Greg Franz announces retirement as head coach of WVC Men’s Basketball Program

After 19 years as head of the Wenatchee Valley College Men’s Basketball Program, Greg Franz will turn the court over to a new coach next year.

Increased demands for recruiting and fundraising, teaching with an overload, and personal health were the reasons Franz gave in a letter of his intention to retire as head men’s basketball coach to WVC Athletic Director Jessica Schutt on April 2.

“It has been an honor to share the past 19 years with the many outstanding student-athletes who have been a part of the Wenatchee Valley College Men’s Basketball Program,” Franz said.

Jim Richardson, WVC president, said it has been an honor, in turn, to have Franz as a coach, as well as an instructor. “This is a man who always puts students first,” he said. “His dedication is revealed in so many ways, especially in his mentoring of his players both as students and athletes. He is a good example for the rest of us.”

Franz will continue to teach physical education at the college and will help with the transition of the men’s basketball program, including recruiting for next year’s team. Before coming to WVC, he coached in Illinois and Montana for a total of 29 years.

Franz said he feels privileged and blessed to have worked with the kids. “It’s been a great journey,” he said. “I’m a richer man because of that.”

Schutt said she is thankful for the opportunity to have worked with Franz the last three years, and appreciates his 19 years of service and dedication. “Coach Franz accomplished many dreams that coaches usually only wish for, winning a championship title in 1996 and runner-up in 2000,” she said. “I respect the time and energy he put forth toward serving the hundreds of student-athletes, Wenatchee Valley College and North Central Washington.”

Schutt said Franz embodies the concept of “team player.”

Shelly Pflugrath, who coaches women’s fastpitch softball at WVC, said Franz “has been the one constant in athletics since I have been here. He has been a tremendous asset to me and my players, as an adviser to them and a mentor to me.”

Pflugrath said she sought Franz’s advice on numerous occasions in making decisions in how to conduct her own program. “His opinion mattered to me and guided me in my own decision making,” she said.

“I am in a little bit of shock that he won’t be patrolling the sidelines next season. It will be an adjustment for all of us. Whoever replaces him has big shoes to fill. Coach Franz wasn’t just about what happened on the court, he was about impacting young peoples’ lives, something he did and did well for 19 years.”

Marco Azurdia, vice president of student development and former WVC Women’s Basketball coach, echoed the thoughts of others. “I have always appreciated Greg’s genuine regard for his players,” he said. “It was never about him; it was always about the players.”

Sheley named 2007 Coach of the Year in Women’s Basketball

For the second consecutive year, Lane’s Greg Sheley’s has been named the NWAACC Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year. Sheley led his Titans to their second consecutive NWAACC Championship. The Titans finished the 2006-07 Season 29-4 and won their third-consecutive Southern Region title.

Sheley has been coaching at Lane CC since 1999. He will be honored at the NWAACC’s Hall of Fame Banquet being held May 31st in Bellevue, WA.

Clif Wegner named 2007 Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year

After winning his first NWAACC Championship, Clif Wegner, Clackamas was voted the 2007 Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year. Clackamas finished the year 29-4 and won the NWAACC Championship for the first time since 1994. Clackamas has been to the tournament the past seven tournaments, placing in the top eight every year with third places in 2002 & 2004.

This was Wegner’s ninth season at Clackamas and tenth in the NWAACC. His Cougar teams have won 77% of their contests and three Southern Region titles in 2001, 03 and 07.

Wegner will be honored at the NWAACC’s Annual Hall of Fame Banquet which is being held May 31, 2007 in Bellevue, WA.

Clackamas overcomes Bellevue for title

KENNEWICK, WASH- The Clackamas Cougars overcame a tough Bellevue Bulldog squad to win their third NWAACC Championship and first since 1994. In a 67-56 victory, the Cougars proved the pollsters who voted them first correct. Clackamas was put under pressure early when Bellevue started off 5-0.

The Courgars responed to tie the game at 5-5 and Belleuve got up by four. unfortunately for BCC, that four point lead was the last time they would lead for the rest of the game. Clackamas was quick to respond and took the lead when David Cernin drained three pointer with 15:31 remaining in the first half.

From that point on, the Cougars went on a 20-7 run, building a 13 point lead before finishing the half with a nine point advantage.

