Walla Walla Community College
Men's Basketball

Warrior men win weekend shootouts

Caullin Bakalarski and Gabe Porter kept Walla Walla in the game with their deadly 3-point shooting Saturday night in the Dietrich Dome.

But it was a pair of 3-point daggers by Landon Radliff in the final three minutes that saved the day as Walla Walla knocked off Big Bend 112-103 in a men’s Northwest Athletic Conference East Region men’s basketball shootout.

Radliff connected from deep in the right corner with 3:04 on the clock for a 99-93 WWCC lead. Then, with 1:48 remaining, he struck again, this time from the left corner, to make it 104-95. And four seconds later, after a Big Bend turnover, he converted a pair of free throws for an 11-point Warriors advantage the Vikings could not challenge.

“Those were big, big shots,” WWCC coach Jeff Reinland said of Radliff’s two 3-pointers. “And he’s been struggling with his shot. But Landon is a gamer and he expects those shots to go down.”

Radliff finished the night with 15 points on 5-for-9 shooting overall and 2-for-5 from downtown. He also contributed five assists, a team-high total he shared with Gabe Porter.

Porter dropped in 6-of-15 3-point shots and was 10-for-21 from the field overall in scoring 29 points in the game. Bakalarski was even better, sinking 12-of-21 field-goal tries, 8-of-11 of them 3-pointers, and leading the Warriors with 34 points.

As a team, WWCC was 39-for-73 from the field (53 percent) and 20-for-37 from 3-point distance (54 percent).

The Vikings, who trailed by nine points, 31-24, at the 10-minute mark and then reeled off 17 unanswered points for a 39-31 lead 6:43 before the halftime break, were led by sophomore Jacob McCord. The gifted 6-foot-8 transfer out of Westlake, Utah, finished the night with 43 points and 15 rebounds.

“He’s the best player in the league by far,” Reinland said of McCord. “It’s my understanding that he has already committed to a (NCAA) Division 1 school.”

The Warriors righted the ship and led 55-54 at halftime. The Vikings never led in the second half although the game was tied three times before Gabe Porter put WWCC on top for good, 74-72, with a driving layin with 13:03 on the clock.

Dalton Thompson scored 11 points and Brandon Porter came off the bench to tally 10 for WWCC. Leo Behrend put in 17 points, Zach Sheperd 16 and Josh Erickson 11 for the Vikings.

Saturday’s win, coupled with Friday’s 99-92 victory over Wenatchee, also in the dome, kept Walla Walla unbeaten in league play at 3-0 and hiked its season mark to 12-3. Big Bend slipped to 3-1 and 11-5.

“Every game is like this one,” Reinland said. “We could just as easily be 3-12 as 12-3.

“It’s hard to believe all the scoring in the NWAC this year,” the coach added. “It’s like the NBA.”

It was Gabe Porter and Thompson leading the way Friday against Wenatchee as they combined to score 55 points. But five Warriors finished the night in double figures.

Porter led the way with 28 points and Thompson finished with 27 on 5-for-7 shooting from 3-point distance and 9-for-14 overall. Bakalarski scored 17 points, Radliff contributed 11 and Beau Tilleman 10.

Brady Widner led the Knights with 19 points, Avery Ames followed with 18 and Chance Williams tallied 15.

The Warriors shot 47 percent from the field overall and 42 percent from 3-point distance. They lost the rebounding battle 46-37 but forced the Knights into 18 turnovers, eight more than they were guilty of.

Trevor Shurtliff led the Knights with six rebounds while Bakalarski snagged nine boards and Thompson seven for Walla Walla. Porter had six assists for the Warriors.

“We’re still fighting for respect,” Reinland said. “People don’t consider us elite. But I think we are playing pretty well right now when we play with energy, the way we did tonight.”

Article by Jim Buchan of the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin