KENNEWICK — Dabrail Henton scored 23 points, Cameron Jensen added 22 and Amir Royal chipped in 20 as Yakima Valley defeated Clark College a 97-84 in overtime in the opening round of the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges tournament Saturday.
“I’m not sure that everyone was really mentally prepared,” Clark coach Mike Arnold said. “I don’t know if it’s just that we were looking so far down the road to what could have been. I lectured all week on that everyone here has a 0-0 record coming into the tournament and that other teams don’t care that you only had two losses on the season.”
The Penguins (25-4), who entered the Toyota Center as the No. 1 seed out of the West Division, were close throughout. The game was tied at 33 points in the first half and 76 in the second half.
“I still don’t think we looked that strong going into the second half,” Arnold said. “I was unhappy with that first half performance and knew we had to change something even though we were still keeping it close.”
The Yaks (18-10) outscored them in overtime 21-8, had 15 turnovers to Clark’s 31, scored 33 points off Clark’s turnovers and made appearances at the foul line 52 times including a 16-0 advantage in overtime attempts.
“Tonight was frustrating, obviously,” sophomore Austin Bragg said. “Something was just off tonight, we just had to push back from the adversity and ended up unable to do so. And now we don’t have a shot at the championship.”
Bragg had 20 points and 21 rebounds as the Penguins outrebounded the Yaks, 67-39.
“That is the first time we have gone 67 to 39 (in rebounds),” coach Mike Arnold said. “But once you turn your attention to turnovers and fouls it all comes clear what happened tonight.”
Clark had a 76-74 lead with 11 seconds left in regulation, but Yakima’s Erik Martinez was able to get past the defenders for what seemed to be a fairly routine layup.
“It’s as simple as their ability to make shots,” sophomore Blake Bowen said, who added 13 points and 11 rebounds. “As a group, we just did not have the right mindset to win this game. It’s not like we weren’t prepared. It just didn’t work out the way we planned it to.”
Although the Penguins were able to win the tipoff and open scoring in overtime, the Yaks used the free throw line to take over.
The Penguins take on Bellevue Sunday at noon.