Walla Walla Community College
Men's Basketball

WWCC men knock off Sasquatch

SPOKANE — The No. 2-ranked Spokane Sasquatch did in their Northwest Athletic Conference East Region men’s basketball opener here Wednesday night what they’ve been doing all season long.

They dominated the backboards, they shot at a torrid pace and they piled up points by the bucket load. It just wasn’t quite enough.

Visiting Walla Walla took on the Sasquatch, played them toe-to-toe and eked out a 111-106 victory in a game Warriors coach Jeff Reinland conceded could have gone either way.

“We led the majority of the game, but it was back and forth,” Reinland said. “We got behind once by eight points in the first half, and I remember us being up by nine points early in the second half. The most we ever got behind in the second half was two points.

“But it was so close. It felt like an NBA game. Nobody could stop anybody.”

Spokane’s Levi Taylor converted a WWCC turnover into a layin with about 30 seconds to play that drew the Sasquatch within a single point. But the Warriors’ Dalton Thompson was fouled twice in the closing seconds and sank four straight free throws to seal the victory.

“We were 6-for-6 from the line in the final minute that helped us put the game away,” Reinland said, noting that Gabe Porter also made a pair of late free throws.

Porter led WWCC in scoring with 33 points. Thompson finished with 28 and Caulin Bakalarski knocked in 25.

Burly Cesar Sandoval made 10-of-13 field goals and scored 26 points to pace the Sasquatch. Cameron Gay scored 23, followed by Taylor with 19 points and Ryan Alexander with 15.

Spokane shot a sizzling 55 percent from the field and 45 percent from beyond the 3-point arc. The Warriors made 44 percent of their 3-pointers and were 49 percent from the field overall.

The Warriors did make five more 3-pointers than Spokane. And the visitors were 25-for-29 from the free-throw line compared to the Sasquatch’s 21-for-32 free-throw total.

Spokane saw its season record slip to 11-3 while the unranked Warriors improved to 10-3 and have now won six straight games.

“It was a big win for us,” Reinland said. “I don’t know if Spokane is the best team in our league or not, but any time you can go on the road and win, it’s a big win.

“It’s just the way men’s community college basketball is right now. Everyone is tough. You just have to try and win as many home games as you can and sneak some on the road.”

Spokane travels to Treasure Valley Saturday while the Warriors draw a bye.

For Reinland, the bye comes at the right time.

“Dalton Thompson had a tooth knocked out last week and is scheduled for a root canal this week and will have to sit for a day or two,” the coach said. “And Caulin Bakalarski is still nursing a bad ankle, so this is a good time for us to have a bye.”