Warriors cruise to 90-74 win to capture third NWAC Women’s Basketball Championship

Championship team photo

Walla Walla 90, Umpqua 74 stats

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By Eric Trent for NWAC

EVERETT — Riding a 29-game win streak, the Walla Walla Warriors shot a scorching hot 52.1 percent from the field to sink a much-larger Umpqua Riverhawks squad 90-74 and win their third Northwest Athletic Conference championship.

First-seeded Walla Walla’s last loss came on Nov. 19 to Lady Elite. The East Region Warriors were runners-up in 2017, falling to Spokane in the title game.

Warriors coach Bobbi Hazeltine, in her 19th-year with the team, said it felt nice to gain some redemption after falling short a year ago.

“It was hard to lose last year,” Hazeltine said. “They had a goal and we reached it.”

Ciera Jo McKeown was named tournament MVP after pouring in a game-high 32 points. McKeown was scorching hot from long range, draining nine 3-pointers on 9-for-12 shooting from deep.

“It feels good,” McKeown said. “I’ve never won a championship before. I’ve gone close, but never. Last year coming to the championship and not winning, and then winning this year feels really good.”

Freshman forward Taylor Turner scored 13 points and was named Most Inspirational.

“I’m glad I could make a positive impact,” Turner said. “It feels so awesome to win the championship. We worked so hard for it.”

Although it was a 16-point win, it did not come easy. From the get-go, it was a battle of size versus shooters.

Umpqua, the No. 1 seed in the South Region, had 6-foot-4 South Region MVP Jordan Stotler, and 6-foot-3 Dajanay Powell, who broke the tourney scoring record with her sixth point of the title game on a layup in the first quarter. Powell turned in 146 points in four games surpassing Mar’Shay Moore’s 123 point record set in 2015.

The Warriors had sharpshooting sophomore guard Ciera Jo McKeown, who broke the school scoring record by dropping 45 points in the semi-finals, along with sophomore guard Jade Skidmore, a South Region first-team selection.

The Warriors were able to counter the distinct size disadvantage on the glass by shooting 52.1 percent from the field and knocking down 10 3-pointers at a 43.5 percent clip.

Powell was a force inside, though, piling up 27 points on 13-for-20 shooting, getting all her points from within six-feet of the basket. The only other double-digit scorer for the Riverhawks was Stotler with 16.

“We had [Powell] doubled everywhere,” Hazeltine said. “We tried to force the middle. She got her points, but the other players really didn’t. Great defensive effort on our part.”

The Warriors countered Umpqua’s size by patrolling three defenders in the paint, double-teaming Powell and forcing the Riverhawks to beat them from the perimeter.

Every time Umpqua would attempt a comeback, Walla Walla would counter with a shot-clock, buzzer-beating shot, or a pull-up jumper in the face of two defenders. The Warriors simply knocked down shots when it counted.

“We had to stay persistent throughout the whole game,” Turner said. “We knew we could run hard, we just had to lock them down when we could.”

Walla Walla grabbed a 28-21 lead in the first quarter, led by McKeown’s 11 points and capped with a 10-2 run.

McKeown’s 3-pointer buried from the corner gave the Warriors its largest lead of the first half, a 44-35 cushion with 3:53 left before the break, part of a 9-0 run.

The Warriors went into the break holding a 46-39 lead on 50 percent shooting.

McKeown was on fire from long range in the first half, draining four 3-pointers to go with 17 points on 6-for-9 shooting overall and 4-for-6 from deep.

The Riverhawks went cold shooting, especially from long range, going 5-for-19.

“We focused [defensively] on their posts,” McKeown said. “They were obviously really tall, so we focused on doubling down and taking away their shooters.”

McKeown’s three 3-pointers helped the Warriors open the second half with a 61-46 lead, part of a 15-5 run.

The Riverhawks climbed back in within 13 at 67-54 on Stotler’s baseline jumper, but McKeown drilled back-to-back 3s to end the third quarter, the last one at the buzzer to give the Warriors a 73-54 lead going into the final quarter.

Teresa Acock’s layup from the left side gave the Warriors a 22-point lead, their largest of the game, with 5:28 remaining.

Hazeltine said a year of hard work has finally paid off.

“It feels great,” Hazeltine said. “They’re all different. This one’s really special. These kids worked hard for 11 months.”

All-Tournament Team
MVP: Cierra Jo McKeown, Walla Walla
Most Inspirational: Taylor Turner, Walla Walla

First Team
Jordan Stotler, Umpqua
Dajanay Powell, Umpqua
Brenda Akota, Bellevue
Jade Skidmore, Walla Walla

Second Team
Taylor Stricklin, Umpqua
Theresa Acock, Walla Walla
Leah Dougherty, Big Bend
Callie Gronning, Big Bend
Hailey Garrity, Big Bend

Cardinals erase 20 point deficit to claim first NWAC Basketball Championship in 90-83 win over Peninsula

Championship team photo

North Idaho 90, Peninsula 83 stats

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By Eric Trent for NWAC

EVERETT — The North Idaho Cardinals rallied from a 20-point second half deficit to subdue the Peninsula Pirates 90-83 and claim its first ever Northwest Athletic Conference championship.

