Walla Walla Community College
Men's Basketball

Warrior men wrap up season

Columbia Basin scored 14 unanswered points in less than two minutes to take a 16-5 lead at the outset of Saturday afternoon’s Northwest Athletic Conference men’s basketball game in the Dietrich Dome.

The Hawks led Walla Walla by as many as 17 points, 42-25, with 6:21 remaining in the first half, 54-41 at halftime and 65-50 with 15:47 to play. They appeared to be on cruise control.

But the Warriors showed their mettle during the final 15 minutes of their season and fought back to momentarily take the lead before finally succumbing 101-98 in the Eastern Region offensive slugfest.

WWCC finished the year at 5-9 in the division and 13-16 overall. Columbia Basin improved to 10-4 and 17-11 in nailing down the East’s No. 2 seed to next week’s NWAC Championships in Kennewick. Big Bend, which won 86-74 Saturday in Spokane, claimed the region championship and the No. 1 seed with an 11-3 East record, 23-7 overall.

Warrior sophomore Satchel Schetzle scored 17 of his game-high 38 points in those final 15 minutes as he closed out his WWCC career. Schetzle drained a 3-pointer with 3:34 on the clock to give Walla Walla an 87-86 lead, its first since the opening seconds of the game.

Back-to-back baskets by Michael Joseph put CBC ahead 90-87 with 2:52 on the clock and the Hawks held the Warriors at bay the rest of the way. The Hawks’ Jordan King hit a basket and four free throws, Brandon Oswalt added a field goal and James Lopez chipped in with a free throw to offset 3-pointers by Schetzle and Garret Sawyer, a single free throw by Nate Richards and Mitch Mueller’s lay in at the buzzer.

Gabe Porter, who was 5-for-9 from 3-point distance but saw limited minutes due to foul trouble, scored 17 points for the Warriors. Payton Radliff added 12 points, all of them in the second half, and Richards was a fourth WWCC player in double figures with 11 points.

Richards also corralled a game-high 15 rebounds.

Oswalt led a balanced CBC offense with 23 points and eight rebounds. King added 21 points, Lopez scored 20 and Joseph finished with 19 points and seven rebounds.

“Joseph is just so big and strong,” Warriors coach Jeff Reinland said of CBC’s muscular 6-foot-1 guard, who did much of his damage down low. “He’s too strong for Matt (Grooms), and he’s too tall for our other guards.

“And Oswalt and Lopez and King and Joseph, they are all so quick. Our kids just have to learn to play harder on defense.”

Reinland suggested his team’s sluggish first half proved to be the ruination of the team’s second-half comeback.

“For whatever reason, we don’t take the floor ready to,go ” the coach said. “We didn’t have the intensity you need to have.”

But he wasn’t surprised by his team’s ability to wipe away the Hawks’ lead down the stretch.

“That’s what can happen when you shoot the 3 the way that we do.” he said. “That’s why teams don’t like to play us. We are a streaky team, ice cold and then able to turn it on. But it can go the other way, too.”

Saturday afternoon in the Dietrich Dome, it went both ways.

Article by Jim Buchan of the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin