The march goes on for the Penguins women’s basketball team.
Clark College earned its eighth consecutive win Wednesday, beating Lower Columbia 95-81 at the O’Connell Sports Center.
Brooke Bowen scored 21 points to lead five Clark scorers in double figures. Haley Grossman and Nicolette Bond added 18 points each as the Penguins shot better than 54 percent from the field.
But the win was far from easy. Leading by as many as 17 in the first half, Clark saw Lower Columbia pull within two in the second half.
Clark responded with a 13-4 run, pushing its lead to 74-63 with 8:50 left. Lower Columbia couldn’t get closer than eight points from that moment on.
“I was happy with the way they responded,” Clark coach Al Aldridge said. “Competitive spirit is everything. And until they get in those situations, you don’t know how they’ll respond sometimes. It’s exciting that they have that much competitive spirit.”
Clark scored the first nine points of the game and opened a 27-10 lead within the first eight minutes.
The Penguins’ lead was at least nine points the rest of the first half, which ended with Clark ahead 52-41.
Lower Columbia started the second half on an 18-9 run to cut Clark’s lead to 61-59 with 13:24 remaining.
Clark (10-2 overall) improved to 2-0 in the West Division of the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges.
Aldridge has seen his team become more cohesive during its winning streak.
“They’re spending more time together, especially in practice,” Aldridge said. “They’re getting to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.”
Lower Columbia, of Longview, fell to 2-1 in league and 9-5 overall. They were led by Arinesha Smith’s 30 points.
Clark is currently No. 3 in the NWAACC coaches poll behind Columbia Basin and Clackamas.
Clark men pull away from Lower Columbia
A back-and-forth game eventually swung toward the Penguins, which beat Lower Columbia 75-65.
Tied at 54 with under eight minutes to play, Clark pulled ahead with back-to-back 3-pointers by Paul Golden and Max Livingston.
That ignited a run that saw Clark take a 69-57 lead with 3:05 to play.
Clark coach Alex Kirk singled out Josh Hall, who had nine points and six rebounds in just 17 minutes.
Sean Price led the Penguins with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Livingston added 14 points and seven rebounds.
The win was the eighth in a row for the Penguin men (10-1, 2-0), which are ranked No. 1 in the NWAACC coaches poll.
Kirk said his team felt a home-court advantage.
“The fans were great,” he said. “We had the band for the first time. There was definitely an extra buzz.”