The ‘Battling Bivalves’ Fall in Cascade Conference Openers
By James Gutsch
Evergreen may have finally figured out how to entice Greeners to come to a college Basketball doubleheader on a frigid Friday night in Olympia: Drive the Taco Truck to the CRC front entrance. The highest turnout of the season treated fans to both burritos and basketball as both the women’s and men’s teams played their season openers in the Cascade Collegiate Conference (CCC) against the visiting Eastern Oregon Mountaineers. The women fell 76 – 92 and the men lost 54 – 73. On Saturday night, both teams resumed inter-conference play against the College of Idaho. The women lost 59 – 62 and the men were blown out 73 – 115.
Evergreen Women v. Eastern Oregon
Kicking off the night, the Lady Geoducks (4-4) hoped to continue a four game winning streak, their longest in over five seasons. They were also playing their first game since forward Brittany Gray was named the Red Lion’s Women’s Basketball Player of the Week. Both teams overcame an early shooting slump and the Mountaineers led 36 – 27 at the half. Evergreen managed to cut the deficit to six with eight minutes left, but the Geoducks got no closer. A defining moment came with 4:30 left in the contest when, up by nine, Eastern Oregon hit back-to-back three pointers within 30 seconds (the first an off-balance heave from the right corner that left Greener fans in dismay) for an 81 – 66 lead. The Geoducks could not muster the offensive firepower or get the defensive stops after that and did not threaten again.
Evergreen was once again led by Gray, who compiled 18 points and grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds, complemented by five steals. Sammi Clark chipped in 17 points including three from beyond the arc.
Evergreen Men v. Eastern Oregon
In the second part of the doubleheader, the men’s team (1-6) was looking to end a four game losing streak since winning their season opener in October. The Geoducks had it going early, and came crashing out of the gate for a 10-1 lead five minutes in. After that, it all went East. Eastern Oregon found their shooting touch and closed the half on a 20 – 8 run which saw them entering the locker rooms with a 34 – 25 lead.
After watching the deficit expand in the second half, a three pointer by Kyle Calhoun and a free throw by Cody Peters cut the lead to nine with six minutes left. Evergreen went cold turkey after that, making just three subsequent baskets; two of which came in garbage time.
The Geoducks were led by Calhoun, who had a game high 22 points. The Seattle Guard had the touch from deep as well, finishing 6-9 from downtown. An overall poor shooting night, patchy defense and having more turnovers than assists ultimately doomed the Geoducks.
Evergreen Women v. College of Idaho
In the second night of consecutive games the Evergreen Women fell to the College of Idaho in a consistently close game that featured eight lead changes. Evergreen’s last lead came with 10:30 left in the game, on a jumper by Randi Boseman. The Geoducks pulled within one with 5:30 remaining but couldn’t run with the Yotes down the stretch. Brittany Gray, who leads the team in points, rebounds, and field goal percentage, had a quiet night with just eight points. Jessica Denmon stepped up and finished with 22 points on 8-10 shooting.
Evergreen Men v. College of Idaho
The Evergreen men produced a rather lackluster performance losing by 42 points to the College of Idaho men’s squad. The Yotes never trailed in the victory and shot 57% from the field. Evergreen was led by Marc Taylor and Cameron Faison, who each contributed 14 points in defeat. The Geoducks failed to protect the basketball and had more turnovers than assists for the second time in as many nights. Idaho made them pay, and outscored Evergreen 40 – 8 in points off of turnovers.