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Championship Updates - Day 3

NWAC Championship Updates
Toyota Center, Kennewick, Wash.
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Monday, March 9

Evan Garrison
8 p.m. Men -- Clark 55, Green River 41 [stats

The Clark Penguins are back in the NWAC finals for the first time since 1996 after beating Green River 55-41 and throwing a wet blanket on the Gators' Cinderella title-hopes.

Once again, the most impressive part of Clark's performance wasn't the offense, but the suffocating defense. Green River shot just 34.9% from the floor and didn't score at all over a five-minute period in the second half. Clark took full advantage, going on a huge run to turn a seven point lead into a 22-point edge with 7:30 to play in the game.

Green River ended the game by scoring the final six points, but only dented Clark's lead and still lost by 14.

Clark didn't allow a single Gator to finish in double figures, as Aaron Holiday led Green River with nine points in the loss. Green River will take on Peninsula -- another No. 4 seed -- on Tuesday afternoon at 2 p.m. in the battle for third place.

Clark, on the other hand, will battle Edmonds for the 2015 NWAC Men's title on Tuesday evening at 8 p.m.

The Penguins were led by 10 points each from Antony Dunn and Bryan Berg.

Peninsula celebrates the first trip to the finals in program history.
8 p.m. Women -- Peninsula 84, Umpqua 70 [stats]

The Riverhawks had spent the entire season ranked first by the coaches. They'd blown out both of their first-round opponents, and all-but swept the Southern Region.

But, in a wild twist of fate, it will be the Peninsula Pirates in the NWAC final against Lane on Tuesday evening, not Umpqua. Peninsula heads to the title game for the first time in program history.

The Pirates didn't just beat Umpqua, it was a beat-down. Peninsula outscored Umpqua 30-8 to start the second half after trailing 39-37 at halftime. Madison Pilster got things started with back-to-back three pointers, and hit another at the 10:58 mark of the second half -- a bucket which gave the Pirates an unthinkable 18-point lead.

When the deficit reached 20 points a few minutes later on a score from Miranda Schmillen, things were all but over.

Even after Ashli Payne started to heat up, having a hand in four consecutive scores for the Riverhawks as Umpqua pushed to within 69-57 with 6:29 remaining, the Pirates still didn't let themselves get rattled.

Instead, they continued to feed Gabi Fenumiai, who finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds, dominating the paint against the bigger Riverhawks over the final 10 minutes of the game.

Zhara Laster had a near triple-double for Peninsula with 12 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists, while Pilster led Peninsula scoring with 18 points.

Two-time Southern Region MVP Ashli Payne finished with 16 points in a relatively quiet game for the sophomore forward. Romanalyn Inocencio did the damage on offense for Umpqua with a game-high 23 points.

Umpqua, after making the title game of the 2014 tournament, will play SW Oregon for third place on Tuesday afternoon at 2 p.m.

Peninsula will play for their first NWAC championship on Tuesday evening at 5:30 p.m.

Samuel Omondi
6 p.m. Men -- Edmonds 69, Peninsula 57 [stats]

For a moment, it looked like Peninsula would have a solid chance at the upset of the year, as the Pirates had fought to tie the mighty Edmonds Tritons at 57 with 4:18 to play in the semifinal round of the NWAC championship tournament.

Then things returned to normal for Edmonds, who went on to score the final 12 points of the game to win 69-57 with a flourish. Peninsula, on the other hand, missed their last 10 shots despite picking up three offensive boards in the final minute.

Early in the second half, though, Peninsula seemed set to run away with things. The Pirates turned a three-point deficit into a seven point lead, going on a 12-2 run over the space of four minutes.

It took Edmonds more than seven minutes to climb their way back, eventually taking a 49-48 lead on a basket from Ian Tevis with 8:44 to play. Peninsula jumped back on top with a made three from Chris Reis, but Edmonds responded to tie the game with an in bounds play to Zach Pederson.

Pederson was the game's leading scorer with 12 points and 14 rebounds, leading the Tritons to their third championship appearance in three seasons. Edmonds hasn't won a title since 1985, when the Tritons knocked off Skagit Valley in the title game.

Peninsula was led by 11 points and 10 boards from Jal Deng, and will play the loser of the Clark-Green River game on Tuesday afternoon at 2 p.m. for third place.

