Yaks knock Big Bend out of tournament running

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Rodney Harwood/Columbia Basin Herald Big Bend’s DeAngelo Stowers (22) goes up strong during the first half of Wednesday’s NWAC East finale in Yakima.

YAKIMA — Big Bend opened up an 11-point lead with a little under 15 minutes remaining, but just couldn’t slam the door on Yakima Valley Wednesday night at Ellwood Crosier Court in Yakima.

The Yaks tied the game 71-71 with 6:29 to go.

DeAngelo Stowers gave the Runnin’ Vikings their final lead with 6 minutes left. But in the end, the Yaks came storming back to win the NWAC East regular season finale 90-82.

Big Bend needed a win to keep its NWAC tournament hopes alive. But the loss ends the season at 15-13, 8-8 in the NWAC East.

“It’s not uncommon for freshmen to get excited with a lead like that. They think they’ve done the job and they stop 15 yards before the finish line,” first-year Big Bend head coach Mingo Scott said. “Once you let that momentum go, it’s harder than hell to get it back.”

Koby Huerta, the 5-foot-11 guard that helped Kentwood to a state championship last year, wrapped up his first season at the community college level with a 28-point performance. The point guard from Kentwood was 10-of-19 from the floor and 4-8 from 3-point range.

In fact, all five Runnin’ Vikings starters finished in double digits. Mauricio Smith added seven rebounds to his 13 points. Miles Brown had a double-double with 12 rebounds and 13 points. DeAngelo Stowers, who worked his way into the starting lineup after coming off the bench earlier in the year, had 13 points, going 7-of-7 from the free-throw line.

Ephrata standout Collin Ahmann finished up his Big Bend career with three points and giving the Vikings 15 minutes off the bench.

“It was an adjustment coming off the bench when I was an all-state player in high school. But it’s the situation and I was happy to contribute,” Ahmann said. “It was nice to be a part of this with a bunch of young guys. We played as hard as we could. We made a good run and it was a good experience.”

It was also the final game for sophomore Blake Dittman, who finished up with 10 points and three rebounds.

“I’m really grateful for the opportunity I had. I played for two great coaches (Mark Poth and Mingo Scott),” Dittman said. “We played hard because we wanted to go farther, but basketball is a game of learning experiences and we just didn’t step on their throat tonight and they came back.”

Big Bend 36 46 - 82

Yakima Valley 38 52 - 90

Big Bend - Mauricio Smith 13, Koby Huerta 28, Blake Dittman 10, DeAngelo Stowers 13, Miles Brown 13, Collin Ahmann 2, Parker Christensen 2, Totals: 29-73 13-15 82

Yakima Valley - Gamaun Boykin 24, Maurice Hodge 0, Modesta Britten 19, Kashif Davis 10, Quintin Raynor 13, Jordan Blodgett 4, David Lindgren 12, Trey Delp 6. Totals: 32-69 19-23 90

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