Yaks Pull Off Amazing Upset, Win N.W.A.A.C.C. ChampionshipPosted: Updated:
KENNEWICK, WASH - While the Sasquatch fans might've been outnumbered by the hometown Columbia Basin crowd at the women's championship game, they came out in force - and with sound - to cheer on the favored Spokane team as they took on the Yakima Yaks in the 2008 NWAACC Men's Basketball Championship game. However, even their fans couldn't protect Spokane from amazing performance of future tournament MVP Anthony Johnson.
For the Sasquatch, starting were first team Eastern region all-star guard Mathew Door, second-team all stars, guard Jon Clift, guard Eric Beal and guard Jordan Gregg, and forward Robert Lippman.
Kicking off the game for the Yaks were guard Jody Johnson, guard Nico Sandoval, Eastern MVP guard Anthony Johnson, forward Mario Allen and forward LeMar Anglin.
The first points of the game highlighted the ongoing struggle of both teams to provide defense without giving up fouls. From the line, LeMar Anglin knocked down one of his two free throws to give the Yaks the first score of the game. On the other end of the court, Spokane came on the board after Robert Lippman drilled down both of his free throw shots when a foul forced him to the line for the Sasquatch.
With both teams in the double bonus with more than five minutes to play in the first half, the Yaks outperformed on the free throw line, adding to their lead. However, Matt Dorr gave the Sasquatch an invigorating lift as he nailed a three at the buzzer, sending the teams into the locker room with a score of Yaks 37, Sasquatch 31.
Robert Lippman once again scored the first points of the half for the Sasquatch from the line. Jordan Gregg added another two for Spokane and a quick trade of baskets between the Yaks and Jon Clift found the Sasquatch only a field goal down, two minutes into the half. Two minutes later, a spinning basket from Lippman tied the score and a fast break lay-up from Dorr put Spokane ahead for the first time since the early part of the game with fifteen minutes still to play and a score of 43-41.
The teams proceeded to trade baskets, and with under 8 minutes to go, it was all tied up at 53. After a foul, the Sasquatch added one more. Matthew Door grabbed his own rebound from a three to drive it to the basket for two - and did it again after a score by the Yaks on the other end of the court. Anthony Johnson fought back for the Yaks, making most of his chances at the line and matching whatever Spokane had to offer.
Neither team could shake the other and with 2:35 remaining, the game was again a dead heat at 61 all when a foul sent Lippman to the line to shoot two.
Matthew Dorr's foul on Anthony Johnson saw him make the first basket and miss the second. A steal by Jody Johnson gave the ball back to the Yaks and Sandoval charged hard, adding two give the Yaks the lead with under 1:30 to play, 64-63.
A beautiful layup by Clift from the side of the basket retuned Spokane to the top, 65-64. However, he pushed off of Anthony Johnson on the other end, sending the MVP to the line to drop in two.
With a score of 66-65 and 35 seconds on the clock, Spokane inbounded the ball after the time out. Clift headed to the basket, sending LeMar Anglin to the ground and was chared with the offensive foul, ending his game and turning the ball over to the Yaks.
However, the Sasquash stole the ball with 16 seconds on the clock and had one more chance. Under heavy coverage, Matthew Dorr's last second shot bounced off the rim, sending the Yakima Yaks home with the championship in a score of 66-65.
Spokane ends their season 30-2 and with a second place trophy. Yakima finishes 25-7.
Leading scorers for the Spokane Sasquatch were Jon Clift with 18, Robert Lippman with 14, including 10 from the line, and all tournament team player Matthew Dorr with 9 points and 5 rebounds.
For the Yakima Yaks, leading scorers included tournament all-team player Jody Johnson with 11 points and 10 rebounds and tournament MVP Anthony Johnson with 29.