Wenatchee’s men overcome a 10-point deficit in the final five minutes to take a 75-74 win over WWCC.
WENATCHEE — All victories are not equal, and the same can be said of defeats.
Walla Walla coach Jeff Reinland and his Warriors experienced the latter here Wednesday night as Wenatchee came from behind in the waning minutes and seconds to claim a 75-74 victory in a Northwest Athletic Conference East Region men’s basketball game.
“I will probably never get over this loss,” Reinland said after Wenatchee’s Justin Martin sank two free throws with .8 seconds on the clock to give the Knights the victory.
“We absolutely gave the game away,” Reinland said. “Everything that could go wrong did go wrong in the last minute-and-a-half, and that is how they won. We couldn’t get anything done.”
The Warriors trailed 39-36 at halftime but regrouped and held a 10-point lead with about four-and-a-half minutes to play, Reinland said. They still held a four-point advantage and had possession of the ball after making a steal with 30 seconds on the clock.
“But instead of pulling the ball out, we tried a tough layin, missed and then got called for being over the back on a rebound,” Reinland said. “We just didn’t make good decisions.”
Twice in the game’s final 20 seconds the Warriors missed the front end of a one-and-one free-throw opportunity. The second miss led to the foul that sent Martin to the free-throw line with less than a second on the clock.
“We miss our free throws, which would have won the game, and he (Martin) steps up and swishes both,” Reinland said. “We are just not solid enough. We just make so many mistakes, all stuff that is in our control and we don’t do it.”
Martin and post Connor Dowdy provided the bulk of Wenatchee’s offense. Martin made 7-of-15 3-point shots and tallied 31 points, Dowdy was 12-for-16 from the field and scored 25 points to go with nine rebounds.
“Martin was making long 3s from five feet beyond the line,” Reinland said. “And Dowdy tore us up inside.”
Brandon Porter and Landon Radliff scored 17 points each for WWCC, Kendall Watson finished with 14 and Damen Thacker contributed 13. Jake Albright came off the bench to score eight points and grab eight rebounds.
The Warriors, now 1-1 in league play and 11-4 overall, face a busy week. They travel to Big Bend Saturday, host Yakima Monday and go back on the road to North Idaho next Wednesday. Reinland is concerned about his players mental state going into the tough stretch.
“This will effect us, no question,” Reinland said of the loss to the Knights. “It was a hard-fought game, and this isn’t the easiest team in the world to coach. Their mental psyche is not super strong.
“But kids are pretty resilient and they forget stuff pretty fast. They just need to understand that in this league they are not going to be better than any team we play. Any team in our league can beat us on any given night.
“Just like last night, I thought we outplayed Wenatchee for so much of the game and then zippo. And we have nobody to blame but ourselves.”
Knights 75, Warriors 74
WALLA WALLA (74) — Porter 6-19 0-0 17, Thacker 4-13 3-5 13, Radliff 6-16 1-3 17, Watson 6-11 0-0 14, Engstrom 1-2 0-0 2, Tiller 1-1 0-0 3, Albright 4-5 0-0 8, McKone 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 28-68 4-8 74.
WENATCHEE (75) — Martin 11-25 2-2 31, Warner 3-9 0-2 6, Dowdy 12-16 102 25, Shurtliff 1-4 0-0 2, Gardner 2-7 1-2 7, Wabaunsee 0-1 0-0 0, Dorius 2-2 0-0 4. Totals 31-64 4-8 75.
Halftime — Wenatchee 39, WWCC 36. 3-point goals — WWCC 14-32 (Porter 5-12, Thacker 2-5, Radliff 4-11, Watson 2-3, Tiller 1-1), Wenatchee 9-23 (Martin 7-15, Warner0-1, Shurtliff 0-1, Gardner 2-5, Wabaunsee 0-1). Total fouls — WWCC 15, Wenatchee 11. Fouled out — none. Technical fouls — none. Rebounds — Wenatchee 33 (Dowdy 9, Shurtliff 9), WWCC 31 (Albright 8). Turnovers — WWCC 8, Wenatchee 7. Assists — Wenatchee 15 (Warner 5), WWCC 12 (Radliff 3, Engstrom 3).