Its a great time right now to be a fan of the Columbia Basin College basketball programs.
In recent seasons, the Hawks womens team has constantly been at or near the top of the NWAACC East Region standings.
Meanwhile, the CBC mens program has struggled over the past few years.
On Saturday afternoon in Pasco, Rolando Garcias mens team pulled away from the visiting Spokane Sasquatch for an 82-68 victory, giving the Hawks a 5-1 East Region record (12-6 overall) and at least share of the standings lead.
Theres just a good chemistry with these guys, said Garcia. The bottom line is that they believe in each other. And that comes from the boys trusting in one another.
Earlier in the day, Cheryl Holdens CBC womens team showed why it is the top-ranked squad in the entire NWAACC, as the Hawks rolled past Spokane 75-56.
That gives the CBC women a 6-0 record in the East Region, and 16-3 overall.
I think we just keep playing steady, said Holden. Our decision-making was great today.
CBC MEN 82, SPOKANE 68: The key for the Hawks in this victory was the play of Steven Buddy Walter, a Chiawana High School graduate who played for the Hawks two seasons ago but took last season off for personal reasons.
All Walter did was score 21 points, grab 11 rebounds, dish off four assists, and wow to partison crowd with some fancy moves to the basket.
That CBC team Walter and teammate Justin Smith, who also took last season off after playing two years ago finished 8-17.
This team is different.
Its a maturity thing, said Walter. It was nice sitting out a year and getting stronger. But this season is a lot more fun. There are a lot of people Ive played with on this team for a long time. Of course, its also fun to win.
The Hawks and Sasquatch traded runs in the first half, with CBC jumping out to a 25-12 lead before Spokane came back to take a 38-36 lead at intermission.
But the Hawks took control for good at the start of the second half, when Smith taking a pass from Kyler DeWitt sank a trey for a 39-38 CBC lead. The Hawks never trailed again.
Walter keyed a 12-5 run a few minutes later, scoring six of those points himself, as CBC took control for good.
Smith, who also graduated from Chiawana, sank six straight free throws down the stretch to fend off any Spokane rally and finished with 18 points.
I cant say enough how gratified I am for (Walters and Smiths) return, coming back to this team, Garcia said. Their maturity is a real key for us.
Andrew Reddout added 19 points and nine rebounds for the Hawks.
Spokane was led by Kwinn Hansons 21 points.
SPOKANE Dean Richey 1-2 0-0 2, TJ Bracey 3-5 1-2 9, Jack Nygaard 4-13 0-1 10, Chase Haack 4-12 3-4 12, Kwinn Hanson 7-12 7-8 21, Jared Miller 3-7 0-0 8, Chase McDuffie 0-0 0-0 0, Sam Druffel 2-8 0-0 6, Dustin Patchen 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-59 11-15 68.
COLUMBIA BASIN Jame Lopez 4-11 0-0 8, Justin Smith 5-10 6-6 18, Kyler DeWitt 1-6 2-2 5, Steve Walter 9-13 1-1 21, Andrew Reddout 9-16 1-1 19, Jordan King 1-2 0-0 2, Jaden Barrett 1-1 0-0 3, Brandon Oswalt 2-5 2-2 6, Jordan EnWezoh 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 32-64 12-12 82.
HalftimeSpok 38-36. 3-point goalsSpo 9-24 (Bracey 2-2, Miller 2-5, Druffel 2-6, Nygaard 2-7, Haack 1-3, Richey 0-1), CBC 6-21 (Walter 2-5, Smith 2-3, Barrett 1-1, DeWitt 1-6, King 0-1, Oswalt 0-1, Lopez 0-2, Reddout 0-2). ReboundsSpo 32 (Haack 10), CBC 38 (Walter 11). AssistsSpo 14 (Richey 5), CBC 19 (Lopez 6) TurnoversSpo 17, CBC 14. FoulsSpo 17, CBC 12. Fouled outRichey.
CBC WOMEN 75, spokane 56: The CBC women pretty much led this contest from the start.
But the Sasquatch did a good job of hanging around until midway through the second half.
Thats when Sydney Mercer keyed a 10-0 Hawks run to pull away.
CBC was leading 51-46 with 10:19 to play in the game when it started the run.
A free throw by Shannon Bland, a trey by Kellie Ross, and three consecutive baskets by Mercer put the game away.
Holden could only stand back and admire it.
I feel we can score so quickly, Holden said. In a matter of less than a minute this season, Ive seen us score 10 points.
Mercer, a Prosser High grad, finished with 14 points and six rebounds in just 14 minutes of playing time.
That type of efficiency is incredible, said Holden.
Kamiakin graduate Courtney Nelson was pretty efficient too. She scored 23 points on 10-for-17 shooting, adding four assists and three steals.
So far, its been a fun season for Mercer and Nelson, both freshmen.
Practices are the best because everyone on this team is super competitive, said Mercer. There is no way you cant get better each day at practice.
The Hawks have a deep lineup, primed for a deep run into the postseason.
Anybody on this team can step up at any time, said Mercer. I have faith in everyone we have.
Nelson said the players are letting Holden worry about the bigger picture.
Throughout the season weve been working on our whole game, Nelson said. We should take every game individually and just worry about that.
Sierra Higheagle added 12 points for the Hawks.
Riley Holsinger led Spokane with 19 points.
spokane Karlee Martin 0-1 0-0 0, Riley Holsinger 6-22 4-4 19, Tamar Williams 6-11 2-2 14, Emily Schramm 4-5 0-0 9, Briana Anderson 5-10 0-0 11, Ivionna Reece 0-1 0-0 0, Alex Overton 0-2 0-0 0, Aurorah Davis 0-0 0-0 0, Maria Guske 1-3 0-0 2, Alicia Christiansen 0-1 1-2 1. Totals 22-56 7-8 56.
COLUMBIA BASIN Kelsey Yenney 0-2 0-1 0, Shannon Bland 3-6 1-2 7, Sydney Mercer 6-12 1-3 14, Sierra Higheagle 5-7 0-0 12, Courtney Nelson 10-17 2-2 23, Alicia Jones 3-7 0-0 6, Kellie Ross 1-2 0-0 3, Lyndsay Oswalt 2-5 2-2 6, Lacie French 1-2 0-0 2, Hannah Depew 1-5 0-0 2. Totals 32-65 6-10 75.
HalftimeCBC 39-29. 3-point goalsSpo 5-19 (Holsinger 3-9, Schramm 1-2, Anderson 1-3, Christiansen 0-1, Guske 0-2, Overton 0-2), CBC 5-11 (Higheagle 2-3, Mercer 1-2, Ross 1-2, Nelson 1-3, Bland 0-1). ReboundsSpo 30 (Schramm 8, Williams 8), CBC 41 (Bland 7). AssistsSpo 13 (Holsinger 3, Martin 3), CBC 19 (Bland 4, Nelson 4). TurnoversSpo 19, CBC 14. FoulsSpo 13, CBC 14.