The Bellevue College men’s basketball team marched into their final two games, both against Everett, in a coincidental clash to see who would take home the division title. The Bulldogs needed just one win to clinch it, but if they lost both, Everett would end the season on top.
Bellevue came out guns blazing in the first game on June 4, scoring on their first attempt just 10 seconds into the game. From there, they built a solid lead, with leads at 11-7, 19-12 and eventually 23-16. From there, it took a bit of a turn. Everett clawed at the lead until a layup by Brendon Redford tied the game at 24. The rest of the half was all Trojans as they held a 35-27 lead entering halftime.
The second half started off similar. The first 10 minutes consisted of Bellevue’s stalwart defense holding Everett to only 10 points as they clawed back to a 46-45 lead. The game was still very back-and-forth, the two teams tied at 64 with one minute on the clock. Everett took a 66-64 lead with 30 seconds left and called a timeout. Returning from the timeout, Redford made four consecutive free throws to round out the game as Everett won 70-64. It was a valiant effort by Maui Sze and his 20 points as well as Nate Johnson and his 19 points with 20 rebounds. Still, they fell but would have their shot at redemption the following day.
The Bulldogs were in enemy territory, playing their final game at Everett. Two whole minutes went by before the first score, a Jett Briceno three-pointer for Bellevue. They would be held scoreless for the next five minutes before tying the game at 6-6. The Trojans seemed to slowly build an advantage but were kept constantly in check by Bellevue. However, with six minutes left in the first half, Bellevue scored their 19th point. Down by just three, the score would never be that close again. Everett led 39-27 at halftime. Even then, Bellevue clawed back to a four-point deficit with nine minutes to go and then again with four minutes to go, but they could not overcome that final hurdle. The final score, an identical 70-64 Everett win, would not only bump Everett to first place but even allowed Skagit Valley to leapfrog the Bulldogs as well, leaving Bellevue in third. Bellevue just could not do enough with their opportunities, going 8-36 from three-point range (O’Landa Baker alone went 2-12 from three and 7-25 overall).
This Bellevue team was far from bad, and an incredible deal better than they were in the 2019-2020 season. They finished top 10 in rebounds per game and opponents’ field goal percentage, as well as second in steals and blocks per game. They ended up going 9-6 overall, an incredible turnaround with almost entirely new faces occupying the roster. With Coach Brady at the helm, expect the already exciting freshmen to evolve into seriously dominant sophomores.