KENNEWICK — The Clark men’s basketball team was eliminated from the NWAACC tournament Sunday afternoon in a down-to-the-wire loss, 74-71 to Bellevue at the Toyota Center.
“This is tough,” Austin Bragg said, leading the team with 18 points and 16 rebounds. “We really came out and gave it our all at the end. I’m proud to call these guys my teammates because they know how to lay it all out on the court.”
The Penguins (25-4) had a lead in the first seven minutes of the game but the Bulldogs (22-6) went on a 8-0 run putting them in front 19-17. Clark was unable to regain the lead and headed to the locker room down 40-28.
“The first half was really not a good representation of the way we play,” Austin Potts said, who had eight of his 10 points in the final minutes of the game. “It’s been hard for us sophomores, we were really hoping for more but we are all proud to have had the opportunity to be a Penguin.”
A spark hit Clark in the final 10 minutes of the game, as the Penguins were able to cut the lead down to 10 points.
“Things started to go our way towards the end there,” coach Mike Arnold said. “Although we did not win I am still so proud of these guys. There’s not a dry eye in that locker room, including my own. These guys really love each other and I hope this experience of being a Penguin sticks with them.”
As the clock ticked down to 16 seconds, the Penguins found themselves down 72-71.
Clark had to foul, sending Bellevue’s Jonathan Humphrie to the line, who consequently made both shots leaving Clark down by three with 13 seconds left.
Clark’s final shot was taken by Blake Bowen from behind the 3-point line and ended up coming up short.
“These things happen to the best of us,” Arnold said. “Sure you might only have two season losses, but there is a reason why these teams got to the playoffs too, it’s because we all win.”
Humphrie led Bellevue with 21 points.