Pierce College’s visiting Raiders turned the opening 10 minutes of the second half into no-fly zones for Grays Harbor College basketball teams.
Breaking open tight games early in the second half, the Raiders swept the Chokers in an NWAACC Western Division coed basketball doubleheader Wednesday night at Sam Benn Gym.
Outscoring the Chokers 22-5 in about a seven-minute span, Pierce took the men’s game, 82-64. Earlier, the Raiders took control of the paint early in the second half for a 71-62 women’s triumph.
WOMEN Raiders 71, Chokers 62
With Paulette Robles shooting well from mid-range and the team hustling on the defensive end, the Chokers led by as many as eight points in the first half before Pierce rallied to tie it at 30-all at intermission.
The Chokers, however, were unable to keep 6-foot Haley Hutchinson or 5-10 Haley Hutchinson away from the basket in the second half.
Doing most of her damage on short jumpers and putbacks, Hatchett scored 14 of her game-high 24 points in the final 20 minutes. Hutchinson tallied eight of her 14 in the same span.
“We were outsized a little bit,” Grays Harbor coach Christine Nelson acknowledged.
Baskets by Alyssa Simonson and Hutchinson at the outset of the second half gave the visitors a lead they never relinquished.
The Raiders extended the margin to 12, 51-39, at about the 10-minute mark.
Down by 11 with 5:21 remaining, the Chokers went on a 7-1 run to trim the deficit to 61-56 when Bianca Russell hit a reverse layin and Marlee Chovich followed by making one of two free throws with 3:37 remaining.
After Hatchett converted two foul shots at the other end, the Raiders converted a pair of GHC turnovers to extend the lead to nine with about three minutes remaining. Grays Harbor never came closer than eight the rest of the way.
The Chokers (1-7, 3-12) repeatedly were able to take the ball to the hoop on drives, but missed a bundle of close-in shots.
“It’s been the story all season,” Nelson mused. “We get good shots and they don’t fall for us.”
The Choker coach did, however, applaud her team’s effort.
Robles paced the Chokers with 18 points. Russell added 16— 10 of those coming in the second half. Each also grabbed 10 rebounds.
Nelson cited Hoquiam’s Chelsy Stewart for her reserve play.
MEN Raiders 82, Chokers 64
Grays Harbor stayed with Pierce, which had been ranked as high as fourth in the NWAACC poll until a couple of recent losses, throughout a frenetically-paced if turnover-filled first half.
Tim Straghter’s layin and Bryan McGriff’s 3-point basket in the opening 90 second of the second half vaulted the Chokers (2-5, 5-12) into a a 38-36 lead.
Then the bottom fell out for GHC. The tall and athletic Raiders (5-2, 12-5) started converting second-chance opportunities while the Chokers began throwing up some wild shots.
Pierce owned a 62-43 advantage by the 9:36 mark and coasted home.
“We didn’t always have a sense of urgency for the possession,” Grays Harbor coach Jordan Altman said after a long post-game session with his team. “Pierce had a couple of really good possessions and our answer was to force, to rush, to put up some bad shots. We let the game get away in five or six possessions.”
The Raiders also had an answer for GHC scoring ace Bryan McGriff. Seeing limited playing time in the first half due to a couple of early fouls and blanketed by Isaac Barsh when he was on the court, McGriff was limited to two field goals and a season-low nine points.
Pierce, which like GHC has recruited heavily from the Las Vegas area, had five players score in double figures. David Baze, one of the Las Vegas products, tallied a game-high 18.
Straghter paced the Chokers with 16 points. Cameron Ladson finished with 10 points for Grays Harbor.
A moment of silence was observed for Choker assistant softball coach Steve Hyde, who died Tuesday.
The Choker teams travel to Lower Columbia on Saturday.
Pierce (82) — Jacobs 13, Matthews 1, Baze 18, Barsh 13, Parker 7, Corr, Johnson 14, Jeffries 12, Loranger 4. FG — 27-56 (.482). FT — 23-36.
Grays Harbor (64) — Harrison 8, Ladson 10, Irion 8, Straghter 16, McGriff 9, Porter 1, Larkins 2, Kolokihakausfisi, Harrod 6, Dutton 4. FG — 23-63 (.365). FT — 14-17.
Halftime: Pierce 36, Grays Harbor 33.
Pierce (71) — McKinney 4, Hansen, Hutchinson 14, Harn 12, Simonson 12, Hatchett 24, Dwarshuis-Herrera, Lancaster 5. FG — 25-57 (.439). FT — 19-25.
Grays Harbor (62) — Maneman 1, Chovich 6, Hagain 2, Cox 7, Robles 18, Fifield 4, Stewart 8, Russell 16. FG — 25-67 (.373). FT — 11-17.
Halftime: Grays Harbor 30, Pierce 30.