VANCOUVER, Wash. — Sixty miles of snowbound freeway separated Walla Walla Community College’s men’s basketball team from its second-round game here Tuesday at the Clark CC holiday tournament.
"Chemeketa just couldn’t get here," Warriors coach Jeff Reinland said of the Salem, Ore., school that was making the trip back and forth for its tournament games. "So the game was canceled. We’re playing Umpqua today at 2 p.m. and then we’re heading home."
Chemeketa started for home Monday at about 3 p.m., and the snowstorm hit about 30 minutes later, Reinland said.
"The storm turned the (Insterstate 5) freeway into a mess," Reinland said. "(Chemeketa) got through one wreck but got stopped by another. It took them about three hours to go the final 10 miles."
And there was no possible way to get back to Vancouver for Tuesday’s game.
"The state patrol closed the freeway," Reinland said.
But Reinland was assured that the Warriors would get to play today’s gane against Umpqua.
"They’re right here in the same hotel where we’re staying," he said.
Chemeketa was expected to return here today for a 4 p.m. game against Portland. Action began here at noon with a game between Wenatchee and Seattle.
"It’s slopppy, but it’s no longer snowing," Reinland said. "The roads appear to be fine."
Reinland’s team takes a 7-2 season record into today’s game. Once home, the Warriors will begin preparation for their Jan. 9 NWAACC Eastern Division opener against Columbia Basin College in the Dietrich Dome.