Columbia Basin’s Justin Smith had two chances to tie Sunday’s elimination game against Chemeketa and both shots rimmed out.
Both summed up how the Northwest Athletic Association of Community College tournament went for the Hawks.
Chemeketa escaped with an 86-83 victory ending the Hawks’ season, which featured a tournament appearance for the first time since 2009.
“The ball just wasn’t going in for us down the stretch, in the latter part of our season,” CBC coach Rolando Garcia said. “That is how the tournament was.”
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Smith, who scored only three points Saturday, heated up in the second half Sunday, hitting a game-tying 3-pointer with 56 seconds remaining to knot the score at 83-83.
After a missed shot and a team rebound, Chemeketa had the ball with 19 seconds remaining. The Hawks played good pressure defense, but Adam Westfall leaked out to the 3-point elbow, caught a pass and drained the game-winning 3-pointer.
It was only Westfall’s second basket of the game — both 3-pointers.
“I’ve had two other games where I had awful games and I just got the ball in the right spot,” he said. “I’m a shooter, so I just let it go. It was a good look and it went in. Coach said he wanted to get the ball inside, but I think he was OK with that look.”
Chemeketa led throughout the first half, taking a 45-36 lead into halftime. Columbia Basin has been a second half team throughout the season, and Sunday was no different.
The Hawks (16-12) opened on a 12-2 run to take a 48-47 lead with 17:15 left. Smith scored 16 of his team-high 25 points in the second half.
“Last game, I picked up two really quick ones and had to sit awhile and it threw me off rhythm,” he said. “Today, I just wanted to go out there and kind of get my own rhythm and play within the team.”
The Storm rallied, though, behind the stellar offensive display by Bryce White.
The 6-foot-5 freshman from Portland poured in 40 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. He gave the Hawks fits all night, getting to the basket, as well as making 4-of-4 from behind the 3-point line.
After CBC pulled within 74-72 with 4:09 remaining, White hit a 3-pointer that seemed to sink the Hawks, but they had one rally left.
Trailing 83-76, Steven Walter hit a jumper, Andrew Reddout made a layup and Smith hit his 3-pointer to tie the game and set up Westfall’s heroics.
“We relied to much on doing runs on teams,” Garcia said. “This is a quality team and it is tough to come back on a good team like that. My boys tried. They tried, it just wasn’t good enough tonight.”
The loss ends a season that started with so much promise for the Hawks, who started 8-1. But four second-half losses and a two-and-out appearance at the NWAACC tournament was not what they envisioned.
“It’s rough,” freshman James Lopez said. “We made it, but this wasn’t what we were aiming for. I’ve known coach for years and he has stuck with me, and it’s rough. Not really letting him down, but not accomplishing our goals from the beginning of the season.”
Reddout finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds, while Mitchell Zapien added 14 points and Walter had 11. Lopez had seven points and 11 assists.
CHEMEKETA — Kevin Brazille 1-7 0-0 2, Bryce White 13-25 10-12 40, Kyle Atkinson 0-2 2-3 2, Darrien Christian 0-4 2-6 2, Loran Ackerman 0-5 0-0 0, Dominique Lawrence 7-11 2-3 16, Jalen Schlegel 4-9 0-0 8, Alex Ferry 1-1 0-0 2, Adam Westfall 2-7 0-0 6, Jordan Ewell 4-10 0-3 8. Totals 32-81 16-27 86.
COLUMBIA BASIN—James Lopez 3-15 1-2 7, Jordan King 0-1 0-0 0, Justin Smith 9-20 4-4 25, Brandon Oswalt 1-4 0-0 3, Jordan En’Wezoh 0-1 0-1 0, Kyler DeWitt 2-6 2-2 7, Mitchell Zapien 6-15 1-4 14, Steven Walter 3-9 4-4 11, Andrew Reddout 6-10 4-4 16. Totals 30-81 16-21 83.
Halftime—Chem 45, CBC 36. 3-point goals—Chem 6-15 (White 4-4, Westfall 2-5, Brazille 0-2, Atkinson 0-2, Ackerman 0-1, Ewell 0-1), CBC 7-28 (Smith 3-12, DeWitt 1-4, Walter 1-3, Zapien 1-2, Lopez 0-3, Reddout 0-2, King 0-1). Rebounds—Chem 62 (White 15), CBC 49 (Reddout 15). Assists—Chem 8 (Brazille 2), CBC 17 (Lopez 11). Turnovers—Chem 15, CBC 10. Fouls—Chem 19, CBC 19.