As the Northwest Athletic Conference basketball season enters its final week of games and prepares for its championship tournament, the Bellevue College men’s basketball team is teetering on the edge of earning a spot. With half a game ahead of Shoreline, winning their matchup this Sunday should be enough to clinch a tournament appearance.
Leading up to that pivotal game, they have been on a pretty torrid stretch this month. They are 5-2 in February so far, with the two losses being to first-place Peninsula and third-place Everett. Owen Moriarty and Prophet Johnson combined for 47 points in a decisive 91-78 victory over the scuffling Olympic Rangers. Four Bulldogs scored 20-plus points in a 124-98 rout of the second-place Edmonds Tritons, including a season-high 26 from Aydan Janssan. In the next game against the last-place Whatcom Orcas, Johnson would stuff the stat sheet with a remarkable 50 points in a 119-79 shellacking that was painful to watch.
In their most recent match, the Skagit Valley Cardinals outscored Bellevue 33-26 to force overtime, but that wasn’t enough. Bishop Tosi put the birds to rest with nine points and six rebounds in a mere five minutes to seal the 83-72 victory. Johnson put up another 27, keeping his place as the second-highest scorer in the conference.
The women’s team finds themselves in a nearly identical situation, just half a game ahead of Edmonds to secure that final championship spot within their region. However, the Tritons don’t exist on their schedule. Bellevue College owns the tie-breaker, having beaten them both times they have faced, so a single win should be enough to secure their spot in the playoffs.
Coincidentally, the women’s team has also been 5-2 in February, losing to the first and third seeds in their region, though, in this case, those two teams are Peninsula and Skagit Valley.
Their month started with beating the Rangers 74-61 in a game that wasn’t even that close, behind a season-high 19 points from Helena Van Ess. Edmonds very nearly staged a comeback in their match this month, but in the end, a combined 58 points from Sav Huerta and Brianna Byrnes was enough to squeak past 78-77. Following that, Whatcom really didn’t stand a chance, as the Bulldogs held them to a feeble 57 points in the 75-57 win. If that weren’t lopsided enough, the Everett Trojans came to town on Feb. 19 and got slaughtered 64-45.
Huerta remains third on the scoring list in the conference with 19.3, just two-tenths behind Lane’s Bella Hamel. Shoreline could be a challenge this Sunday, but Olympic should serve as a perfectly doable victory to seal their playoff hopes.