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Evergreen Drops Season Finale to Thunderbirds

February 22, 2003

by Devin Jones

OLYMPIA, WA -- Senior night.last home game of the regular season.no better way to end the season then with a win.

Unfortunately that wasn't the case on Saturday evening as Geoducks (7-11 conference, 13-29 overall) dropped their season finale to the Cascade Thunderbirds (13-5 conference, 24-7 overall), 79-65.

The pre-game presentation for the seniors set the tone for the night and you could feel the excitement in the air when you walked into the gym. The players, coaches, and fans were all ready for a great game.

The first half was all that everyone had expected as the two teams battled. The Geoducks and Thunderbirds both played relentless defense on one end of the court, and exchanged baskets on the other.

By halftime the Thunderbirds held a mere four-point lead over Evergreen, 40-36.

The second half was a different story as Cascade changed their game plan and switched their defensive philosophy to zone pressure, the same defense that gave the Geoducks problems the night before.

The zone defense caused problems for Evergreen throughout the entire second half. The Thunderbirds outscored the Geoducks 39-29 en-route to a 14-point victory and held the Geoducks to just 43% (24-55) shooting for the game, including 34% (8-23) from the three-point line.

The real difference in the game was on the glass. The Thunderbirds outrebounded the Geoducks 47-17. Cascade tore down more offensive boards (20) on the night, than Evergreen had total boards.

The poor rebounding was the worst performance by Evergreen for the entire season.

Clifford White led Cascade with 30 points on 13-20 shooting. White also grabbed 11 rebounds, giving him a double-double for the game.

Tevis Jones chipped in 16 points (7-12) and grabbed eight boards and had a team high four steals.

Matt Evers and Demyeon Bethel also scored in double figures for the Thunderbirds. Evers had 11 points (5-8) and seven rebounds, while Bethel added 10 points (4-8) in the win.

Evergreen was led by senior Mike Parker (Washington DC / Clover Park HS) who, in his final home game, had a team high 21 points on 9-16 shooting, and also had a team high seven rebounds. Parker also had two assists, two blocks and three steals.

In his final home game as a Geoduck, Devin Jones (Ogden, Utah / Bonneville HS) scored six points for Evergreen, while grabbing six boards, dishing out five assists, and nabbing two steals. Parker and Jones combined for 13 of the Geoducks 17 rebounds on the night.

Ben Riippi (Puyallup, Wash. / Puyallup HS) knocked down 16 points on 6-8 shooting, including 4-6 from three-point land in just 13 minutes of play.

Adam Laneer (Tumwater, Wash. / Tumwater HS) added 10 points for the Geoducks on 3-5 shooting and also had four assists in the losing effort.

Following the game, the news came in that the victory gave Cascade College the Conference Championship. The Thunderbirds were in a three way tie with Oregon Tech and Concordia University, but held the tie-breaker with each team.

The loss drops the Geoducks to the seventh seed in the Cascade Conference standings. The seventh seed allows Evergreen to travel to Portland, Oregon to face Concordia University (who ended up with the number two spot in the standings) in the first round of the conference playoffs. Game time will be at 7:30 p.m.