BASKETBALL: CBC opens NWAACC East play

Tri-City HeraldJanuary 4, 2013 

Neither of Columbia Basin College’s head basketball coaches are particulary pleased with their team’s records so far this season.

Cheryl Holden’s women, who won last season’s Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges championship, are 4-8 heading into East Region play at 2 p.m. today against visiting Walla Walla.

Last season’s tournament MVP, Katherine Samuels, left school. And the Hawks boast of only one sophomore — Connell’s KieOsha Avery-Winchester.

Holden, however, says things can be misleading.

“I don’t think our record indicates how much progress as a team we’ve made,” Holden said.

Indeed, the Hawks have lost two close games to North Idaho, currently ranked No. 1 among all junior colleges in the nation. They’ve also lost to Lane — the No. 1 team in the NWAACC — twice, and also twice to highly regarded Clackamas.

So a fourth-place finish in the East, which would garner CBC a return trip to the NWAACC tournament (set for March 2-5 at the Toyota Center), would please Holden.

Sierra Higheagle (Clarkston) has been impressive for CBC, being named to two all-tournament teams in the preseason. She leads the Hawks in scoring at 14.7 points a game.

“Defensively, one player has been real consistent across the board, and that’s Kelsey Yenney (Ephrata),” said Holden. “She’s now starting, because she does all of the little things.”

Meanwhile, CBC men’s coach Rolando Garcia is scouring the school’s Pasco campus, looking for basketball players to fill out a roster that opened camp with 15 players.

Academic casualties and injuries have pared that number to seven today as the Hawks open east Region play at 4 p.m. at home against Walla Walla (which is down to eight players itself).

“I’ve got who I’ve got,” said Garcia. “We may run out of gas. I don’t have enough firepower to compete (for the East Region title). But we’ve been averaging more points and more assists.”

Garcia told his coaches that he has six timeouts to use each game, and he’ll need them all to help his players be rested.

Jerid Ronquillo leads the Hawks in scoring at 17.6 points a game. Christian Schrank (Grandview), who injured his shoulder a few weeks ago and hasn’t played since, is averaging 3.88 assists.

Here’s a look at the rest of the region:

Women

Ali Winters (St. John-Endicott) ranks third in the East in scoring for Big Bend (10-4) at 15.57 points. She’s also third in the league in assists at 4.07. The Vikings’ 1-2 punch of Sierra Zollinger (Burley, Idaho, and 12.07 rebounds) and Jessica Sorensen (Downey, Idaho, and 8 rebounds) gives Big Bend some domination in the paint. ... Kim Pickett (Los Angeles) of Blue Mountain (5-7) leads the East in scoring with 21.33 points. ... Cody Butler is no longer head coach at Yakima Valley (7-6), having moved on to Boise State University as an assistant. Stepping in is Greg Oldham. Sami Jo Blodgett (Wapato) leads the Yaks in scoring at 12.58 points. ... Riley Holsinger (North Central) leads Spokane (7-5) in scoring with 13.0 points. Morgan Freeman (Hanford) is a freshman center for the Sasquatch. ... Cerissa Honena (Fort Hall, Idaho) leads Treasure Valley (1-10) with 9.7 points. ... Kamiakin grad Kassy Larson grabs 11.0 rebounds a game for Wenatchee Valley (9-4), ranking her second in the East. She also leads the Knights in scoring at 15.5 points. ... Hailey Felgenhauer (Fruitland, Idaho) leads Walla Walla (11-1) in scoring at 16.9 points. Brooke Hawkins (Vale, Ore.) and Michelle Seitz (Nezperce, Idaho) rank 1-2 in assists at 4.8 and 4.1, respectively. Gabby Anderson (Walla Walla), Caitlin Duncan (DeSales) and Jessica Siler (Umatilla) also play for the Warriors.

Men

Brendan Westendorf (Kentridge) leads Big Bend (11-3) with a 20.0 scoring average — that ranks second in the East, and he’s the top assists man at 6.29 per game. Kyle Nield (Rigby, Idaho) is second in the East in rebounding at 8.14 a game. Bryce Perez (Moses Lake) is a 6-foot-5 freshman forward for the Vikings. ... Darius Butler (Murieta, Calif.) leads Blue Mountain (6-6) in scoring at 15.73 points. ... Yakima Valley (10-4) is led in scoring by Montero Rice (Chicago) at 14.83 points. ... Brady Bagby (West Valley-Spokane) leads Spokane (9-4) in scoring at 19.38 points. ... Chris Willis (Oxnard, Calif.) leads Treasure Valley (6-5) with 19.7 points a game. He’s No. 3 in the East. He’s also No. 1 in rebounds at 9.3. ... Jordan Perry (Murrieta, Calif.) leads Wenatchee Valley (6-7) in scoring at 19.4 points. Jason Dresker (West Valley-Yakima) ranks third in rebounds at 7.0. J.T. Reynolds (Mabton) also plays for the Knights. ... Kamiakin graduate Case Rada leads the East and Walla Walla (6-6) in scoring at 24.5 a game. Teammate Dylan Radliff (Richland) is seventh at 18.7. Radliff also ranks second in assists at 4.9.

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