Freshman guard RayQuan Evans won tournament MVP while scoring 28 points to lead the Cardinals, including 22 in the second half and 10 in overtime. Evans scored 29 in the semi-finals.

“It feels good,” Evans said. “To come out here and win the whole thing is amazing.”

The Cardinals entered as the No. 3 seed against the second-seeded Pirates, but don’t tell them they were the underdogs.

“We never feel like we’re the underdogs,” Symons said. “I think we’re really happy with our team and confident. Obviously, we were on the bracket, but we think we can beat anyone in the country.”

It’s the first championship for North Idaho since joining the NWAC in 2014.

The Cardinals upset a pair of No. 1 seeds in the Elite 8 and Final Four to reach the title game.

The Cardinals ousted No. 2 seed Lower Columbia 86-68 in the first round, upset No. 1 seed Everett 112-110 in double overtime in the Elite 8, then took a 79-73 win over top-seeded Portland to reach the championship.

Sophomore guard Aushanti Potts-Woods won Most Inspirational for his 23-point effort off the bench, all in the second half, that gave the Cardinals the spark they needed down the stretch.

“It feels amazing,” Potts-Woods said. “We put in all this work. I’m speechless.”

The Cardinals dug themselves a huge hole in the first 16 minutes, surrendering a 23-8 run over the course of eight minutes to trail 36-19 with 3:28 remaining before the half.

“They kind of punched us first,” Evans said. “We had to go play-by-play, cut it down and we eventually did.”

The Cardinals came firing back in the final three minutes before the break, sparked by a corner trey from Charles Williams.

The Cardinals then went on a 10-5 run to end the first half, taking advantage of offensive boards to close the Pirates lead to 41-32.
Potts-Woods said the Cardinals weren’t discouraged by the halftime deficit.

“When we went back to the locker room at the half, we told each other to stick together and keep playing hard,” Potts-Woods said. “Keep working at it, chip away and we’ll come back slowly.”

North Idaho dominated on the boards in the first half, out-rebounding the Pirates 24-17, including a 10-4 advantage on the offensive boards.

Iain McLaughlin led the Cardinals in the first half, scoring 10 points on 4-for-7 shooting.

Right out the gates after the break, Peninsula increased its lead to 20 by breaking off an 11-0 run to start the half.

“They threw their hardest punch at us,” Potts-Woods said.

But, once again, the Cardinals wouldn’t go away. North Idaho used a 11-2 run, capped by a deep 3 from Tyler Brimhall, to close the lead to 56-43 with 12:13 left.

North Idaho then reeled off an 13-0 run on eight points from Rayquan Evans, tying the game at 60 with 6:50 remaining.

The crowd erupted when the Cardinals took the lead, 64-62, on an Evan’s loose-ball grab and layup, their first lead since the opening minutes of the game.

With Peninsula trailing 72-71 with 19 seconds remaining, the Pirates’ Burton went to the free-throw line, hit the front-end, missed the back-end, but grabbed his own rebound and threw it up to give the Pirates a 74-72 lead with 12 seconds left.

Evans streamed down the court, went up for a shot and was fouled, then nailed two free-throws to tie the game and send it to overtime.
The Cardinals dominated in overtime and Evans’ 10 points sealed the 90-83 win.

“It’s pretty special,” Symons said. “I feel like it hasn’t sunk in yet, but these kids deserve it. They’ve worked hard all year, I’m just happy for them.”

All-Tournament Team
MVP: RayQuan Evans, North Idaho
Most Inspirational: Aushanti Potts-Woods, North Idaho

First Team
Aushanti Potts-Woods, North Idaho
Colby Jackson, Peninsula
Trent Van Cleave, Linn-Benton
Cameron Retherferd, Portland
Cameron Burton, Peninsula

Second Team
Iain McLaughlin, North Idaho
Taylor Jensen, Linn-Benton
Lane Josi, Portland
Trent Warren, Peninsula
Jalen Burkett, North Idaho

Women’s NE All-Stars top SE 109-102

All-Star Graphic

North/West All-Stars 109, South/East All-Stars 102

All-Star Photos

EVERETT –Six North/West All-Stars scored in double figures to lead their team to a 109-102 win over the South/East in the 2018 NWAC Women’s All-Star Game at Everett Community College’s Walt Price Fitness Center.

Alexis Thrower (Grays Harbor) led the way with 18 points, and she was followed by Uju Chibuogwu (Everett) and Lexi Ioane (Olympic) with 17 apiece, Angela Sikora (Grays Harbor) with 11 and Jamellia Clark (Peninsula) and Adiya Jones-Smith with 10 each.

