EVERETT — The shooting, like the weather, was frigid Thursday morning in the opening game of the Northwest Athletic Conference Basketball Championships at the Walt Price Student Fitness Center.
Both Edmonds Community College and Centralia College shot less than 40 percent from the field, but Centralia made just enough buckets to hold off the Tritons 73-71 in the first game of the 16-team men’s tournament.
The loss ended the season for the Tritons (19-10), who came in as the No. 2 seed from the North Region. Centralia (20-10), the No. 3 seed from the West, moves on to face defending champion North Idaho in Friday’s quarterfinals. North Idaho beat Clackamas 105-68 in Thursday’s second game.
Thursday’s game, which tipped off at 8 a.m., was close throughout the first half, with neither team leading by more than five points. The score was tied 30-30 at halftime.
Both teams struggled offensively in the first 20 minutes. Centralia made just 30 percent of its field-goal attempts (11-for-37) and Edmonds shot just 34 percent (11-for-32).
Centralia used a 14-2 run midway through the second half to open the game’s first double-digit lead. Four players scored in the run, with Collin Prangley’s fastbreak lay-in putting the Trailblazers up 54-43 with 11:20 remaining in the game.
Edmonds continued to battle, however.
The Tritons got six straight points from Tobyn Lawson to cut the difference to 56-51 at the 5:20 mark, but Edmonds wouldn’t get any closer than four points until Sean Kirk hit a long 3-pointer at the final buzzer.
For the game, Edmonds shot just 37 percent (26-for-70) from the field. Centralia shot 39 percent (28-for-71).
Former Cascade High School standout Drew Magaoay led the Tritons with 23 points. Kirk, from Mountlake Terrace, added 13, and Cameron Burns, from Marysville, collected 10 points and nine rebounds.
Marquis Gilson, a 6-foot-5 sophomore, led four Centralia players in double figures with 17 points. He also grabbed 15 rebounds and blocked seven shots.
Top-seeded Everett makes early exit
EVERETT — “Survive and advance” is a phrase often used in college basketball during the month of March.
That’s exactly what the Lower Columbia College men’s basketball team did Thursday night against Everett in a first-round NWAC Tournament game at the Walt Price Student Fitness Center.
The Red Devils overcame a 12-point halftime deficit, a heartbreaking sequence in the final seconds of regulation and knocked off the North Region’s No. 1 seed 96-94 after a back-and-forth overtime period.
Lower Columbia (19-10), the West Region’s No. 4 seed, dominated the glass all night, out-rebounding the Trojans 55-36.
Red Devils big man Samaad Hector gave EvCC everything it could handle inside and more. The 6-foot-6 freshman controlled the paint all evening, scoring 30 points and pulling down 21 rebounds. Teammate Seth Hall knocked down six 3-pointers and scored a game-high 33 points.
EvCC looked poised to advance to Friday’s quarterfinal round after finding its stride midway through the first half.
With the game tied 11-11, freshman Jon Parker drained a deep 3-pointer and Markieth Brown Jr. scored four straight points, sparking a 19-4 run over a 4 minute, 9 second span to give the Trojans a 15-point advantage. The Red Devils cut the first-half lead to six twice but couldn’t get any closer as EvCC pulled ahead 48-36 at the half.
The Trojans continued to control the game early in the second half, answering every Lower Columbia run with a run of their own and maintained a 12-point lead until the 11:49 mark in the second half.
Hall capped a 17-3 Red Devils run with a a pair of free throws to give Lower Columbia its first lead of the game, 69-67, with 7:07 left in regulation.
The teams went blow for blow down the stretch, and the Red Devils found themselves up 86-83 with 24 seconds left in regulation after Hall clunked the first of two free-throw attempts, leaving the door open for EvCC to tie.
That was just the opening EvCC needed.
In a crazy sequence, Parker missed a game-tying 3-point attempt, Hector started to pull down the defensive rebound before EvCC’s Joe Crumley knocked the ball out of his hands. The ball fell to Brown, who found Parker for a fallaway 3-pointer with .3 seconds left that sent the game into overtime.
The teams continued to trade blows in overtime until Martis Johnson sealed it for the Red Devils by finishing a lay-in while being fouled and converting the ensuing free throw to give Lower Columbia a 96-94 lead.
Tori Odom had a look in the final seconds to try and tie it, but the contested drive to the basket didn’t fall.
Brown led the Trojans with 28 points but went just 4-of-19 from the field after the first half and missed his first nine shots of the second half. Odom added 20 points.
Lower Columbia advances to face the winner of Chemeketa and Walla Walla at 7 p.m. Friday.