BELLEVUE, Wash. — Walla Walla lost for the second time in three days here Sunday at the Bulldog Classic men’s basketball tournament at Bellevue Community College.
Highline built a 41-33 halftime lead and held on for a 92-87 consolation-round victory, in part because the Warriors were 1-for-8 from the free-throw line in the game’s final three minutes.
The loss dropped WWCC to 5-2 on the season.
“Both of our losses over here were really, really close,” Warriors coach Jeff Reinland said, referencing Sunday’s defeat and a 72-69 first-round loss to Whatcom on Friday. Sandwiched between them, Walla Walla defeated Shoreline 78-64 in an elimination game Saturday.
“We just didn’t shoot the ball well all weekend, and that’s the bottom line,” Reinland said. “Our perimeter shooting was really bad, and that’s what caused us so much grief.”
The Warriors were 34-for-66 from the field Sunday, 9-for-27 from beyond the 3-point arc and 10-for-18 from the free-throw line.
Damen Thacker, who led the Warriors with 23 points, drew a foul while attempting a 3-point shot with under a minute to play and his team trailing by three points. He missed all three free throws, Highline answered with a 3 at its end of the court and the game was essentially over.
The Warriors did have nice scoring balance.
Forrest Smith finished with 15 points, Jake Albright added 13, Jake Costello 12 and Wyatt Hardin and Kyler Villarreal 10 points each. Jared Anderson led the Warriors with nine rebounds and Thacker collected seven assists.
Highline’s David Harris was the game’s leading scorer with 31 points, thanks in part to a 4-for-4 showing from downtown. Coby Rothwell tallied 19 points and Coby Myles and Ryan Kavanagh added 12 each.
“We looked tired,” Reinland said of his team. “Not just Sunday but every day of the tournament. We have a lot of freshmen and this was their first road trip, their first overnighter.”
The Warriors lost a close one to Whatcom on Friday 72-69 before beating Shoreline on Saturday 78-64.
“It was a very cold shooting night for us, just couldn’t get anything to go,” Warriors coach Jeff Reinland said.
Walla Walla shot 24-of-70 from the field and 9-of-42 from the 3-point line.
“We played hard but Whatcom was a very good team,” Reinland said.
Jake Albright was a bright spot for the Warriors on Friday night with a double-double, 21 points and 13 rebounds on 9-of-12 shooting.
Also, David Howard provided a spark off the bench for Walla Walla with 14 points.
In Saturday’s win, the Warriors shot a little better from the field, 31-of-76 but still struggled from 3, shooting 10-of-42.
“We’re just really struggling shooting right now,” Reinland said. “It’s not that were playing bad and taking bad shots. They’re just not falling.”
Jake Albright recorded a double-double in his second straight game this time with 26 points and 14 rebounds.
“Jake played very well for us,” Reinland said. “We tried to keep giving him the ball more in the post, but they kept double-teaming him.”
“I thought our defense was really good throughout this game.”
The Warriors will be home this coming weekend for a three-day NWAC crossover tournament. Lane, Tacoma and Everett will join Walla Walla in a three-day round-robin competition.
The Warriors will play the second game of a doubleheader each day. They face Lane Friday at 8 p.m., Tacoma Saturday at 6 p.m. and Everett Sunday at 2 p.m.