WALLA WALLA - Walla Walla Community College couldn't find the bottom of the basket on its first five possessions in NWAACC men's basketball action against Columbia Basin Wednesday night at the Dietrich Dome.
But on the sixth try, Aaron Corsi drove in and found net, putting the Warriors on the board four minutes into the game en route to a 70-64 NWAACC East Region victory.
The victory ties the Warriors (4-4 in the NWWAACC East, 5-13 overall) for fourth place in the East.
"They're a tough team and they played really hard," said WWCC head coach Jeff Reinland. "We had several chances to blow the game open and we didn't hit our shots. But overall, our defense did really good."
The Warriors quickly came back from their slow start, passing the Hawks with 12 minutes remaining in the half on a Jay Payne 3-pointer.
The Hawks picked the lead back up two minutes later and held it for the remainder of the half, closing the stanza up 36-32.
Jason Smith opened the second half with a fast trey for the Warriors, and went on to sink three more 3s in the next five minutes. Smith hit six treys in the game for all 18 of his points.
The last of Smith's flurry outside the arc moved the Warriors ahead for good, 43-41, with 16 minutes to go.
The Warriors led by as many as 10 points in the second half, but the Hawks kept it close, closing within three points with less than two minutes to play.
A final Smith 3-pointer sank CBC's last-minute hopes as the Warriors surged to a 68-62 lead. Ryan Schultz sank 2-of-4 free-throw attempts to push WWCC to 70 points. A third-chance basket by CBC's Jeren Sinsel came too late to spark the Hawks and WWCC's win was assured.
Corsi's 19 points led the Warriors.
Columbia Basin (3-5, 6-13) was led by Jordon Poynor's 17.
It took the Warriors a while to find their shots, Reinland said.
"We don't match up well with CBC," he said. "They're bigger than we are and we decided to grind out on defense. Our offense wasn't clicking well enough to rely on, but we got the win. That's what we wanted to do."
The Warriors lost to Columbia Basin twice previously this season - by a total of five points.
"It's a good win and the kids gutted it out," Reinland said. "We're done with CBC for the year and we need to come out ready for the last six games of the season."
The Warriors host Treasure Valley on Saturday.
WWCC 70, Columbia Basin 64
COLUMBIA BASIN (64) - Pruneda-Garza 3-5 1-3 7, Jones 2-8 1-3 7, Wison 2-3 4-4 8, De La Garza 0-0 0-0 0, Wassmuth 1-2 0-0 2, Poynor 7-23 2-7 17, Iginoba 4-9 0-0 8, Sinsel 3-3 4-6 10, Beusan 2-4 1-2 5, Haynes 0-1 0-0 0, Totals 24-58 14-24 64.
WWCC (70) - Crane 3-7 -12 9, Arias 3-4 0-2 8, Payne 2-3 0-0 6, Schultz 3-9 2-4 8, Smith 6-18 0-0 18, Moore 0-2 0-0 0, Corsi 8-10 3-7 19, Steele 0-1 0-0 0, Stannard 1-1 0-0 2, Totals 26-55 6-15 70.
Halftime score - CBC 36, WWCC 32. 3-point goals - CBC 2 (Jones 1-7, Poynor 1-7, Wassmuth 0-1), WWCC 12 (Smith 6-16, Crane 2-4, Arias 2-3, Payne 2-3, Schultz 0-3, Moore 0-2, Steele 0-1). Total fouls - CBC 19, WWCC 19. Fouled out - none. Technical fouls - none. Rebounds - CBC 37 (Igbinoba 9), WWCC 36 (Crane 12). Turnovers - CBC 13, WWCC 17. Assists - BC 13 (Pruneda-Garza 3, Wison 3). WWCC 11 (Crane 3, Schultz 3).