In the last week, the Bellevue College men’s basketball team played two critical matches against Shoreline and Edmonds as the season reached its final weeks. Currently, only one seed in the playoffs has been solidified by Everett, and the other three are up for grabs between Edmonds, Bellevue, Whatcom and Peninsula. Even the Feb. 16 game against a struggling Shoreline was a must-win scenario.
Throughout most of the first half, the Bulldogs maintained a solid lead over Shoreline. They scored the first six points and at one time held a 19-12 lead, the largest lead of the first half. Shoreline managed to bounce back and take a 27-23 lead and was ahead 33-28 at halftime.
Shoreline carried that momentum through the second half, as five minutes in they held the biggest lead of the game at 11 points. It wasn’t until the final five minutes when Emanuel Siale tied the game at 59 that the competitiveness of the game was really highlighted. A Tijohn Rodde free throw put Bellevue up 71-67, and that was the last point they needed. The 71-70 win was likely closer than the Bulldogs wanted, but a win is a win.
Siale scored a team-leading 19 points from the bench, with three of Bellevue’s four blocks to top off his highlight performance. Rodde, Curtis Walker and Malik Sanchez all scored 12 points in the game, with Walker leading the team in both rebounds and steals at 10 and five respectively.
With Shoreline out of the way, Edmonds was set to pose a much larger threat as the second-place team in the North Region. They showed their dominance in the first half as they held a 42-39 lead at halftime. They continued their impressive showing throughout much of the second half as well, holding leads as big as eight points. It wasn’t until the final eight minutes that the Bulldogs finally brought the game back with TJ Jlan tying the game at 66.
Edmonds never held another lead that game, as the final score was 92-84 in favor of the Bulldogs. Sanchez and Jlan had highlight games, scoring 22 and 20 points respectively. Walker also scored 18 and Siale dropped 10 off the bench. A lot of Bellevue’s success this game can be attributed to their defense, holding Edmonds to a measly 35 field goal percentage. On the other hand, the Bulldogs were constantly taking high quality shots, and finished with a strong 56.7 field goal percentage of their own.
These victories put Bellevue in lone position of third in the North Region. Edmonds is still half a game above them, with Whatcom half a game below. Of the four games remaining in Bellevue’s schedule, three have losing records, with the fourth being against Everett, who are undefeated in conference play. The Bulldogs will likely be looking to take the three easier games against Olympic, Peninsula and Skagit Valley. The fourth game against Everett could prove more difficult, but in their last meeting Bellevue only lost by two points in double overtime, which is proof that the Bulldogs still have a chance to cause the biggest upset of the season.