The North/West, coached by Chet Hovde (Everett) and Ariassa Wilson (Pierce), made 10 3-point goals.

Sequoia Wheeler (Yakima Valley) nailed seven 3-pointers for the South/East and finished with 25 points. She was joined in double figures by Whitney Meier (North Idaho) with 15, Rachel Fielder (Lane), Nicole Hermosillo-Wright (Clackamas) and Kayce Mock (Clackamas) with 11 each and Jessica Matheson (SW Oregon) with 10.

The South/East, coached by Greg Sheley (Lane) and Zach Wilde (Columbia Basin), made 17 3-pointers.

The game was played by sophomores from participating NWAC schools. All 20 players who suited up scored in the game.

Men’s NW All-Stars out pace the SE 140-128

All-Star Graphic

North/West All-Stars 140, South/East All-Stars 128

All-Star Photos

EVERETT — It was raining 3-pointers in the NWAC Men’s Basketball All-Star Game Sunday at Everett Community College’s Walt Price Fitness Center.

And while the South/East team made one more than the North/West (26-25), it was the North/West that won the game by a score 140-128.

Fourteen players scored in double figures during the game, which was contested by sophomores from participating NWAC schools.

For the victorious North/West, coached by Mike Trautman of Everett and Aaron Landon of South Puget Sound, Stephon Shaw (Tacoma) led the way with 25 points and Raven Frazier (Edmonds)  added 23.

Leading the South/East, coached by Clif Wegner of Clackamas and Jeff Reinland of Walla Walla, were Justin Martin (Wenatchee Valley), Skyler Bradford (SW Oregon) and Isaiah Gentry (Clackamas) with 18 points each.

NWAC Women’s Final Four: Cierra Jo McKeown rips the nets for 45 to send Walla Walla into Championship

Game Graphic

Walla Walla 93, Big Bend 64 stats

Final Four Photos

Cierra Jo McKeown scored 27 of her school-record 45 points in the first half as Walla Walla secured a return berth into the NWAC Women’s Basketball Tournament championship game with a 92-64 win over Eastern Region foe Big Bend.

The Warriors, the East Region’s top seed and the second-ranked NWAC team, are now 31-1 and will meet top-ranked Umpqua, also 31-1, Sunday in the championship game. Big Bend, the fourth seed out of the East, finishes it season at 22-10. Walla Walla played in the title game a year ago and fell to Spokane in overtime.

It was the third victory for Walla Walla over Big Bend this season, including Eastern Region wins by scores of 91-62 and 96-46.

McKeown nailed a 3-pointer 23 seconds into the game and the Warriors never trailed.

They led 24-15 after one quarter and 51-29 at halftime. The Warriors shot 56 percent from the field in the first half, including 45 percent from beyond the 3-point arc. Big Bend, which used the 3-point goal to its advantage in two upset wins earlier in the tournament, was just 2 of 12 from beyond the arc in the first half and 3 of 19 overall.

Big Bend began the third quarter on 9-4 run to get within 17 at 55-38 with 5:47 left in the third quarter, but McKeown recorded a steal, made a layin, was fouled and made the free throw to complete a three-point play to make it 62-42 with 3:16 left in the third. Big Bend never got closer than 17 from that point on.

Jade Skidmore added 25 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists for the Warriors. Big Bend placed four in double figures led by the 19 points of Callie Gronning. Leah Dougherty added 14, Hailey Garrity had 13 and Sunnie Martinez scored 11.

Skidmore said despite the fact the Warriors owned two victories over the Vikings, they weren’t taking them lightly.

“We knew coming in we had won big a couple other times, but during the tournament they had obviously been playing well enough to beat some teams,” Skidmore said. “So we knew we had to take this game like we were playing a team we hadn’t played before and do our best.”

“We knew this would be a tough game and it was,” Walla Walla coach Bobbi Hazeltine said. “We survived.  It’s tough to beat a team three times, and it’s tough to play against somebody who knows you. Our biggest thing was to get past this game and we did and now we have to play the tallest team we’ve ever seen.”

That is Umpqua, and McKeown said the Warriors “just need to stay focused. Umpqua’s a really good team so I just think we need to play our game and we’ll be fine.”

“It will be a huge challenge for us because they are huge and we haven’t seen anybody that compares to them,” Hazeltine said. “But our kids are excited. We got to the championship game and that’s what we wanted to do.”

NWAC Women’s Final Four: Powell sets scoring record as Riverhawks cruise to title game 103-70

Game Graphic

Umpqua 103, Bellevue 70 stats

Final Four Photos

Dajanay Powell continued to burn the nets in the 2018 Women’s NWAC Basketball Tournament by pouring in an NWAC Tournament single-game scoring record of 47 points as No. 1-ranked Umpqua advanced to the championship game with a 103-70 win over Bellevue.

