Walla Walla Community College
Men's Basketball

WWCC takes third at Bellevue Invitational

BELLEVUE, Wash. — Four Walla Walla players scored in double figures and accounted for all but four of their team’s points here Sunday as the Warriors defeated Shoreline 78-61 in the third-place game at the Bellevue Invitational men’s community college basketball tournament.

Sophomore Caulin Bakalarski made 9-of-15 shots from the field overall and sank 4-of-8 3-pointers to lead the way for WWCC with 26 points. 

Dalton Thompson, who was 5-of-9 from downtown and 7-of-15 overall, tallied 21 points, followed by Gabe Porter with 17 points and Beau Tilleman with 10.

“That’s the way it has been for us all year,” WWCC coach Jeff Reinland said. “We are going to come along at a couple of other positions, a couple of other guys, but our competition to this point has been so tough and the games so close that it is hard to get a lot of guys in the games.”

The Warriors, who won this tournament a year ago, opened play Friday with an 80-77 victory over Pierce and then lost to the host Bulldogs 81-77 in Saturday’s semifinals. Shoreline defeated Chemeketa 95-64 in the first round and lost to Highline 73-68 in the semis.

Bellevue won its own tourney with a 48-47 victory over Highline in Sunday’s championship game. Chemeketa overcame Pierce 89-86 in Sunday’s consolation finals.

“This tournament was a lot tougher this year than last year,” Reinland noted. “Pierce came in ranked No. 2 in the NWAC, Bellevue was sixth and Shoreline eighth. So we had a pretty tough go.

“We should have won the Bellevue game but we didn’t shoot the ball very well,” the coach added. “But we shot it much better Sunday, and it was our best defensive game of the year. We were really solid.”

CJ Bussey scored 11 points for Shoreline, but he was the only Raiders player in double figures. The Warriors limited Shoreline to 39 percent shooting from the field and a 2-for-11 showing from beyond the 3-point line.

Walla Walla is now 4-2 for the season and travels to Longview, Wash., this coming weekend for a crossover tournament. Under a new four-team crossover format, the Warriors will face host Lower Columbia, Portland and Shoreline in a rematch of Sunday’s third-place game.

“They’ll be waiting for us,” Reinland said of the Dolphins. “They are huge and very athletic, so we will see.”