Warrior men lock up playoff berth

WWCC defeats Blue Mountain 91-82 in the final regular-season game.

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PENDLETON - Walla Walla Community College topped Blue Mountain 91-82 in its final men's NWAACC regular-season match, and with the win locked the fourth and final Eastern Region playoff seed to the championships in March.

"It was a really good game," said WWCC head coach Jeff Reinland of the win. "Both teams played really well. We were lucky to get out of there."

Blue Mountain led 48-41 at half, but the Warrior, behind a 39-point night by Jason Smith, came back in the second for the win.

Michael Crane and Aaron Corsi also had big nights.

Crane led the team with 12 rebounds and five assists, while big man Corsi notched a double-double with 17 points and 11 boards.

Corsi was in foul trouble early and didn't play for much of the first half. He was also on the bench through the second.

"He didn't play that much, but he did well at the end," Reinland said of Corsi, who had 16 minutes of playing time.

The game was the final of the year for both schools and the big crowd reflected that, Reinland said.

"It was a big crowd and pretty exciting," he said. "Both teams played well, but we played a little better. It was tough and it was not an easy game. It was all the way down to the wire."

Smith's big night helped push the Warriors over the edge. Normally strong from 3-point range, Smith went 14-26 in field goals, including 7-16 from 3-point land. He was also 4-5 from the line.

"We ran every single play we could to him last night," Reinland said.

The Warriors (7-7 in league, 14-11 overall) begin their NWAACC Championships schedule at 8 p.m. March 5 with an opponent to be determined. They should know by Saturday, he said.

"We'll take a little bit of time off, maybe a day here or there, and then get ready," he said. "We'll figure out who we've got and go forward from there."

Walla Walla 91, Blue Mountain 82

WALLA WALLA (91) - Crane 1-5 1-2 3, Arias 0-0 0-0 0, Payne 0-0 1-2 1, Bills 0-1 0-0 0, Schultz 7-13 2-6 18, Smith 14-26 4-5 39, Moore 1-2 0-1 3, Corsi 7-8 3-5 17, Steele 1-2 0-0 2, Stannard 2-4 3-5 8. Totals 33-61 14-26 91.

BLUE MOUNTAIN (82) - Grogan 6-17 1-2 15, Hurley 12-17 6-9 30, chambers 0-1 0-0 0, Church 3-9 0-0 6, Kuan 0-1 0-0 0, Strand 3-4 0-0 6, Burt 0-0 0-0 0, Davis 4-7 58-8 13, Johnson 2-12 2-2 7. Totals 32-71 14-22 82.

Halftime score - Blue Mountain 48, Walla Walla 41. 3-point goals - WWCC 11-26 (Smith 7-16, Schultz 2-4, Moore 1-2, Stannard 1-2, Crane 0-1, Steele 0-1), Blue 4-19 (Grogan 2-4, Burt 1-2, Johnson 1-9, Chambers 0-1, Church 0-3). Total fouls - WWCC 17, Blue 22. Fouled out - Grogan (Blue). Technical fouls - none. Rebounds - WWCC 41 (Crane 12), Blue 38 (Grogan 7). Turnovers - WWCC 14, Blue 8. Assists - WWCC 17 (Schultz 6), Blue 20 (Grogan 5).

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