Umpqua, the South Region’s top seed, is now 31-1 and will play the winner of Walla Walla-Big Bend semifinal Sunday. Bellevue, the top seed in the North Region, finished its season with a record of 22-9.

Powell, who scored 26 against Peninsula in the first round and tied a single-game tournament record with 46 against Columbia Basin in the quarterfinals, scored Umpqua’s first 10 points and 14 of the team’s first 15. She now has scored 119 points in the tournament, which is four shy of the tournament record of 123 points held by Blue Mountain’s Mar’Shay Moore set in 2015.

Bellevue made five 3-point field goals in the first half and hung with the RiverHawks, trailing only 43-42 at half. Powell had 21 points at halftime, but Bellevue’s Brenda Akoto had 17.

But in the third quarter, Powell got free for 12 points and the River Hawks outscored Bellevue 28-18. She was aided in the scoring department in the quarter by Jordan Stotler with eight points and Bria Thames with five. Umpqua led 71-55 in the final minute before the Bulldogs closed out the quarter with a 3-pointer by Sierra Cole and a 15-foot buzzer-beater by Molly Dixon to make it 71-60.

But Umpqua coach Dave Stricklin pointed to his team’s defense as the turning point in the game. After giving up 42 points in the first half, the River Hawks held the Bulldogs to just 28 in the second half.

“We said at halftime we’ve scored enough points to win but we gave up in the 40s,” Stricklin said. “And that’s too much to give up so we changed the defense and we did a better job denying the ball at the high post. We gave up 42 in the first half and 28 in the second so the defense was the difference in the second half.” Offensively, the River Hawks scored 60 points in the second half.

Jordan Stotler added 24 points for Umpqua and Bria Thames chipped in 15. Umpqua shot 56.2 percent from the field, and Stricklin was not shocked by his team’s scoring balance.

“(Powell) is the leading scorer now but up until about two weeks ago we had four players averaging between 16 and 18 points,” Stricklin said. “It just so happens in the tournament teams have had a hard time matching up with her and she’s scored a lot more than she normally does.”

Bellevue was led by the 22 points of Brenda Akoto. Sierra Cole added 15, Kassin Hopkins 11 and Molly Dixon 11.

Powell and Thames were excited that the River Hawks made it to the title game after falling short last year, losing in the semifinals to eventual champion Spokane.

“It’s what we’ve been working for all season, from the end of last season to now,” Thames said. “We’ve put a lot of hard work in to getting to the championship, and I’m really proud of my team for accomplishing that goal.”

“I’m really excited,” Powell said. “The big thing is just making sure we stay positive.”

Said Stricklin: “We feel happy because we feel like we have the monkey off our back. We were all freshmen last year and we weren’t mentally prepared for that game (against Spokane). We wanted to get back here and win that (semifinal) game.”

2018 Men’s Final Four – Evans pours in 29 as Cardinals advance to first NWAC title game

Game Graphic

North Idaho 79, Portland 73 stats

Final Four Photos

RayQuan Evans scored 29 points and the North Idaho bench took up the slack for injured Tyler Brimhall as the Cardinals advanced to the championship game of the 2018 Men’s NWAC Basketball Tournament with a 79-73 win over Portland.

North Idaho, the third seed out of the East Region, improved to 24-8 overall and will meet Peninsula in the championship game Sunday. Portland, the South Region’s No. 1 seed, ended its season at 23-6.

Brimhall played only 11 minutes and did not score in the game, but Evans made 9 of 17 field goals and 10  of 12 free throws to the lead the Cardinals. He was joined in double figures by Charles Williams with 15 points and Aushanti Potts-Woods and Seth Christiaens with 11 each.

Portland was led by the 17 points of KJ Bosco. Lane Josi and Cameron Retherford scored 16 apiece.

“Losing Tyler hurt, he’s our Division 1 transfer,” NIC coach Corey Symons said. “He’s our leader and he’s one of our best rebounders and one of our leading scorers. It was tough losing him, but we had guys with big minutes off the bench. We had a couple of injuries there and got in some foul trouble, but we’re pretty deep on the bench.”

Trailing 27-17, a 3-pointer by Portland’s Jacob Powell with 4:50 left in the half ended a 6-0 NIC run and cut the Cardinal lead to 27-20. That was the last field goal of the half for Portland until a trey by KJ Bosco with one second left in the half made it 29-26 NIC at the break.

Portland was guilty of 12 first-half turnovers and shot just 29 percent (9 of 31) from the floor.

The lead changed hands four times in the first 10 minutes of the second half until the Cardinals took the lead for good at 48-47 on a basket by Evans with 10:48 left in the game. Portland’s Lane Josi went to the bench with four fouls at the 10:44 mark, and NIC created some space with an 8-0 run, four of the points by Evans. That made it 56-47 with 9:06 left.