Maddie Kiplinger
6 p.m. Women -- Lane 49, SW Oregon 44 [stats]

For the second time in three seasons, the Lane Titans are headed back to the title game of the NWAC tournament. Lane advanced after beating SW Oregon 49-44 in an all-Southern Region semifinal game on Monday evening.

Lane ended the first half on a hot streak, scoring the last nine points of the half to take a 29-19 lead into the halftime break.

Jordan Kimbrough might have led the Titans in scoring with 12 points, but in the final few minutes, it was a team-effort which propelled Lane past SW Oregon after the Lakers had gone on a 13-3 run to get within 40-38 with 5:21 to play.

The Titans got an acrobatic fast-break layup from Keeli Munkres, catching and shooting the ball while in the air to restore a four-point advantage. The next time down the floor, Maddie Kiplinger hit a huge three to put Lane up 45-40, at which point the contest turned into a free-throw game the Titans were well equipped to handle.

Bre DuBois and Erica Cogburn each hit a pair of free throws in the final 22 seconds to ice the game and preserve the victory for Lane.

Kiplinger finished with 11 points, and had half of the Titans' three-point makes by herself.

SW Oregon's Yvonne Daniels led all scorers with 14 points in the loss, which knocked the Lakers out of the running for what would have been the first title in school history -- men or women. SW Oregon has never finished better than eighth, and will play the loser of the Peninsula-Umpqua game on Tuesday afternoon at 2 p.m., already guaranteeing the best place at the tournament the Lakers have ever seen.

Lane will take on the winner of the Peninsula-Umpqua game in the NWAC title game on Tuesday evening at 5:30 p.m. An NWAC championship for Lane would be their fifth, a league record. The Titans are currently tied with Skagit Valley, Chemeketa and Columbia Basin with four championships.

5th Place Bracket

Brian Zehr
4 p.m. Men -- Bellevue 74, Lane 72 OT [stats]

Lane made a furious rally in the last few minutes of regulation to force overtime, but couldn't muster enough magic to knock off the Bellevue Bulldogs and fell 74-72 in overtime to bow out of the championship tournament.

Bellevue led by as many as 13 points in the first half, and were on top 33-26 at halftime. Midway through the second half, the Bulldogs grabbed a 14-point lead on a steal and fast-break bucket from Dom Holub.

With five and a half minutes remaining, the Titans were still down by 11 at 62-51 -- but not for long. The Bellevue offense stalled at 62 points, while Lane kicked things into high gear.

Five straight points from Aaron Smith cut things to six points in a hurry. Then Mitch Franz hit a three-pointer with just over three and a half minutes to go, cutting the deficit to 62-60. A free-throw each from Tre Clark and Smith tied the score at 62, and Dominique Jordan's three-pointer at the buzzer for Bellevue was off, sending the game to overtime.

Lane took a lead in the opening moments of the overtime, their first since leading 2-0 at the beginning of the game, but a tip-in from Brian Zehr and a pair of free-throws from Holub extended Bellevue's lead to three points with 17 seconds to go.

The Titans had an opportunity for a last-second desperation shot, but Dominic Smith managed to jump in front of the in bounds pass to seal the victory for Bellevue.

Holub led Bellevue with 22 points in the victory, which puts the Bulldogs through to the fifth-place game against Highline on Tuesday at noon.

Shalise Hicks
4 p.m. Women -- Columbia Basin 104, Highline 65 [stats]

The Hawks had already sent in a record-setting performance by halftime. Columbia Basin topped Highline 104-65 to move on to Tuesday's fifth-place game, and led 61-33 at halftime -- setting a new NWAC record for the most points in one half of a tournament game.

The old record, held by Green River, was set in 1979 at 58 points. Columbia Basin came close to setting a record for the most points in a win, but fell short of the 114-point record set by Highline in 1985.

Columbia Basin hit 11 of their 13 attempts from three point range, and finished the game at 55% from the field. Sydney Mercer led all scorers with 29 points, and was perfect from beyond the arc.

Mercer had a shot at breaking the individual record for most points in a single game, but sat down at the 14:17 mark of the second half with the rest of the starters and didn't return. Even with Mercer on the bench, Columbia Basin went on a 19-6 run, including five made three pointers, over the next four minutes to take a 92-46 lead with 10:09 to play.

