the championship trophy) looks the same and we’re going to take that back (home) with us.”
Although they almost didn’t. As the Kittitas players filed out of the locker room, their head coach was standing at the end of a long hallway underneath the stands.
“Is everyone out?” Ravet yelled to assistant coach Rocky Gibson, who helped come up with the team motto of “2B DETERMINED” that the Coyotes wore on the back of their warmup jerseys this season. “What about the ball?”
Yes, it seems the Coyotes nearly left the championship trophy, adorned with that gold ball, behind.
As for next season’s slogan?
“Hopefully they’ll go to a 3B (classification) and we can use that,” the coach joked. “We’ll let Rocky figure that out.”
Perhaps with some help from Bailey Gibson.
KITTITAS — Bailey Gibson 11, Brown 6, Mason Landdeck 14, Arreola 4, Brock Ravet 30, Harris 0, Hudson 0, Lenihan 0.
ST. GEORGE’S — Ward 5, Ben Adams 18, Farias 4, Peplinski 6, Xander Werkman 11, Rigsby 2, Steele 0, Halliburton-Link 4.
Kittitas 19 16 15 15 — 65
St. George’s 10 22 7 11 — 50
Kittitas highlights: Ravet 17 rebs, 3 assts, 3 stls, 5 3p; Landdeck 5 rebs, 3 assts, 2 stls; Conner Brown 6 rebs, 3 blks.