The second half showed a disciplined Clackamas team withstand a Bellevue run that tied the game 50-50 with 7:58 remaining. That would prove to be Bellevue’s last gasp.

Clackamas again responded to the Bulldog pressure and ran off 10 straight points over a six minute span.

The win gives the Cougar their third title in 14 tournament appearances. Bellevue finishes second.

FIRST TEAM: Curtis Carlson, Walla Walla; David Cernin, Clackamas; David Grant, Bellevue; Luke Hammond, Bellevue; Michael Wright, Pierce.

SECOND TEAM: Morris Anderson, Highline; Christian Hammond, Columbia Basin; Divaldo Mbunge, Peninsula; Noble d’Shelton, Pierce; Steven Vaughn, Clackamas.

MOST VALUABLE: Brian Freeman, Clackamas.

MOST INSPIRATIONAL: Marcus Fermon, Bellevue.

Results from March 4th
Columbia Basin 84 def Highline 72
Columbia Basin (9-5, 24-7) finishes fourth. Highline (21-9) finishes seventh.
Peninsula 74 def Big Bend 71
Peninsula (10-6, 18-10) finishes fifth. Big Bend (9-5, 21-10) finishes eighth.
Pierce 87 def Walla Walla 78
Pierce (12-4, 21-11) finishes third. Walla Walla (13-1, 25-6) finishes sixth.

Clackamas 67 def Bellevue 56
Clackamas (14-0, 29-4) wins their third NWAACC Championship and first since 1994. Belleuvue (15-1, 28-4) finishes second.

Lane tops Bellevue for repeat

KENNEWICK, WASH- The Lane Titans led the 2007 NWAACC Championship game from start to finish. The tournament’s Most Valuable Player, Mercedes Alexander of Lane proved her value by scoring 10 of Lane’s first 16 points. That great start built an eight point advantage from which Bellevue would never recover.

The Titans had an eleven point lead with five minutes remaining on the clock and nine points at halftime. After the half, Bellevue went on a run to cut the lead and tie the game 40-40 with 15:10 left to play. That run took all that Bellevue had left and Lane responded to build an 11 point lead.

Lane won the game off second chance points out rebounding Bellevue 21-9 on the offensive board. The offensive rebounds led to 18 second-chance points.

For Bellevue, Luv Rattler led the Bulldogs with 18 points. Latrina Woods had 17 points.

The Bulldogs finish the season 26-5. Their second place at the NWAACC Tournament is Bellevue’s best finish in 13 tournament appearances.

Lane wins their second consecutive title and finish the season 29-4.

Lane’s Sheri Gates wins her second NWAACC title. Gates was a member of the 1997 Umpqua team that won the NWAACC Championship. At the time she was Sherri Nowak.

Andrea Blodgett, Yakima Valley; Jennifer Deyoung, Bellevue; Kammy Martindale, Lane; Luv Rattler, Bellevue; Samantha Tinned, Highline.

Sara Bergner, Whatcom; Marissa Bower, Bellevue; Vanessa McCormick, Lower Columbia; Chelsea Morrison, Yakima Valley; Sadie Short, Walla Walla.

MOST VALUABLE: Mercedes Alexander, Lane.

MOST INSPIRATIONAL: Nikki DePeel, Columbia Basin.

Results from March 4, 2007
Lower Columbia 51 def Columbia Basin 46
Lower Columbia (13-3, 20-9) finishes in fourth place. Columbia Basin (9-5, 23-8) finishes seventh.

Yakima Valley 92 def Walla Walla 56
Yakima Valley (12-2, 29-4) finishes third. Walla Walla (9-5, 16-11) finishes sixth.

Highline 61 def Whatcom 52
Highline (14-2, 27-6) finishes fifth. Whatcom (13-3, 21-11) finishes eighth.

Lane 81 def Bellevue 65
Lane (13-1, 29-4) win their second consecutive NWAACC title. Bellevue (13-3, 23-4) finishes second for their best ever finish at the NWAACC Tournament.

Sunday 2 p.m. Women’s Game: Walla Walla vs. Yakima Valley play for 3rd Place

Leaving little doubt that they are one of the best teams in the NWAACC, the Yakima Valley Yaks bucked off the Walla Walla Warriors to win the third place berth in the 2007 NWAACC Championships.