Highline, who was missing guard Brittany Barrington, got no closer than 38 points the rest of the way before falling by 39 points at 104-65.

Columbia Basin will play fellow Eastern Region team Blue Mountain for 5th place on Tuesday at noon.

Ben Tucakovic
2 p.m. Men -- Highline 80, Pierce 76 2OT [stats]

Highline survived perhaps the wildest finish of the men's tournament so far, connecting on pressure free throws in the final seconds of double overtime to knock Pierce from the championship tournament and move on to the fifth-place game.

Highline scored the first six points of the game, and took an 11-2 lead after less than five minutes of play in the first half. At the 6:32 mark, the Thunderbirds had stretched their advantage to 14 points before leading 30-19 at halftime.

Midway through the second half, Highline went on a 7-2 run to extend their lead to 18 points on a fast-break slam dunk from Ben Tucakovic and a bucket from Remeake Keith. Pierce scored the next ten points to get within double digits, but with 7:23 to play, they still found themselves down 52-44.

That's when Keasean Kelly started to take over. First, Kelly hit a three to get the Raiders within five. He then assisted on a Tre Benton bucket to get Pierce within three points, and with 3:09 remaining in regulation, nailed a shot from beyond the arc to give Pierce a 58-57 lead.

Highline took a 64-61 lead just inside the final minute, but Benton leaned into a three and connected from the top of the arc while falling down to tie the game at 64 and send Pierce and Highline to overtime.

Both teams held a two point lead in the first overtime, but Highline got a tying field goal from Madison McCaffrey with 1:41 left in the extra period to tie the game at 68, forcing a second overtime.

Just as they had in the initial extra five minutes, Highline struck first in double overtime to take a 70-68 lead, and took a 75-73 lead on a McCaffrey three pointer with 50 seconds remaining. Both teams missed free throws, but Doug McDaniel hit a pair with 11.1 seconds remaining to give Highline a 79-74 lead to ice the contest.

Highline moves on to play for fifth place on Tuesday at noon against the winner of the Lane-Bellevue game.

Mar'Shay Moore
2 p.m. Women -- Blue Mountain 70, Clark 53 [stats]

Blue Mountain got another monster game from Mar'Shay Moore to pull away and blow past Clark 70-53 and stay alive in the 5th place bracket at the NWAC championships on Monday afternoon.

Moore finished with 25 points, bringing her tournament total to 89 points through three games. The tournament record, set last year by Laci Effenberger of Clackamas, sits at 112 points through four games.

Blue Mountain trailed Clark early on, but jumped out to an point lead at the 11:02 mark of the first half. Back-to-back scores for the Timberwolves made the lead 14 points with just over three minutes to play in the first half, but the Penguins scored the next five points before Blue Mountain scored to lead 40-30 at halftime.

Midway through the second half, the Timberwolves clamped down on defense and held Clark without a field goal for nearly four minutes, extending their lead to 19 points with less than ten minutes to play.

The lead reached 64-43 on a three pointer from Moore with 5:40 remaining in the game, and though Clark cut the lead down to 13 points with two minutes left, the Penguins never really threatened the 'Wolves down the stretch.

Blue Mountain will take part in their first-ever game for fifth place on Tuesday at noon against the winner of the Highline-Columbia Basin game. Blue Mountain has only ever placed at the tournament on one occasion in program history -- a third-place finish at the 2014 NWAACC championships.


Brendan Guzman
12 Noon Men -- Treasure Valley 64, Everett 53 OT [stats]

Twice, Everett was able to come from four points down to tie the game in the final few minutes and eventually sent it to overtime, but it was Treasure Valley who dominated the extra five minutes. The Chukars held Everett scoreless in the overtime to win by double digits and stay alive in the consolation bracket.

Everett led by as many as seven points in the first half, but a bucket from Daylor Youngblood with 7:28 to play in the first capped a 10-0 run to give Treasure Valley a 20-17 lead. Treasure Valley led by five at halftime and led by as many as eight points early in the second half before Everett rallied to tie the game at 37 midway through the second half.

The Trojans eventually jumped on top by four, but Treasure Valley worked for a four point lead of their own with less than two minutes remaining in regulation. Derek Brown Jr hit four free throws down the stretch to tie the game at 53 with 37 seconds to play, but that's where Everett's offense ran out of gas.

