As much success as North Idaho College has had since moving to the Northwest Athletic Conference two years ago, Community Colleges of Spokane is often a pest for the talent-heavy Cardinals.
Washington commit Nate Pryor saw to it that CCS was kept in check Wednesday in NIC’s 99-65 rout of the Sasquatch at Walter S. Johnson Sports Center at Spokane Falls CC.
Pryor scored 14 of his game-high 31 points in the second half, helping the defending NWAC champion-Cardinals (18-2, 7-0 East Region) flip the switch in the last 14 minutes of regulation.
Former Lewis and Clark standout Dedrick Pakootas hit a jumper to cut the Cardinals’ lead to 55-50 at the 13-minute, 44-second mark, but NIC went on a 19-5 run to put CCS (15-6, 6-2) in a hole that would only get deeper.
“You could say we’re a second-half team,” said Pryor, one of three NIC players to have committed or signed with a NCAA Division I program. “The first half we always have a struggle, and coach always says the first five minutes is important. But we stuck together tonight and pulled away.”
NIC head coach Corey Symons couldn’t remember the last time the Cardinals defeated CCS by this wide of a margin, especially on the Sasquatch’s home floor.
“It’s always a battle with Spokane, and it was a battle for a while tonight, but we just hit a spot where we broke it open,” Symons said. “With Nate playing the way he did, he’s kind of a killer.
“We knew it was going to be tough tonight. We didn’t think it would be (a blowout) like this.”
NIC and CCS split the last two seasons, each team winning on its home court, but this year the Cardinals have beaten every NWAC team by sizable margins.
The Cardinals’ only two losses this year were to programs from the scholarship-heavy NJCAA, NIC’s former affiliation until 2016.
CCS coach Jeremy Groth, who led the Sasquatch to a NWAC title in 2016, pointed to his team’s icy second-half shooting and NIC’s talent.
“We executed our game plan well in the first half,” said Groth, whose team team trailed 39-37 at halftime. “Then in the second half, they were able to get in transition, and they’re at a different level athletically and tough to stop.”
NIC outrebounded CCS 44-26 and outscored the Sasquatch 40-20 in the paint. RayQuan Evans had 21 points and 12 rebounds for NIC, which had four players score in double figures.
“We’re such a deep team, we just don’t need me,” said Pryor, a former West Seattle High star. “We have the pieces as a team, and that’s special thing about it.”
North Idaho 60, CC Spokane 48: Alivia Williams scored 17 points and Keara Simpson added 14 points and 13 rebounds to power the Cardinals (15-4, 5-2) to a victory over the Sasquatch (15-5, 4-4) in NWAC play at Spokane Falls CC.
Katelyn Ostrowski led CCS with 16 points, while Alexia Novelli and Koyama Young scored 11 and 10, respectively.
NIC won despite making just 2 of 19 from 3-point range. Williams and Simpson combined to miss all nine of their 3-point tries.
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