The final score was 92-56, although the Yaks led the game by as many as 42 points in the second half.

First team Eastern Region all star Chelsie Morrison and second team Eastern Region all star Andrea Blodgett posted the biggest numbers, with 25 and 21 points, respectively.

The Eastern Region Most Valuable Player, Warrior Sadie Short, and teammate Jackie Calhoun had 16 points a piece.

The Warriors take 6th place in the tournament and finish off the year 18-13. The Yaks exit the season 29-4.

Sunday 2 p.m. Men’s Game: Walla Walla and Pierce Play for 3rd Place

In today’s third place contest, the Pierce Raiders charged ahead and kept the pressure on, eventually shaking loose a very determined Walla Walla Warrior team in the final five minutes after the Eastern Region Most Valuable Player, Curtis Carlson, fouled out of the game with his team only two points behind.

Final score: Pierce Raiders 87, Walla Walla Warriors 78.

For the Raiders, Michael Wright, Co-Most Valuable Player for the Western Region, proved his MVP status, racking up 31 points and pulling down 17 rebounds.

First team Western Region all star Noble’D Shelton added an additional 28 points.

First team Eastern Region all star Travis Noble led the Warriors in scoring with 28 points.

Despite his foul-out, Curtis Carlson was close behind with 26.

The Raiders finish off their season 21-11. The Warriors take sixth place in the tournament and end with a 25-6 record.

Sunday 12 p.m. Men’s Game: Peninsula and Big Bend Play for 5th Place

In a game that was a tenth of a second off from going into overtime, the Peninsula Pirates beat the Big Bend Vikings 73-70 to earn 5th place in the 2007 NWAACC Championship Tournament.

With less than two seconds left on the clock, Derek Miller was passed the ball. Standing six or eight inches off the 3-point line, he let one fly as the referees signaled the end of the game – and no shot. However, the fans stared in amazement as the ball fell perfectly through the net. One second earlier, and the game would’ve gone into overtime.

Derek Miller had more than half of the of the Viking points at halftime – 22 of 39 – and scored another 5 to have the game high 27 points.

Eastern Region first team All Star Blake Solomon brought down 17 points.

Northern Region first team All Stars, Pirates Divaldo Mbunga and Jacob Gonzales scored 28 and 18 points respectively.

The Pirates leave their season 18-10. The Vikings collect eighth place and leave with a 19-8 record.

Sunday 12 p.m. Women’s Game: Highline and Whatcom Play for 5th Place

In the women’s game for fifth place, Highline Thunderbirds flew ahead early on, leading by as many as 14 points in the second half. However, the Orcas refused to end their season without a fight, and with the vocal support of the men’s team and their fans behind them, whittled down the lead to three with under two minutes remaining.

Pushed to the edge, the Thunderbirds charged again, encouraged by their own 7th place men’s team. Highline scored a series of unanswered points, including a last second fast-break layup, to claim 5th place in the 2007 NWAACC Championships with a final score of 61-52.

Second team Western Region All Star, T-bird Vanessa Baines, knocked back 16 points.

Most Valuable Player of the Western Region, Thunderbird Samantha Tinned, contributed 15 and 14 rebounds.

Northern Region first team All Star, Orca Sarah Bergner, kept the team close by scoring more than half their points – 26 – and pulled down 13 rebounds.

The eighth place Orcas tie up their season 21-11. The Thunderbirds finish 27-6.

Sunday 10 a.m. Men’s Game: Highline and Columbia Basin Play for 4th Place

The Columbia Basin Hawks swooped away from the Highline Thunderbirds to win today’s match-up and claim fourth place in the tournament as their female counterparts lost a close game in the court next door.

With a final score of 84-72, the Thunderbirds continued to battle with last 30-second steals by Vaughn Gaines and Brandon Smith of the ‘Birds.

Five Hawks players were in the double digits, with Admir Beribak scoring the game high of 20. Four Thunderbirds each scored 10 or above, including Western Region second team All Star Zach Bruce’s team highs of 17 points and 13 rebounds.

Columbia Basin finishes their 2007 season with a 24-7 record. The Thunderbirds end 21-9.

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