NWAACC: Portland men continue dream season

Craig Craker, Herald staff writerMarch 2, 2014 

Portland’s Josh Turner drives to the basket past the outstretched arm of Bellevue’s Darien Muongvang at the NWAACC tournament Sunday at the Toyota Center in Kennewick.


The Portland men’s basketball team’s dream season continued Sunday, as it rallied from a 23-point deficit to shock Bellevue in a quarterfinal at the Toyota Center.

Warren Edmondson banked in a 10-footer with 4 seconds left to lift the Panthers to a 77-76 victory over the Bulldogs in the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges tournament.

Josh Turner drove to the basket and kicked to Edmondson when the defense collapsed.

“The plan was to get me off of two screens, but I saw them collapsing so I dished it out to my teammate and he hit the shot,” Turner said. “I knew someone would be open, so I kicked it out.”

Bellevue had one final chance, but Austin O’Keefe failed to get the shot off in time.

Edmondson was just 2-of-12 from the field at that point and clearly struggling. But the first-team all-league player remained confident and it paid off with the game-winner.

“A lot of it was my team and my coach,” Edmondson said. “They were telling me to keep shooting the ball. Start it on defense and it is going to go in and that is exactly what happened. “It is unbelievable. I have to thank my teammates and my coaches for believing in me to take the shot.”

Portland is in the NWAACC tournament for the first time in program history, ending a 30-year drought and it is making the most of the experience, advancing to today’s semifinals.

“I give all the credit to the players, assistant coaches and God,” Portland coach Tony Broadous said. “It is just a good group of guys that believe in each other, believe in the system and give everything they got. And when you do that, sometimes magic happens.”

It was nothing short of magical the rally the Panthers put together to even set Edmondson up for his game-winner.

Bellevue jumped out to a 29-6 lead on a dunk by Terry Jones with 9 minutes, 13 seconds left in the first half.

Portland was stunned, but some key contributions from bench players Ryan Dethlefs, Anthony Hines II and Jordan Wood helped the team regroup and cut the deficit to 11 at halftime.

The Panthers took a 70-69 lead, but turned the ball over on three consecutive possessions as Bellevue appeared poised to pull it out. Turner wouldn’t be denied, though, getting to the rack and scoring layups to keep his team in it.

Leading 76-75 with 17 seconds, left Bellevue’s AJ Holloway missed two free throws, setting up Edmondson’s heroics on the other end.

“This team is here to stay,” Edmondson said. “We belong here. thirty years and the first time making it speaks for itself.”

Turner had a game-high 27 points and pulled down 12 rebounds. CJ Easterling scored 22 points off the bench, while Edmondson finished with 10 points.

O’Keefe’s 18 led the Bulldogs, while Darien Muongvang added 14 points and seven rebounds. Kennewick graduate Reggie Clinton saw some time in the first half for Bellevue, but was 0-for-1.

BELLEVUE—Jalen Ward 2-5 1-2 6, Darien Muongvang 6-10 0-0 14, Daniel Greer 3-3 1-2 8, Reggie Clinton 0-1 0-0 0, Dominique Jordan 3-6 3-6 10, Terry Jones 1-2 0-0 2, AJ Holloway 3-8 0-3 6, Dominic Smith 0-2 2-2 2, Anthony McLaughlin 5-8 0-0 10, Austin O’Keefe 8-14 0-0 18. Totals 31-59 7-15 76.
PORTLAND—Warren Edmondson 3-13 4-4 10, Marcus Bailey 0-1 0-0 0, Tremaine Channel 1-2 0-2 3, Jordan Wood 1-3 0-0 3, Josh Turner 10-18 7-8 27, Anthony Hines II 0-1 0-0 0, Ryan Dethlefs 1-1 0-0 2, Carl Appleton 1-4 2-2 4, CJ Easterling 9-13 3-3 22, Angelo Tupper 3-7 0-0 6. Totals 29-63 16-19 77.
Halftime—Bel 41, Por 29. 3-point goals—Bel 7-20 (Muongvang 2-4, O’Keefe 2-5, Greer 1-1, Jordan 1-2, Ward 1-2, Clinton 0-1, Holloway 0-3, Smith 0-2), Portland 3-20 (Wood 1-3, Channel 1-2, Easterling 1-1, Turner 0-5, Edmondson 0-5, Tupper 0-4). Rebounds—Bel 35 (McLaughlin 10), Por 32 (Turner 12). Assists—Bel 16 (Holloway 6), Por 17 (Channel, Appleton 4). Turnovers—Bel 18, Por 13. Fouls—Bel 15, Por 20

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