Warrior men net basketball triumph over Wenatchee

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WALLA WALLA -- Jason Smith scored 18 points and D.J. Wright added a double-double -- with a career-high 17 points and 10 rebounds -- as sixth-ranked Walla Walla Community College snapped a two-game losing streak with a 69-52 victory over Wenatchee Valley in an NWAACC Eastern Region men's basketball game Saturday night at the Dietrich Dome.

Aaron Van de Graaf came off the bench to tally 12 points as the Warriors raised their league record to 3-2 and overall mark to 11-4.

The Knights slipped to 0-5 and 4-11.

Wenatchee Valley stunned WWCC in the opening minutes of the game by jumping out to 8-0 and 10-2 leads.

But Van de Graaf knocked down the first of his four treys on the night at the 7:39 mark to provide Walla Walla with its first advantage of the contest, 15-13.

Van de Graaf gave the Warriors a four-point edge, 22-18, on a 3 with 4:56 on the clock.

But the underdog Knights closed out the frame with a 7-1 spurt to take a 25-23 lead into halftime.

"At home, we come out so flat," WWCC coach Jeff Reinland said. "I don't know what it is. Wenatchee Valley is a scrappy group. They played hard."

Walla Walla shot just 26 percent in the first half (8-of-31).

The Warriors came out of intermission in a similar fashion as the Knights had done in the first half.

WWCC opened the second half with seven straight points and remained on top the rest of the game. Smith capped the run with a basket at the 18:30 mark to give the Warriors a 30-25 lead.

Center Emery Henning converted a three-point play with 17:27 remaining to extend the Warriors' margin to nine, 36-27.

Van de Graaf sank a 3 with 14:46 to go to establish a double-figure divide, 39-29.

The gap widened over the next 13 minutes-plus and reached 18 points, 63-45, on a couple of Smith freebies with one minute left.

"We're having trouble putting two halves together," Reinland said. "Van de Graaf is a pretty good shooter.

"They were doubling D.J. and letting him shoot 3s," Reinland said. "We went to a double-post offense."

And that resulted in a 4-for-4 showing in the low post by the 6-foot-4 Wright in the second half.

Defensively, the Warriors held the Knights to 35-percent shooting from the field (19-of-54) -- including 23 percent from 3-point land (3-of-13).

"We played pretty good defense for the most part," Reinland said. "They didn't get a lot of open looks."

WWCC travels to Spokane for a league game on Wednesday.



WVC (52) SEmD Irwin 1-5 2-2 4, Barber 2-4 0-2 4, Peterson 1-4 0-0 3, Miller 0-2 0-0 0, McKneely 1-3 1-2 3, Beard 5-9 5-8 15, Mifflin 1-5 0-0 3, Tower 1-10 0-1 3, Hoffman 1-2 0-0 2, Smith 1-1 0-0 2, Cubean 5-9 3-4 13. Totals 19-54 11-19 52.

WWCC (69) SEmD Wright 8-14 0-1 17, Roll 1-2 2-2 5, Andrews 1-5 0-0 3, Steele 0-1 0-0 0, Gibson 0-1 0-0 0, Van de Graaf 4-6 0-0 12, Fullerton 0-0 0-0 0, Schultz 0-0 0-0 0, Smith 4-18 8-8 18, Moore 1-2 0-0 3, Corsi 2-8 1-4 5, Henning 1-7 2-3 4, Baker 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 23-65 13-18 69.



Halftime score--WVC 25, WWCC 23. 3-point goals SEmD WVC 3-13 (Tower 1-2, Peterson 1-3, Mifflin 1-4, Miller 0-1, McKneely 0-1, Irwin 0-2), WWCC 10-30 (Van de Graaf 4-6, Smith 2-12, Roll 1-1, Moore 1-2, Andrews 1-3, Wright 1-5, Gibson 0-1). Total fouls--WVC 17, WWCC 14. Fouled out--WVC (Mifflin). Technical fouls--WVC (bench). Rebounds--WVC 45 (Cubean 10), WWCC 45 (Wright 10)). Turnovers--WVC 18, WWCC 13. Assists--WVC 5 (Irwin 2, Tower 2), WWCC 10 (Wright 3, Corsi 3, Henning 3).

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