Damen Thacker and Landon Radliff each buried seven 3-pointers for Walla Walla Community College, as the Warriors clinched the East region regular season title with an 81-72 victory over second-place North Idaho in Northwest Athletic Conference men’s basketball action here on Saturday.
The win, third in a row for WWCC (22-6 overall, 12-3 in the East), gave the defending conference champions a two-game lead over North Idaho in regional standings, with one game left in the regular season.
Frontrunning WWCC will host seventh-place Treasure Valley here on Wednesday night at 8 p.m.
“This was big for us,” Warriors coach Jeff Reinland remarked afterwards. “It gave us the East regional title. We won league, and we’ll go into the (NWAC) tournament ranked No. 1 in this region.”
Thacker finished with a game-high 28 points — tying his season high against Yakima Valley on Jan. 15 — and Radliff ended up with 23.
However, Reinland commended Jared Anderson’s defensive performance.
“This was a great defensive game for us,” Reinland said. “We played very good defense, and we had guys step up on the defensive end. Jared did a very good job guarding their best player (RayQuan Evans). He ended uup getting 19 points, but (Jared) made him earn it.”
Anderson also made three 3-pointers, and finished with 10 points as he joined in WWCC’s long-distance attack.
The Warriors bombarded North Idaho with 49 of their 63 shots coming from beyond the arc.
“Offensively, not a good as we could have been,” Reinland said. “But we had 19 3’s.”
“We did a pretty good job of playing well together,” Reinland continued. “We have a 14-point lead in first half — and that was the largest lead of the game — but (North Idaho) got back in it, and cut our lead down to two.”
WWCC went to halftime up, 45-40, but held on to the end with solid defense.
“It was a great game for us,” Reinland said. “Now, We’ve got one game left. We’ve already won league, so now we’ve just got to get our guys back down to Earth and get ready for the tournament.”
Warriors 81, Cardinals 72
NORTH IDAHO (72) — Burkett 25, Evans 19, Greene 8, Potts-Woods 6, Brimhall 5, Lundblad 4, Cowley 3, Willaims 2.
WALLA WALLA (81) — Thacker 28, Radliff 23, Anderson 10, Albright 6, Engstrom 6, Tiller 5, Porter 3.
Halftime — Walla Walla, 45-40. 3-point goals — North Idaho 2, Walla Walla 19. Total fouls — North Idaho 20, Walla Walla 22. Fouled out — Walla Walla (Engstrom). Technical fouls — North Idaho (Brimhall). Rebounds — North Idaho 45, Walla Walla 32. Turnovers — North Idaho 15, Walla Walla 10. Assists — North Idaho 4, Walla Walla 11.