But the Panthers would not go quietly. They cut the Cardinal lead to 56-55 and had the ball with a chance to take the lead but could not capitalize.

Two huge baskets by Aushanti Potts-Woods helped the Cardinals expand their lead, and they were able to pull away for the six-point win.

“Aushanti is playing great,” Symons said. “Coaches hate to say ‘gamers’ but when it comes game time, he’s ready to play. He played really well for us.”

Symons also had praise for his point guard Evans. “He’s having a great tournament.”

Potts-Woods and Evans both had good words for their teammates.

“I like how everybody came together to play,” Potts-Woods said. “One of our guys went down, next man up.”

Said Evans: “Coach talks about getting downhill, that’s what he emphasizes on the offensive end, so when we score it helps with our defense as well.”

Both Cardinals are excited to be in the championship game.

“It’s ring time,” Potts-Woods said. “It’s time to go win.”

“I want to do it for the school and the coaches and these guys who put in so much work,” Evans said, nodding toward Potts-Woods. “That’s really why I’m trying to win this, and we’re right there so we gotta go get it.”

Symons expects a battle from Peninsula.

“Peninsula does a great job,” he said. “They have a great program, and it’s gonna be a dogfight.

“And it’s big for us,” he continued. “Everybody sets that goal, and our staff went out and recruited and this was part of our goal when the season started. We’ve had some ups and downs but it’s big for us, it’s big for our program, obviously being new to the NWAC. We’re excited to be here, but we’re gonna try to see if we can not just be excited to be here, but to go finish something.”

2018 Men’s Final Four – Peninsula’s balance propels the Pirates to title game

Game Graphic

Peninsula 89, Linn-Benton 74 stats

Final Four Photos

Colby Jackson scored 20 points to lead six Peninsula Pirates in double figures as the North Region’s second seed advanced to the 2018 NWAC Men’s Basketball Tournament championship game with an 89-75 win over Linn-Benton.

Jackson shot 7-for-11 from the field and 2-of-4 from the 3-point line as the Pirates made the title game for the first time since they won it all in 2011. Peninsula is now 22-10 on the season and will meet the winner of the North Idaho-Portland semifinal. Linn-Benton, the second seed from the South Region, finished its season 22-10.

Marky Adams scored 15 points, Cameron Burton 14, Kaelin Crane 13, Trent Warren 12 and Eli’sha Sheppard 10 for the Pirates, who shot 48.3 percent from the field and made 27 of 32 free throws for 84.4 percent.  

“They’re a very aggressive team and we wanted to attack that pressure as much as we could,” said Peninsula coach Mitch Freeman. “Getting to the free throw line was a very important stat for us.”

Linn Benton’s Trey Ecker unleashed an eight-point run in the span of 1:28 to extend the Roadrunners’ early lead from 11-9 to 19-11 at the 11:11 mark of the first half. But back came the Pirates with a 19-7 run of their own to take a 30-26 lead with 5:14 left before intermission.

The Pirates managed their largest first-half lead at 43-37 on a basket by Crane with 1:06 left before Matthew Ismay canned a 3-pointer for the Roadrunners with 49 seconds left before half to create the 43-40 halftime score.

Linn-Benton never took the lead in the second half, but the Roadrunners managed to the game once, at 48-48, with 14:09 left. But Peninsula slowly pulled away. The Pirates’ largest lead of the game was the final margin.

Taylor Jenson led Linn-Benton with 17 points and Ecker added nine.

Crane said the balance the Pirates showed is something that has been happening all season long.

“Everybody can go,” Crane said. “We practice hard and everybody wants to win. I think we did a really good job.”

Freeman agreed that the Pirates shared the ball well during the win.

“We definitely play that the whole is more important than the sum of the parts, it’s something we go by,” Freeman said. “We have tremendous leadership in Trent Warren and Colby Jackson and our guys trust and believe in one another and that’s what makes it work.”

Peninsula defeated Linn-Benton 77-72 earlier this season on Dec. 30 in the Clackamas Holiday Tournament. Freeman said his team did study film of that game even though it took place two and a half months ago.

“We actually looked at it quite a bit because it’s the best way for our guys to get a good feel for who we are playing,” Freeman said. “We look at each individual player and what he wants to do and how he does it. We watched as much as we could.”

Peninsula will be gunning for its third NWAC championship. The Pirates beat Pierce 80-76 for the title in 2011 in Kennewick, and they also won in 1970 when they beat Lower Columbia 132-130 in overtime in Longview.

Jackson said he doesn’t expect the Pirates to change anything at this point.

“We did the same thing to get here and it’s the same thing we’ve done all year long,” Jackson said. “You can’t change it up now. You gotta stay the course.”

