Mar 1, 2012

Whatcom men No. 1 heading into tournament

NWAACC Men's Basketball

The post season is always an interesting time for college basketball. It's always said that a win or a loss can come on any day, and that's exactly what we normally see at the upcoming NWAACC tournament. Only one game has two ranked teams in the first round is Clackamas vs. Peninsula, but that doesn't mean that there isn't always a chance of an upset. Whatcom, Clark, Spokane and Tacoma should easily blow past their first round opponents, but it remains to be seen what the rest of the field will do. Coaches rankings are in italics under each team's record.

I will be in attendance, covering the tournament for the NWAACC. Game recaps will be available on

1. Whatcom (23-3, 15-1 North)
#1 Coaches, 1st seed in the North
Previous Ranking: No. 1, No. 1 Coaches 

The single loss to Seattle on January 28th (box) aside, Whatcom hasn't lost for over two months. The last trip up before that was December 16th when the Orcas lost to Spokane in the preseason. Whatcom may be the best offensive team in the league, despite them trailing Shoreline and Chemeketa in scoring. Chemeketa had several games in the preseason that were offensively ridiculous and therefore difficult to count, including their 153-149 victory over NW Elite. Shoreline scores a lot, but that's because they purposefully run every possession and play no defense. Whatcom has shown that they have the offense to outscore a team like shoreline, and the defense to stop them. They've also swept Peninsula, the defending champions and early season favorites to have a repeat performance in the tournament.

Whatcom will square off against SW Oregon in the first round at 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 3rd.


2. Clark (25-2, 15-1 West)
#1 Coaches, 1st seed in the West
Previous Ranking: No. 3, No. 2 Coaches

Coming down the final stretch, the only thing that stood between Clark and a Western Region championship was Tacoma, a team that had already beaten them 74-71 (box) on February 6th. That down to the wire game was one of the big highlights of the league this season, featuring two teams that were highly ranked and playing their best basketball of the season. Less than a month later, Clark and Tacoma matched up again, this time ranked No. 2 and No. 3 respectively (coaches). This time, Clark was victorious 81-78 (box), putting them in the driver's seat for the number one seed from the West. Such a quality win on their resume is exactly what opposing teams fear: Clark has big game experience, and will be difficult to knock off in the upcoming tournament.

Clark will face Yakima Valley in the first round at 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 3rd.


3. Spokane (23-4, 12-2 East)
#3 Coaches, 1st seed in the East
Previous Ranking: No. 4, No. 4 Coaches

Spokane took a knock when they started off the season by losing their first region game by 16 points. Then they went on to win their next eight games and 12 of their next 13 games. The last stretch includes three games in four nights to make up for a game they missed, beating Yakima Vally, Treasure Valley, and Blue Mountain all in short order. And instead of slowing down as the games piled up, Spokane picked up the pace. Their first win was by one point, their second by 22 and their third (and the second night of a back to back) was by 33. It's safe to say that Spokane is walking into the tournament on a high note.

Spokane will play S. Puget Sound in the first round at 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 3rd.


4. Tacoma (22-5, 14-2 West)
#4 Coaches, 2nd seed in the West
Previous Ranking: No. 2, No. 3 Coaches

The biggest story out of Tacoma has been the play of guard Mark McLaughlin, who led the nation's two-year college level in scoring this season. McLaughlin paced the NWAACC with 28.41 points per game and also led his team in assists. Behind McLaughlin's prolific scoring ability, Tacoma has been one of the high flying teams in the league this season, going on winning streaks of six and seven games. Their biggest dark spot was the unexpected loss to Lower Columbia (box), their only loss that Tacoma will have trouble answering for. Tacoma is sixth in scoring in the league, and is third in blocks.

Tacoma will take on Walla Walla in the first round at 8 a.m. on Saturday, March 3rd.


5. Peninsula (23-4, 13-3 North)
#5 Coaches, 2nd seed in the North
Previous Ranking: No. 6, No. 5 Coaches

Peninsula, like Tacoma is led by one of the best scorers in the league, J.T. Terrell. In his case, however, Terrell has a lot more support and doesn't have to do as much work in carrying the offense. Terrell's 25 points per game are backed up by 15 from DeShaun Freeman, who is also one of the NWAACCs better rebounders. Peninsula, as good as they are on paper, has failed to impress in some of the biggest games they've played this season, being swept by Whatcom and losing one of two to Bellevue. However, they'll be a tough match up for anyone they play.

Peninsula will face No. 7 Clackamas in the first round at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 3rd.


6. Big Bend (21-4, 11-3 East)
#7 Coaches, 3rd seed in the East
Previous Ranking: No. 5, No. 3 Coaches

Big Bend has done just about everything expected of them. They split the match ups with Spokane, beating Spokane 101-84 (box) to open region play, and lost 89-86 (box) on February 1st. That loss might not have looked so bad had it not come on the heels of a loss to Walla Walla, that being the only time this season that the Vikings have lost back to back games. The other loss came to Yakima Valley by 18 on January 11th (box).

Big Bend will square off against Lower Columbia in the first round at 10 p.m. on Saturday, March 3rd.


