SPOKANE — Walla Walla went from nine points down to 29 down during a five-minute slumber in the second half as Spokane took down the Warriors 95-82 in a men’s Northwest Athletic Conference Eastern Region basketball game here Wednesday night.
“It was kind of weird,” Warriors coach Jeff Reinland said in trying to explain his team’s loss.
“It was close at halftime, we were down by six points,” he said. “And with about 11 minutes to go we were down by nine, but then we took a couple of bad shots, had some turnovers and it was 90-61.”
To the Warriors’ credit, they didn’t quit.
“We called a timeout, and then we went on a big run and cut the lead to 12,” Reinland said. “But Spokane is so explosive offensively. They are very good, the best team we’ve played this year.”
The Sasquatch hiked their overall record to 18-2 and are tied with Big Bend atop the East standings at 4-0. Big Bend kept pace Wednesday night with a 92-76 victory over Columbia Basin.
The Warriors, meanwhile, suffered their third straight region defeat and are now 1-3 in league games and 7-12 overall.
Jake Love scored 33 points and Levi Taylor added 20 to power Spokane, which came into the game averaging 100 points a game. AJ Knudsen was the Sasquatch’s only other double-figure scorer with 14 points.
“The surprising thing was that we held a bunch of their players down,” Reinland said. “But we had now answer for Love and Taylor.
“They outplayed us, but only badly for about a five-minute stretch when just nothing went our way and they hit a bunch of 3s and some tough layins. But they are a sophomore laden group, very experienced and very smart.”
Freshman Roman McKnight, starting his first game at the post position, scored 18 points and collected eight rebounds to lead the Warriors in both categories. Payton Radliff tallied 16 points, Darrian Caffaro-Briggs came off the bench to score 12 and Mason Schutt added 10 in his first start as a forward.
Reinland was forced to juggle his starting lineup to replace Devan Kohn, who had been starting at the post position. Kohn, who was averaging 18 points and six rebounds, left the team for personal reasons, Reinland said.
“We moved McKnight to the post and he did well,” Reinland said. “The post is his natural position. And we moved Schutt into the starting lineup.”
The Warriors come home to host Big Bend Saturday at 4 p.m.