Freeman said the championship game is not just another game, and the Pirates won’t approach it as such.

“It’s a different game and we treat it for what it is,” he said. “We try to embrace the moment, and we want our guys to get excited about playing in a championship environment.”

NWAC Road to the Final Four – Who will make it to Sunday?

Basketball Final Four Graphic

VANCOUVER — The Final Four is set for this weekend at the Walt Price Student Fitness Center at Everett Community College in Everett, WA.

The men will open the event at 2pm on Saturday with North #2 seed Peninsula College Pirates taking on South #2 seed Linn-Benton Community College Roadrunners.  The second match-up features the East #3 seed North Idaho College Cardinals versus South #1 seed Portland Community College Panthers at 4pm.

The women get started at 6pm with North #1 seed Bellevue College Bulldogs taking on South #1 Umpqua Community College Riverhawks, followed by East #4 Seed Big Bend Community College Vikings matching up against East #1 rival Walla Walla Community College Warriors in the nightcap at 8pm.


MEN: Peninsula Pirates vs. Linn-Benton Roadrunners, 2pm
The Pirates (21-10) and Roadrunners (22-9) met December 30, with the Pirates taking a 77-72 decision over LBCC. Peninsula took a 10 point halftime lead 41-31, but were outscored in the second half 41-36.
Colby Jackson tallied 24 points, 6 assists and 3 steals to lead the Pirates and the team shot 38.6% from the field, 30.4% from the arc and 86.7% at the free throw line. 

Taylor Jensen led the way for the Roadrunners scoring 19 points while adding 8 boards, 2 blocks and 3 steals. LBCC shot a similar FG percentage of 38.5% while hitting 25% from the arc and 77.3% at the free throw line.

Both squads committed an uncharacteristically high 17 turnovers.
Peninsula arrives at the Final Four with convincing victories over S#3 Clackamas Cougars (87-74) and W#1 South Puget Sound Clippers (69-59). Linn-Benton’s resume includes nine-point wins over N#3 Edmonds Community College Tritons (81-72) and E#1, NWAC defending champions, Walla Walla Warriors (84-75).

Peninsula averages 80.6ppg (20th in conference) on 45.7% shooting while allowing opponents to 73.9ppg (4th least). The Roadrunners average 86.5ppg (10th) on 44.5% shooting while allowing 77.0ppg (10th).

Other top ten-team stats: The Pirates are 7th in the league in 3PT% (37.3%), 8th in rebound margin/game (3.1), 6th in personal fouls/game (15.4) and 1st in opponents’ 3PT percentage (30.9%).

Linn-Benton is 10th in FG attempts/game (69.5), 4th in FT made/game (16.6), 7th in FT attempts/game (22.0), 3rd in FT% (75.4), 4th in defensive rebounds/game (29.3), 10th in total rebounds/game (41.2), 7th in rebound margin/game (3.7), 7th in steals/game (8.1) and 10th in opponents’ FG percentage (42.4%).

MEN: Portland Panthers vs. North Idaho Cardinals, 4pm
After slaying top-ranked Everett 112-110 in a double overtime thriller Sunday – the question is – do the Cardinals still have enough in the tank to take down 2nd-ranked Portland?… Six days rest should help.

The two squads have not met this season, but do have common opponents in Big Bend, Chemeketa, Yakima Valley and Spokane. Portland turned in a slightly better record going 5-2 against the common opponents while North Idaho registered a 4-3 record.

Portland (26-5) enters the Final Four averaging 85.1ppg (16th) on 46.8% shooting while allowing opponents 76.2ppg (8th best). North Idaho (23-8) tallies 87.2ppg (7th) on 48.4% shooting while allowing 75.4ppg (7th).

The Cardinals led the league in several team categories – 1st in FG% (48.4), 1st in FT made/game (19.3), 1st in FT attempts/game (26.4), 1st in defensive rebounds/game (31.4), 1st in rebound margin/game (11.6) and 1st in opponents FG percentage (38.7).

Portland in comparison shoots 46.8% (6th), 3rd in FT made/game (18.2), 2nd in FT attempts/game (24.8), 6th in defensive rebounds/game (29.1), 3rd in rebound margin/game (7.3) and 4th in opponents FG percentage (41.1).

Portland has a stingier defense grabbing 8.4 steals/game (6th) and 3.8 blocks (5th) to NIC’s 6.5 steals (26th) and 3.0 blocks (14th).

Portland punched their ticket to the Final Four with a late come-from-behind win over Bellevue 72-67 and a thumping of 4th-ranked Spokane 93-65. In addition to North Idaho’s epic battle with Everett, the Cardinals routed Lower Columbia in the Sweet Sixteen, 86-68.

