Going a combined 3-1 over the last week of the season, both the Bellevue College men’s and women’s basketball teams have secured their places in the Northwest Athletic Conference’s annual basketball championships that started on March 8 and will continue through March 19.
The first and only loss of the week came at the hands of the second-place Shoreline Dolphins, who positively routed the women’s team 60-44. Aloha Akaka and Taylor Eldredge each put up 22 points, with the only Bulldog remotely close being Brianna Byrnes with a team-high 17 points. The 14-point deficit for Bellevue at halftime meant that it was hardly a game from the start.
Fortunately, BC bounced back with a decisive win over their most important match of the season: a 65-57 win over the Olympic Rangers, the team closest to overtaking them in the standings. While no other Bulldogs scored in the double digits, Sav Huerta willed the team to a statement victory with a monstrous 34 points. The team truly came together in the second half, allowing just 23 points in the final two quarters, including a measly four in the third quarter.
At 8-6 and with the fourth seed in the North Region, the path to the championship for the women’s team begins with the Lane Titans, who reign supreme of the South Region with a tremendous 28-1 record.
The men’s team secured playoffs after just their first game against Shoreline, who were the only competition for the final seed in the North. The Bulldogs outscored the Dolphins 41-19 in the first half, cruising their way to a 91-72 win. Prophet Johnson led the squad with 30 points, as Owen Moriarty trailed behind him with 23.
In what was essentially a victory lap against the seventh-place Olympic, everyone got a chance to show off. In a casual 93-77 victory, four of five Bellevue College starters scored in the double digits. Moriarty tied the team lead with 19 points, along with Bishop Tosi, who added 11 rebounds to the mix. Aydan Janssan was close behind with 18. Rounding out these four was Johnson, who achieved a triple-double: 17 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists.
The first round of the championship pits Bellevue against North Idaho, who, despite going 16-11 (third in the East Region), are listed as the first seed, a far less scary task than the women’s team as they seek to upset possibly the best team in the conference.