7. Clackamas (16-10, 10-4 South)
# 9 Coaches, 3rd seed in the South
Previous Ranking: No. 8, UR Coaches

Clackamas has been as hot as any team in the league, and even though they finished third in the South, they've made a mad dash to jump up in the standings, finishing just barely behind the leaders. Clackamas won 10 of the final twelve games, and the two losses were by a combined three points: by two points to Mt. Hood (1st in South) on January 18th, and by one to Chemeketa (2nd in South) on February 8th on a score keeping error that awarded Chemeketa an extra two points in the contest, nudging them past Clackamas. Despite lacking in size compared to some of the other teams in their region, Clackamas is leading the South in blocks and is barely behind Mt. Hood in rebounding. Clackamas is a definite candidate to get a first round upset, given their play as of late.

Clackamas will play No. 5 Peninsula in the first round at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 3rd.


8. Mt. Hood (21-7, 12-2 South)
#6 Coaches, 1st seed in the South
Previous Ranking: UR, No. 7 Coaches

Mt. Hood is a good team with a few questionable blemishes. The first of those can be explained, an 89-77loss to Chemeketa (box) on the road to a team that finished just barely behind them for the Southern Region championship. The second loss is harder to pin down. They were at home, and got blown out 67-46 (story) (box) by Clackamas. Mt. Hood is third in the NWAACC in assists, and is led by the MVP of the Southern Region, Spencer Clayton, who is one of a handful of players in the league to be averaging a double double.

Mt. Hood will take on Shoreline in the first round at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 3rd.


Teams moving up: Clark, Spokane, Peninsula, Clackamas
Teams added: Bellevue
Teams moving down: Tacoma, Big Bend 
Teams dropped: Shoreline


  1. Your bias opinion toward clackamas is painfully obvious lol. The south is down this year, Mt Hood is the only team deserving of a ranking.

  2. Clackamas rocked Mt. Hood at home anon.

  3. What does that mean? They played one solid game. Mt hood did the same thing to them last year but that didnt make them better overall...

  4. Tell that to Whatcom. Whatcom lost to SW Oregon, the No. 4 team from the south.

  5. did you really say the south is down? SW Oregon just smacked the No.1 Whatcom, and three southern region teams won in the first round. The NWAACC is weak all around this year anyways

  6. THE SOUTH IS DOWN! And i agree that the whole NWAACC is down too. Anybody can beat anybody in one game, look at the whole body of work!

  7. I think it's less that the south is down and more that the north is really, really good. Chemeketa doesn't stand a chance against Peninsula. Interesting that there are no No. 1 seeds left in contention.

  8. Chemeketa 98 Penisula 91

    Fuck you.

  9. You want some ketchup to go with that crow you are eating?

  10. I stand corrected, but I don't think anybody saw that 22-0 run coming. Anybody. I did, however, see the blowout by Tacoma coming.

  11. Watched a lot of the games in the NWAACC Tourney. Observations: Clark's ability to handle guard pressure killed them. They didn't handle Yakima or Bellevue defensive pressure above the key.

    Tacoma was a much better defensive team than given credit for... or maybe their scoring was all that was advertised.

    Chemeketa - scoring and defending better than they looked. Something to be said for peaking at the right time I guess. Taking out Bellevue, Peninsula, and Yakima... not a bad run.

    Whatcom - What? Compounding collapse after the first loss. They and Clark were reeling after the high expectations, but Whatcom had always seemed a better team than their athletes - said differently, they were well coached, but didn't have the horses we all thought.

    Shoreline and Bellevue - One ragged 7th and 8th place game. They both looked spent. Shoreline games are turnover riddled anyway, but this one was even worse than normal. So Peninsula 6th, Shoreline 7th, Bellevue 8th and Whatcom 12-16th... Maybe the North was over rated!

  12. Ahh yes and Clackamas, thumped by Bellevue for the 3rd straight time this season... I think your head was Clackamated in their ranking.

  13. I think that the north simply didn't come to play, especially Whatcom. Shoreline I didn't expect to do all that well because of their new offensive scheme, they'll do much better next year.

    Peninsula got caught up playing one on one basketball and got beaten by a Chemeketa team playing way above their talent level, but playing as one team. After the loss they just couldn't hold it together. J.T. Terrell checked out, he's headed to USC.

    And as far as Clackamas, they grossly under performed, given their talent level. They had issues at the point guard coming in to the season, and their 10-2 stretch to finish the season convinced me that they had those issues fixed. That run included a 20 point win over Mt. Hood and a 1 point loss to Chemeketa even though they out scored ChCC. Also remember that Clackamas beat Tacoma at one point.

  14. ^^^^^ you dont know shit about basketball LOL! You just be writing shit cause its your job...snap out of it dude!

  15. I'm not getting paid, sir. And apparently the coaches in the NWAACC disagree with you. They voted to have these same power rankings added to the website, and the executive director was the one that wanted me at the tournament to write the recaps. I'll take the opinion of Carl Howell, R-Jay Barsh, Lance Von Vogt, Marco Azurdia, Clif Wegner and Trevor Hoppe. I think they outweigh you, no offense.

  16. I know I can not wait for next season's rankings.