Walla Walla Community College
Men's Basketball

Winning streak stopped at eight for WWCC men

YAKIMA — Walla Walla’s eight-game winning streak came to an end here Monday night as Yakima nipped the Warriors 99-96 in a Northwest Athletic Conference East Region men’s basketball game.

It was the first league defeat of the season for WWCC, which will take a 3-1 East record, 12-4 overall, against region-leading North Idaho Wednesday night in the Dietrich Dome. The NWAC’s No. 1-ranked Cardinals, who topped Big Bend 89-75 Wednesday night in Coeur d’Alene, are 3-0 in league play and 15-1 overall.

“It’s a big game and we will play as hard as we can,” WWCC coach Jeff Reinland said of Wednesday’s showdown. “We are capable of winning, but we will have to bring more energy than we did at Yakima.”

Reinland was disappointed in the way his team began Monday’s game here.

“We had won eight games in a row and had a chance to continue that streak, and we came out flat,” the coach said. “We were awful the first eight minutes. If we had gotten off to a good start, we would have won the game.”

The Warriors trailed by as many as eight points in the first half, closed to within 50-46 at the intermission and then fell 11 points back early in the second half. However, a flurry of six 3-point baskets fueled a 28-10 run as the Walla Wallans rallied for an 86-79 lead with five minutes to play.

“From that moment on, absolutely nothing went our way,” Reinland said. “We had some key turnovers, we had trouble stopping them, and when we did stop them we got called for a foul.”

The game was deadlocked at 96-96 with six seconds to play when the Yaks’ Max Jones unleashed a long 3-point attempt that hit nothing but the bottom of the net. It was only Yakima’s fourth 3-point basket of the game.

“I was a little surprised they took that shot,” Reinland said. “It was a step-back NBA shot, and it was contested. But Max is a big kid who can elevate, and he is capable of doing that.”

The Warriors’ Gabe Porter fired up a 3-pointer just before the buzzer. But it was contested as well and was off the mark.

Porter finished with 27 points to lead the Warriors. Caulin Bakalarski followed with 25 points, Landon Radliff tallied 15 and Dalton Thompson 12 in just 21 minutes of play because of foul trouble.

Jones scored 16 points for Yakima, but DeAndre Kambala was the Yaks big gun as he connected on 13-of-14 shots for 33 points.

“Kambala killed us,” Reinland said. “He hit a big 3 that tied the game at 96-96.

“Yakima is very quick and very athletic. They came out pretty fired up. And we came out flat.”

The Yaks are now 2-3 in league games and 8-9 for the season. They travel to Wenatchee Wednesday.