Win gives Clark men spot in NWAACC tournament

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Dan Anderson scored 18 points and Austin Bragg had a double-double despite injuring an ankle in pregame warmups as the Clark College men’s basketball team held on for a 75-70 victory Saturday night at Lower Columbia College.

The Penguins not only assured themselves of a place in the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges tournament, to be played March 5-8 in Kennewick. … They also eliminated the Red Devils.

“We knocked them out of the tournament and we sealed our deal to go, so it was a big win for us on the road against our archrival,” said Clark coach Mike Arnold.

Clark (15-8, 9-5 NWAACC West) led 27-26 at halftime and went up by as many as 11 points with about five minutes left, then made enough free throws down the stretch.

“It was a classic half of halfcourt smashmouth NWAACC basketball,” he said. “We went into half and said we need to play a little more of our style, which is transition and getting running.”

Bragg, who had 14 points and 10 rebounds, had back-to-back dunks to give Clark its biggest lead. The game then devolved into “a foul fest,” said Arnold.

Arnold said the team got a big lift from the bench, particularly from Blake Bowers and James Rashad Rollins.

At Lower Columbia women 63, Clark 54 — Lacey Kruse had 15 points and a game-high 20 rebounds in the Penguins’ loss. Deborah Simmers scored 14 points and Clara Russell added 10. Mollee Schwegler led Lower Columbia with 21 points.