ELLENSBURG — Xavier Smith put the Central Washington men in pole position for the GNAC regular-season title at the Nicholson Pavilion on Saturday night.
The senior hit the crucial 3-pointer in regulation, hitting two clutch shots in the final 20 seconds to give the Wildcats an 81-80 win over Alaska Anchorage. He finished with 26 points, along with eight rebounds and four assists, while Colby Gannett had 10 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for a double-double.
“(Smith) took three really hard shots to help us win this game,” Rinta said. “He can hit as many shots as anyone I’ve ever coached. He’s at the gym at 6 a.m. almost every morning.”
It paid off all season, as Smith averaged 19.2 points per game — second best in GNAC — and shot 52.4% from the field while leading the team in field goal attempts. He has scored at least 20 points in eight of his last 12 games and made almost 87% of his free throws.
Rinta also credited Poquette for his inside work, and the Morton-White pass graduate finished the tournament with 14 points and eight rebounds. He struggled for most of the game against 6-foot-7, 225-pound forward Oggie Pantovic, who was fouled late in a moment Rinta said he changed the game.
Despite the continued absences of centers Marqus Gilson and Mitch Brizee, Central overtook Anchorage 45-37. Amari Stafford grabbed 10 rebounds for the smaller Wildcats.
“The fact that we’re without these guys and are up against (Pantovic), that we overtake these guys, that shows a lot of heart,” said Rinta.
Point guard David Thompson added 17 points and three steals in 35 minutes for Central. But he’s also committed nine of the Wildcats’ 17 turnovers.
Central trailed by seven at halftime after Rinta said his team had let Anchorage get too comfortable behind the 3-point line, and CWU fell by three three times in overtime. The Wildcats plan to begin their final two-game road trip of the season next Thursday in Western Oregon.
ANCHORING ALASKA — Tobin Karlberg 21, Oggie Pantovic 17, Hunter Sweet 14, David Rowlands 11, Crosby 0, AJ Garrity 12, Larsen 3, Devine 2, Riley 0. Overall 30-72 9-17 80.
WASHINGTON HEADQUARTERS — Xavier Simith 26, David Thompson 17, Matt Poquette 14, Gennett 10, Stafford 3, Banks 6, Lindgren 3, Rose 2, Pollard 0. Overall 32-66 10-14 81.
half time: 41-34UAA. End of regulation: 70-70
3-point goals: UAA 11-31 (Garrity 3-6, Karlberg 3-11, Rowlands 2-5, Sweet 2-6, Larsen 1-1), CWU 7-23 (Thompson 3-6, Smith 2-4, Gennett 2-6 ). Setbacks: UAA 37 (Karlberg 10, Pantovic 9), CWU 45 (Gennett 10, Stafford 10, Smith 8, Poquette 8). assists: UAA 15, CWU 13 (Smith 4). Sales: UAA 12, CWU 17. steals: UAA 9 (Karlberg 5), CWU 9 (Smith 3, Thompson 3). fouls: UAA 18, CWU 16. fouled out —Pantovic, Thompson.
Yaks give up home game at CBC
Yakima Valley’s playoff hopes took another blow Saturday with a 91-80 loss to Columbia Basin at Sherar Gym.
Quentin Raynor scored 16 points to lead five YVC players by double digits. The Yaks fell out of the top 4 – where they need to finish in the NWAC East to make the playoffs – before entering another key game Wednesday in third-place Spokane.
Columbia Basin — Munoz 3, Gerardo 2, Amar Rivers 10, Smith 8, Jase Edwards 23, Tyler Kurtz 26, Garrett Streufert 12, Cloaninger 7.
YAKIMA VALLEY — Tinley 6, Funk 0, Chamble 2, Quentin Raynor 16, Alexzander Delgado 14, Bright Kari 11, Braun 7, Chris Murphy 11, Conner Turner 13.
The central excitement requirement is too short
ELLENSBURG — Central Washington just missed out on another upset and win of the season against No. 8 West Washington at the Nicholson Pavilion on Saturday with a 74-72 loss.
Ellensburg grad Kassidy Malcolm again led the Wildcats offense with 23 points, capped by a putback layup from her own miss by two seconds. But they needed a three-pointer to tie, and a missed free throw ensured Central didn’t have a last shot to deny Western’s fifth win in six games since a 76-68 home loss to the Wildcats.