Thadius Galvez led Treasure Valley with 16 points, five boards and five assists. Brendan Guzman had a double double with 13 points and 13 boards.

Dominique McClendon had 16 points and nine rebounds in the loss for Everett.

Treasure Valley will play Clackamas for seventh place on Tuesday at 10 a.m.

Kyahri Adams
12 Noon Women -- Centralia 66, Wenatchee Valley 63 2OT [stats]

They needed an extra 10 minutes, but Centralia was eventually able to put together a late run to win in double overtime and make the consolation championship game with a 66-63 win over Wenatchee Valley on Monday afternoon.

Centralia got off to a solid start, leading by as many as seven points in the first half when Molly McIntyre connected from beyond the three point line to give the Trail Blazers a 15-8 edge with 11:07 to play in the first half. Wenatchee tied the game soon afterward, but another three pointer from McIntyre gave Centralia the advantage once again.

The Trail Blazers led 20-19 at the break, but just over six minutes into the second half led by seven points once again on a fast break bucket from Jamika Parker. A three pointer moments later from Parker restored a seven-point lead.

With less than two minutes to play, the Trail Blazer lead was still five, but a three pointer from Rebecca Stevenson cut the lead to a pair with 1:15 to go and a jumper from Jillian Jacobs tied the game at 49 with 22 seconds remaining to send the game to overtime.

Wenatchee Valley struck first in the overtime, taking a three-point lead on another long shot from Stevenson. The lead reached four moments later, but Centralia scored the next six to take a two point lead. The Knights tied the game once again on a bucket from Shayla Johnson to force the second overtime.

Johnson scored four consecutive points for Wenatchee Valley in the second overtime to get a three-point lead, but Centralia went back on top by four on another bucket from Parker. Kyahri Adams hit one of two free throws with five seconds remaining, but grabbed the offensive rebound on her second shot to preserve the victory.

Molly McIntyre led all scores with 22 points in the win for Centralia, hitting six three-pointers to lift the Trail Blazers to the consolation finals. Centralia will take on familiar Western Region foe Lower Columbia for seventh place on Monday at 10 a.m.

Joey Baldwin
10 a.m. Men -- Clackamas 87, Mt. Hood 62 [stats]

Clackamas prevailed in a battle of Southern Region rivals, pulling away in the second half to blow out Mt. Hood and knock the Saints from the tournament.

The Cougars had balanced scoring across the board, and were led by 21 points from Joey Baldwin, who connected on five of seven three pointers. Brandon Halter, who finished with 18 points, hit four of his seven attempts from deep as the Cougars bombed away from distance.

Mt. Hood was led in scoring by Jamal Muhammad, scored 19 points for the Saints in the loss.

Clackamas trailed just once in the game at 2-0 in the opening moments, and led by as many as 14 points in the first half. A 17-5 run to start the second half gave Clackamas a 62-41 edge when Garrett Litterell scored on the break with 11:54 remaining in the second half.

Leading by as many as 27 points, the Cougars cruised their way into the consolation championship and will play the winner of the Everett-Treasure Valley game for seventh place on Tuesday at 10 a.m.

10 a.m. Women -- Lower Columbia 70, Bellevue 57 [stats]
Kaylea Knox

Lower Columbia came from 11 points down in the second half to blow past Bellevue 70-57 on Monday morning, and will play on Tuesday for the consolation title.

The Red Devils took an early lead in the game, but fell behind by eight points midway through the first half on a three pointer from Hunter Hopkins which gave Bellevue a 19-11 lead. Lower Columbia rallied to take a brief lead, but trailed by two at halftime.

Bellevue scored the first nine points of the second period to take an 11 point lead on a three from Mikayla Jones at the 17:35 mark of the second half.

Lower Columbia began to slowly chip away, and after the Red Devils grabbed an offense rebound off a missed free throw, Katerina Brejchova hit a pair from the line to tie the score at 45 with 7:36 to play. Lower Columbia took a lead moments later on a bucket from Kaylea Knox, and the rout was on.

Bellevue was outscored 44-20 over the final 17:36, and trailed by as many as 13 points before falling 70-57.

Knox led all scorers with 23 points, while Sierra Richards chipped in a double double with 10 points and 10 rebounds in the win, which matches the Red Devils with the winner of the Centralia-Wenatchee Valley game on Tuesday at 10 a.m.

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