By Tyler Urke in Sports
Basketball is the only sport played at Clark from the end of November until the beginning of March. As the sole sporting entertainment on campus, the Penguins draw a crowd.
Men’s head coach Alex Kirk knows that a crowd makes a huge impact on their games. “I really want to thank Penguin Nation and the fans,” Kirk said after both teams fended off Lower Columbia College on Jan. 8. “Tonight was a great atmosphere and it gave us a huge lift.” The men handled the Red Devils 75-65.
The women also took care of business in a 95-81 win over LCC. Head coach Al Aldridge called it a “good team effort” and said they had good preparation.
Fans were encouraged to wear black on “Blackout” night. The first 50 through the doors got free T-shirts. ASCC also served free pizza.
This season, both teams are doing everything they can to keep fans in the bleachers.
Both have a 5-0 league record and are in first place in the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges West Region. They also had excellent pre-seasons, winning nine games which is superb, considering the teams they played are some of the best.
The men are currently ranked first in the Alaska Airlines Coaches Poll and beat three of the top six in that poll. The women are ranked sixth and beat one in the top four, but that win crowned them the champion of the Clark Crossover Tournament Dec. 22.
The Lady Penguins gave Blue Mountain Community College their first loss, 77-72, in the final game.
Sophomore Brooke Bowen, who was the tournament MVP, averages 17.69 points per game, which puts her ninth in the NWAACC. Haley Grossman also made the All-Tournament Team, scoring nine of 17 points in the last five minutes of the championship to seal the win.
The men were victorious at the Everett Crossover Tournament Dec. 22. They faced tough competition beating top-ranked Big Bend Community College and second-ranked Whatcom Community College before knocking off Lane Community College in the final.
Clark’s Sean Price claimed MVP honors with an excellent performance on both sides of the ball. He is averaging 20.07 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.21 assists per game this year. Because of his outstanding play, Price earned the NWAACC Player of the Week award Dec. 23.
Collin Spickerman also made the All-Tournament Team, and is ranked 10th in scoring, fourth in rebounds and first in blocked shots per game this season.
Both teams sit atop the West Region, playing confidently. “Our guys are feeling the pressure,” Kirk said. “We’ve got a group of sophomores who know what to expect but our confidence is a result of the work they’ve done.”
Clark has proven it’s a force to be reckoned with this year and are bound to cause some trouble for teams in the NWAACC Tournament starting March 1.