Women: Umpqua Riverhawks vs. Bellevue Bulldogs, 6pm
In their only previous meeting of the season, the Riverhawks (30-1) defeated the Bulldogs (22-8) in a preseason tournament at Bellevue. UCC pulled out to a 21-12 lead before taking a 43-32 halftime lead into the locker room. After a tight 3rd quarter, BC outscored the Riverhawks 21-16 in the fourth period, but fell short, 87-79.

The Riverhawks used a balanced scoring attack with all five starters scoring in double figures led by sophomore Dajanay Powell with 24. The Bulldogs had four players in double-digit scoring led by sophomore Brenda Akoto’s 25.

Bellevue turned in a 48.3% FG percentage to UCC’s 45.7%. With most team statistical categories being equal, the game was decided on the backboard as Umpqua took down 40 rebounds to Bellevue’s 19. The twin towers of 6’3” Powell (10) and 6’4” Jordan Stotler (8) combined for 18 of UCC’s rebounds. Bellevue did take an advantage in steals with 7 to the Riverhawks 1.

Top-ranked Umpqua got to the Final Four with an 11-point win over N#4 seed Peninsula Pirates 83-62 before dismantling E#2 and 5th-ranked Columbia Basin Hawks 93-66 in a lopsided victory.

Bellevue’s road to the Final Four includes wins over S#4 seed Mt. Hood Saints 61-57 and W#2 seed Lower Columbia Red Devils 70-62.

Umpqua enters the Final Four scoring 87.4 ppg (1st) on a 50% FG average (1st) while only allowing opponents 59.7ppg (4th lowest).

Bellevue averages 71.0ppg (11th) on 41.9% shooting (9th) while allowing 62.9 ppg (9th).

The Bulldogs will have their hands full as the Riverhawks lead the league in 11 team statistical categories and are in the top 6 in another 5 categories.

UCC leads the NWAC in: Points, Points/game, FG made/game, FG%, Defensive rebounds/game, Total rebounds/game, Rebound margin/game, Assists/game, Blocks/game, Opponents’ FG % and Opponents’ 3PT%. They are top six in: FG attempts/game (6th), 3PT% (5th), Offensive rebounds/game (3rd), Personal fouls/game (2nd least) and Points/game allowed (4th).

The Bulldogs have also put up some solid stats ranking in top ten in 10 categories: FG% (9th), 3PT% (9th), FT made/Game (4th), FT attempts/game (6th), FT% (3rd), Defensive rebounds/game (8th), Rebound margin/game (10th), Assists/game (8th), Points per game allowed (9th) and Opponents’ FG% (9th).

The question for Bellevue’s shorter squad… while they can certainly run with the Riverhawks, can Brenda Akoto and company keep Powell from dominating in the paint and scoring at will?

Powell scorched a smaller CBC team for 46 points on 91.3% shooting while tying a tournament record for points and smashing the FG made record with 21 in the game. The Bulldogs may have to extend their defense to pressure the Riverhawks in the full court.

Women: Walla Walla Warriors vs. Big Bend Vikings, 8pm
The 2nd-ranked and E#1 seeded Warriors (30-1) enter the game with two decisive victories over the tournament Cinderella, E#4 Vikings (22-9). WWCC swept BBCC in East Region play by scores of 91-62 and 96-46.

The Warriors will not be looking past the Vikings though as the East Region was solid from top to bottom. Walla Walla arrived to the Final Four with impressive wins over the W#4 Highline Thunderbirds 78-37 and 3rd-ranked S#2 Lane Titans in a stunner 85-62.

The Warriors’ only blemish on the season came to a constructed all-star team that included 2-time WNBA all-star and Louisville All-American Shoni Schimmel along with former Eastern Washington University & New Mexico State stars Tisha Phillips & Abby Scott.  WWCC only lost to the highly skilled squad 88-76.

Walla Walla has compiled some impressive team stats on the season and are in the top 9 in 15 categories: Points (3rd), Points per game (80.1), FG made/game (4th), FG% (2nd), 3PT made/game (7th), 3PT% (1st), FT% (1st), Defensive rebounds/game (6th), Total rebounds/game (8th), Rebound margin/game (2nd), Turnovers/game (lowest), Personal fouls/game (6th lowest), Points per game allowed (2nd), Opponents FG % (7th), and Opponents 3PT% (9th).

11th-ranked Vikings stunned 4th-ranked and W#1 Grays Harbor 70-59 before taking out 10th-ranked Everett 89-79 in front of a massive Trojan hometown crowd last Friday.

Big Bend has also tallied big stats and are in the top ten in 14 categories: Points (5th), Points per game (9th), FG made/game (8th), FG% (7th), 3PT made/game (1st), 3PT attempts/game (4th), 3PT% (6th), FT made/game (10th), FT attempts/game (9th), Rebound margin/game (6th),  Assists/game (9th), Turnovers/game (9th fewest), Steals/game (10th) and Personal fouls/game (4th fewest).

