MCMINNVILLE, Ore. – It took them a couple of extra games, but the Whitworth Pirates clinched their fourth consecutive outright Northwest Conference men’s basketball championship with an 86-53 victory over Linfield on Friday night.
Freshman guard George Valley scored 30 points for the Pirates (21-3, 13-2), whose feat of a fourth straight outright crown was last matched by Whitman College in 1930.
After 13 consecutive conference victories, Whitworth had lost two games in a row and fallen from a No. 3 national ranking to No. 12.
Friday night, the Pirates took off to a 13-0 lead over the Wildcats (4-20, 3-12). Linfield closed to within 25-19 but that was as close at it would get.
Valle had 14 points in the first half and 16 in the second as he surpassed his previous career high of 23.
Dustin McConnell, a junior guard, was the only other Whitworth player in double figures with 11 points and led the team with nine rebounds.
The Pirates conclude the regular season tonight in Salem against Willamette.
The Northwest Conference tournament begins Thursday at Whitworth.