Gators’ historic run ends with Clark loss
After sealing a spot in the Northwest Athletic Conference Championship tournament with a victory over Lower Columbia, the Gators had a full plate with fourth-ranked Big Bend in the first round. Stout defense along with great offense from point guard Glenn Brooks led the Gators to a huge upset victory over Big Bend, 69-67.
Brooks nearly finished with a double-double but finished with a game-high 25 points and nine assists. Damon Cikanek also added 15 points to the total and the Gators advanced to round two with another tough task of eighth-ranked Lane Community College.
After trailing by 4 at halftime, the Gators turned it up in the second half, which has been a theme of their season. They took the lead from Lane early in the second half and never looked back, leading them to a 64-55 victory. Brooks was stellar again, scoring 16 points and with 7 assists. Trevante Williams and Cikanek added 14 points each.
Next up for the Gators in the semifinals was division foe and third-ranked Clark College. The two teams split the regular season series with each team winning at home. Both teams struggled mightily in the first half and spent a large part of the first 20 minutes swapping the lead.
With a 27-21 lead at halftime, Clark came out stronger than the Gators in the second half and pulled away to a 20-point lead. The Gators failed to score for a stretch of five minutes in the second half and it was too tall a task for the Gators, as their title hopes ended with a 55-41 loss to the Clark Penguins.
The season is not over for the Gators, though, as they will take on Peninsula College at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, in the third/fourth-place game, which will be the second-best finish in school history since the beginning of the NWAC in 1970.