“We just couldn’t get enough stops,” said CWU coach Randi Richardson-Thornley. “Then the third quarter just killed us.”
Just 12 points allowed Western to turn a three-point deficit at halftime into a three-point lead going into the final period. Richardson-Thornley said the Wildcats missed some open looks, including layups, and were struggling to score as Zillah graduate Samantha Bowman was sidelined with foul trouble.
She also missed crucial first-half minutes but still managed to record another double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Wildcats. But they couldn’t slow down Vikings guard Emma Duff, who scored 29 points and shot 4 of 8 from 3-point range.
“We rose in moments,” said Richardson-Thornley. “We also missed a lot of moments throughout the game where we could have been much better.”
Rather than move up to first place with a win, the loss dropped Central to fourth place, a half game behind Alaska Anchorage and Montana State Billings. But Richardson-Thornley said the game nonetheless gave the Wildcats some valuable lessons as they continue to work toward their ultimate goal of making the NCAA tournament.
Central will get back on its feet next Thursday in western Oregon. The Wildcats defeated the Wolves 74-55 at home last month.
WESTERN FILM WASHINGTON — Emma Duff 29, Avery Dykstra 10, Olson 9, Walling 7, Castaneda 2, R Dykstra 8, Zaragoza 4, Grandbois 3, Gimmaka 2, Fierke 0. Overall 30-69 8-14 74.
WASHINGTON HEADQUARTERS — Kassidy Malcolm 23, Kizzah Maltezo 17, Samantha Bowman 13, Huerta 9, Maeda 5, Heitschmidt 5, Bush 0, Hagemeier 0, Troy 0. Overall 28-71 9-13 72.
3-point goals: EMU 6-18 (Duff 4-8, Olson 1-3, Grandbois 1-3), CWU 7:20 (Malcolm 3:6, Huerta 1:2, Maeda 1:2, Heitschmidt 1:2, Maltezo 1:8). Rebounds: EMU 43 (Grandbois 8), CWU 44 (Bowman 14, Heitschmidt 9, Malcolm 6). Templates: EMU 17, CWU 15 (Malcolm 4, Bowman 4). Turnover: EMU 10, KWU 3. Steals: EMU 7, KWU 3. Fouls: EMU 16, KWU 14. Fouled out – None.
Yaks fall into overtime
Yakima Valley rallied in the second half but couldn’t quite overtake Columbia Basin in a 60-55 overtime loss on Saturday at Sherar Gym.
Carla Cardenas scored 11 points and led the Yaks, who were six down at halftime. They will travel to Spokane on Wednesday.
COLUMBIA POOL – Lizardo 8, Ali May 19, Felix 0, Brander 3, Emma Maxwell 14, Nelson 0, Jacob 9, Liulamaga 1, Zavala 4, Holm 2.
YAKIMA VALLEY — Ramos 5, Taelyr Overby 10, Haley Wammock 10, Carla Cardenas 11, Campbell 8, Standley 2, Klebaum 9, Zimmerman 0.
CBC 12 11 10 16 11 – 60
Central shares Doubleheader in California
Central Washington’s Austin Hauck hit a home goal for the third time in three games to end a three-game losing streak, and former Warden ace Ryan Arredondo gave up just two runs in six innings.
The Wildcats held on to a 5-4 win and followed with a 5-4 loss after Cal State Bernardino hit two runs in the seventh and final inning to win the three-game-to-one series. Adam Fahsel contributed three hits and two doubles for Central, who will travel to Lewis-Clark State next Friday for the first of two doubleheaders in two days.
Game 1: Central Washington 5, Cal State Bernardino 4. Highlights: Ryan Arredondo 6 IP, 4 K, 2 ER; Adam Fahsel 2-4, 2b, 2 runs, RBI; Austin Hauck 1-4, hr, 2 RBI; Michael Copeland 2-3; Trevor Tripoli 1-4, 2b.
Game 2: Cal State Bernardino 5, Central Washington 4 Highlights: Zach Berryman 2-4, 2b, run, RBI; legs 1-4, 2b, RBI; Charlie Larson 2-3, run, RBI;
Central Washington drives away huskies
ELLENSBURG — No. 7 Central Washington went unbeaten in four games with an 88-0 win over Washington in Saturday’s home opener at Tomlinson Stadium.
Jona Auvaa and Lewis Bonjean each scored three tries for the Wildcats, who will host No. 6 BYU next Saturday.