The South Puget Sound Community College Clippers earn their first-ever NWAC Western Division men's basketball title with a victory over the Grays Harbor Chokers at SPSCC in Olympia. Tony Overman toverman@theolympian.com
The South Puget Sound Community College Clippers earn their first-ever NWAC Western Division men's basketball title with a victory over the Grays Harbor Chokers at SPSCC in Olympia. Tony Overman toverman@theolympian.com

College Sports

Clippers make short work of Grays Harbor, clinch West Region title

By Dave Weber

Contributing writer

February 23, 2017 05:41 PM

UPDATED February 24, 2017 05:44 PM

No one has beaten South Puget Sound Community College in the NWAC West Region so far. It became obvious very quickly Wednesday night that Grays Harbor wasn’t going to be the first as the Clippers raced away to a 98-60 home victory over the Chokers.

The victory secured SPSCC’s first region championship in the 24-year history of the Clippers program, giving SPSCC (21-4, 12-0 in the West) a three-game lead over Pierce and Tacoma with two games left.

Dez Stoudamire paced the Clippers with 22 points, Buay Kuajian contributed a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds, Olympia High grad Nolan Black had 16 points and eight rebounds, and point guard Luke Chavez’s diverse statistical line was 13 points, eight assists and six rebounds.

Guard Jordan Phillips led Grays Harbor with 18 points — including a trio of 3-pointers in a 90-second span of the second half. John Robinson added 14 points and Malik Redmond had 10.

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The Clippers scored the first five points of the game on free throws by Stoudamire and Kuajian, and the Chokers (7-20, 3-9) never got any closer.

After Grays Harbor’s Redmond converted a fast-break layup to cut his team’s deficit to 19-13, SPSCC held the Chokers, who shot 17.9 per cent from the field during the first half, scoreless for six minutes. The Clippers put together a 19-0 run to grab a 38-13 edge before Redmond broke the drought with a pair of free throws.

But SPSCC scored the next six points to take its largest lead of the first half, 29 points, and later went into the locker room up 45-17. Stoudamire already had 16 points and Chavez had 12 on 3-of-5 three-point shooting.

Though SPSCC shot only 37.8 per cent before halftime thanks to a 4-for-14 three-point percentage, the Clippers made 13 of 14 free throws.

After intermission, the Clippers survived Phillips’ outburst thanks to 60.6 percent shooting, 50 percent from beyond the arc. SPSCC’s largest lead was 39 points, which it held twice, the final time at 89-50 after a floater off the glass by Blake Hampton.

Twelve players saw action for the Clippers and 11 scored. Next up for SPSCC is a visit to Tacoma at 4 p.m. Saturday.

WOMEN

Grays Harbor 69, SPSCC 52: The Clippers fell despite a 21-point, 16-rebound double-double by Savannah McGill. Sydney Sauls added 10 points.

Alexia Thrower, a freshman guard from Las Vegas, paced Grays Harbor with a double-double of her own, a game-high 24 points and 10 rebounds. Angela Sikora added 14 points and Estelle Wilson had 12 for the Chokers (12-12, 7-5 NWAC West).

Grays Harbor jumped out to a 13-1 lead after minutes before an SPSCC run — all of the points scored by McGill — cut the Chokers lead to 18-16. But it wouldn’t stay close.

With SPSCC (10-15, 4-8) unable to get the ball into McGill through a tight zone defense and double- and triple-teams, and the Clippers shooting 18 percent as a team in the first half, the Chokers closed out the half on a 19-2 run to go up 37-18.

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The Clippers began the second half with a 6-2 run, which extended McGill’s streak to 16 consecutive points for her team before Mackenzie Bergquist hit a pair of free throws to make it 39-24 three minutes in.

Grays Harbor made only one third-quarter field goal, but kept its double-digit lead by sinking nine of 11 free throws.