The Vikings will need to find an answer for East Region MVP Cierra Jo McKeown who is averaging 22.6ppg (2nd in the league) and Jade Skidmore (15.5ppg/9.4rpg/4.9apg). The sophomore combo has lit up the Vikings in the previous two meetings.

2018 Sophomore All-Star Game Rosters Announced

Sophomore All-Star Games graphic

The NWAC Basketball Sophomore All-Star games will take place Sunday, March 18 at the Walt Price Student Fitness Center,
2206 Tower Street, Everett, WA 98201 [map] on the campus of Everett Community College. Games times are men at 10:30 am and women at 12:15 pm. The All-Star games will not be live streamed.

No. Name Ht Pos College HS Hometown
2 Gio Jackson 6’0 G Everett Todd Beamer Federal Way, WA
3 Brandon Cotton 5’10 G Lower Columbia Lincoln Tacoma, WA
5 Zach Walton 6’6 SF Edmonds Morton Morton, WA
11 Spencer Sweet 6’3 G Lower Columbia Mark Morris Longview, WA
14 Dayton Pascua 5’11 G Tacoma Tacoma Baptist Tacoma, WA
14 Alex Martin 6’3 GF Whatcom Meridian Bellingham, WA
14 Conner Moffat 6’3 G Everett Lakeside Spokane, WA
22 Yonathan Michael 6’6 GF Bellevue Shorewood Shoreline, WA
25 Stephon Shaw 6’3 F Tacoma Foss Tacoma, WA
32 Wes Reynolds 6’4 F S Puget Sound North Thurston Lacey, WA

Coaches: Mike Trautman, Everett & Aaron Landon, South Puget Sound

No. Name Ht Pos College HS Hometown
1 Gamaun Boykin 6’3 G Yakima Valley Miller Grove Lithonia, GA
2 Cameron Gay 6’4 G Spokane Lakeside Spokane, WA
2 Landon Radliff 6’1 G Walla Walla Richland Richland, WA
2 Justin Martin 5’9 G Wenatchee Valley Lewis & Clark Spokane, WA
10 Nygil Carr 5’10 PG Clackamas Phyllis Wheatley Houston, TX
13 Skyler Bradford 6’7 F SW Oregon Gladstone Oregon City, OR
13 Ethan Betts 6’3 G Umpqua St James, AUS Townsville, QLD
20 Isaiah Gentry 6’4 F Clackamas Milwaukie Milwaukie, OR
22 Steven Fair 6’3 GF Mt. Hood Alliance Fresno, CA
33 Cesar Sandoval 6’6 C Spokane Moses Lake Moses Lake, WA

Coaches: Clif Wegner, Clackamas & Jeff Reinland, Walla Walla

No. Name Ht Pos College HS Hometown
1 Jamellia Clark 5’11 C Peninsula Liberty Las Vegas, NV
14 Shanay Dotson 5’11 G Lower Columbia Adna Adna, WA
14 Kayla Howard 5’7 G Centralia White River Buckley, WA
20 Alexis Biggerstaff 5’0 F Everett Ketchikan Ketchikan, AK
20 Alexia Thrower 5’10 GF Grays Harbor Canyon Springs Las Vegas, NV
21 Kylie Smith (injured) 6’0 PF Centralia Battle Ground Battle Ground, WA
24 Angela Sikora 5’7 GF Grays Harbor Dayton Dayton, NV
30 Lexi Ioane 5’9 GF Olympic West Seattle Seattle, WA
32 Cherita Daugherty 5’9 G Lower Columbia Prairie Vancouver, WA
44 Adiya Jones-Smith 6’0 F Skagit Valley Tulalip Heritage Marysville, WA
51 Uju Chibuogwu 5’11 F Everett Shorecrest Shoreline, WA

Coaches: Chet Hovde, Everett & Ariassa Wilson, Pierce

No. Name Ht Pos College HS Hometown
2 Amber Lease 5’4 G Lane Mazama Klamath Falls, OR
2 Jessica Matheson 5’2 G SW Oregon Granger West Valley, UT
4 Rachel Fielder 5’1 GF Lane Rocky Mountain Meridian, ID
5 Sabin Keo 5’10 F Columbia Basin Woodinville Woodinville, WA
10 Cierra Dvorak 5’9 G North Idaho Lake City Coeur d’Alene, ID
12 Ronnie Harris 5’9 G North Idaho Skyview Billings, MT
22 Nicole Hermosillo-Wright 5’7 G Clackamas North Salinas Salinas, CA
23 Whitney Meier 5’5 G North Idaho Lake City Coeur d’Alene, ID
32 Kayce Mock 6’0 GF Clackamas Sutherlin Sutherlin, OR
25 Sequoia Wheeler 5’6" G Yakima Valley Clarkson Lapwai, ID

Coaches: Greg Sheley, Lane & Zach Wilde, Columbia Basin

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