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Chemeketa Men’s Team Wins Tiebreaker, Heads to NWACC Playoffs

Chemeketa Men’s Team Wins Tiebreaker, Heads to NWACC Playoffs

By Matt Rawlings

After fourteen league games, the Chemeketa Storm and the Mt. Hood Saints had identical 9-5 records.

And with the fourth and final NWACC South playoff spot on the line, the Storm took on the Saints in a tiebreaker to decide who will receive the coveted playoff spot.

The Storm, who were playing their second must-win-game in three days, rose to the challenge once again.

Storm guard Bryce White dropped 31 points and Jordan Ewell added 18 points as The Storm clinched a seed in the NWACC Playoffs with a 101-93 victory.

Storm point guard Kevin Brazille, added 17 points in the victory.

Even though the Storm are used to be either a 1 or 2 seed over the last five years, Storm Head Coach David Abderhalden, doesn’t mind coming in as the underdog.

“Once you get there, it doesn’t matter what seed you are” Abderhalden said.

“Every team that makes it to the playoffs is a quality basketball team and anyone could beat anyone on any given night.”

The Storm started off the game with a jumper from Brazille and a three from Storm shooting guard Kyle Atkinson, to grasp the early lead.

Mt. Hood struggled to score early on due to the defensive changes that the Storm were making through the course of the game.

The Storm, who usually play strong man-to-man defense, started to mix it up defensively and started to play a 2-3 zone as well as occasionally throwing in a 1-3-1 trap.

“We wanted to mix it up on defense to take away their post presence and try to keep them off balance” Abderhalden said.

Despite the tough defense, Mt. Hood was able to keep the game close throughout the first half.

But the Storm were able to finish off the first half with a 12-2 run, which was highlighted by a tenacious jam by Dominique Lawrence, which brought the crowd to its feet and gave the Storm all the momentum going into the intermission.

The Storm continued their hot shooting in the start of the second half.

A floater from Ewell and a mid-range jumper from Brazille, brought the Storm’s lead to 14 early in the second half.

But Mt. Hood came out of a timeout and went on a 14-4 run to get themselves right back in the game.

The Storm steadily began to rebuild their lead again and eventually brought their lead back to double digits, thanks to a runner from Storm wing Adam Westfall, and a tip-dunk by White.

Mt. Hood cut the lead to 4 again with just over a minute to play, but key stops and clutch free throw shooting by White and Ewell enabled to Storm to get the 8-point win.

The Storm will now travel to Kennewick, Washington to play in the NWACC Tournament, which takes place March 1st and goes through March 4th.

They will play Clark College in their opener, the #1 overall seed from the West division.

“I enjoy coming in as the underdog because it puts all the pressure on Clark” Abderhalden said.

The Chemeketa women’s team will also be competing in the NWACC Tournament, and we will have coverage of both teams in the March 12th edition of the Courier.

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