PASCO — The Northwest Athletic Conference’s basketball tournaments are now underway at Columbia Basin College. The women’s tournament began Wednesday and the men’s tournament starts Friday. The round of 16 and the quarterfinals take place through Sunday, while the semifinals and finals are on March 18-19.
Both of Snohomish County’s men’s teams — the Everett Community College Trojans and the Edmonds College Tritons — qualified for the tournament. Here’s a look at both teams and their outlook in the tournament:
Seed: North No. 2
Record: 22-7, ranked No. 5 in the final NWAC coaches poll
Opening round opponent: East No. 3 Spokane (20-8), ranked No. 10 in the final NWAC coaches poll
Game time: 6 p.m. Friday
Everett top players: Sophomore forward Leon Sayers (11.7 points, 6.0 rebounds), freshman guard Jadin Penigar (16.1 points, 5.8 rebounds), freshman forward Tucker Molina (8.8 points, 6.9 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 2.0 blocks)
Spokane top players: Sophomore guard Emmett Holt (17.2 points, 44.6% on 3-pointers), sophomore guard Trey Stevens (12.0 points, 4.0 assists, 1.7 steals), freshman center Conrad Bippes (12.9 points, 6.8 rebounds)
Trojans outlook: Everett has an unusual familiarity with the Sasquatch, considering the teams played twice in non-league play. The Trojans won both those games, prevailing 83-67 on Nov. 26 in Longview and 79-67 at home on Dec. 29.
Everett enters the tournament in good shape. The Trojans got healthy toward the end of the regular season and finished with four straight victories, including an 85-71 road triumph over second-ranked Peninsula in their season finale to secure the North’s No. 2 seed. Meanwhile, Spokane is limping into the tournament, having lost three of its past five, and Bippes has played just once in the past six contests.
Should Everett advance past the first round, the Trojans would play the winner between West No. 1 Lower Columbia and South No. 4 Umpqua at 4 p.m. Saturday. Lower Columbia would be a particularly challenging opponent as the Red Devils were ranked No. 4 in the final NWAC coaches poll and defeated Everett 72-62 when the teams met on Nov. 27.
Seed: North No. 3, ranked No. 7 in the final NWAC coaches poll
Opening round opponent: East No. 2 Walla Walla (24-5), ranked No. 3 in the final NWAC coaches poll
Game time: 10 a.m.Friday
Edmonds top players: Freshman forward Elyon Zevenbergen (16.4 points, 9.6 rebounds), freshman guard Chris Lee (14.9 points), sophomore guard Bryson Echiverri (10.7 points, 3.7 assists)
Walla Walla top players: Sophomore center Kyson Rose (22.8 points, 10.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists), sophomore forward Josh Gillespie (17.7 points, 8.1 rebounds), sophomore guard Spencer Wright (13.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 5.8 assists).
Tritons outlook: Edmonds received a tough draw as the Warriors’ only losses in their past 15 games were both at the hands of undefeated North Idaho. However, the Tritons won 77-61 when the teams faced one another on Dec. 16 in Puyallup. In that game Edmonds did an excellent job limiting the 6-foot-9, 240-pound Rose, holding the East Region’s Most Valuable Player to just eight points.
Edmonds secured its tournament spot on the final day of the regular season with an 87-76 victory at Skagit Valley, an important result considering the Tritons had lost four of their previous six to put their tournament lives at risk. Edmonds will be hoping Echiverri, who played just seven minutes in the Tritons’ final three games, is fully available against Walla Walla.
Should Edmonds overcome Walla Walla, the draw gets kinder. Friday’s victor faces the winner between South No. 1 Clackamas and West No. 4 South Puget Sound at 2 p.m. Saturday. Clackamas was ranked lowest among the No. 1 seeds at No. 8, while South Puget Sound was a .500 team.
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