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Ward leads ESC scorers in hard-fought 79-68 win over College of Idaho

Michael Ward on his way to a 18 point game
Mike Ward

February 15, 2008

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Evergreen (18-5, 13-4 CCC) was able to overcome a first half deficit to defeat The College of Idaho (12-15, 9-8 CCC) 79-68 tonight in Olympia.

The Geoduck coaching staff had to re-adjust their game play after C of I poured ahead by as much as 13 points in the first period.

"They (C of I) were playing really tough". Said coach Jeff Drinkwine following the game. "We were forced to adjust our game".

The Yotes would take their time on the court setting up plays, allowing them to rack up some points early. As the shot clock would tick down their strategy of getting under the basket with fast-breaking layups worked well.

With a few minutes left in the first period Evergreen was adapting to the Yotes style of play and started to close the point margin. A three point shot by Michael Ward at three minutes left in the period brought ESC within three points. The teams went into the locker with a score of 43-38, advantage Yotes.

Nathan Menefee, who was double teamed all night, tied up the game four minutes into the 2nd half with a three point shot. The Geoducks began to the possibility of winning less possible for the Yotes, who appeared to be tiring out.

From then on it was all Evergreen as the team maintained a 10 point average lead the rest of the game.

College of Idaho's big man, J. R. Maggard, scored a game leading 22 points for the Yotes, adding 7 rebounds. Teammate Josh Owen added 18 points and 3 assists. Bryan Champ added 11 points and was a hard fighter defensively, stripping the ball three times from Evergreen players.

For Evergreen (Ranked #23 NAIA Div II), Ward (Jr. Kansas City, MO) led the Geoducks with 18 points, 6 rebounds and 2 steals. Menefee (So, Timberline HS) managed 17 points. Menefee was this weeks NAIA Div II Player of the Week. David Howard (Sr. Dallas, TX) had one of his best games of the season with 10 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists. Nick Moore (Jr. Bethel HS) added 14 points.

"Howard, Ward and Thomas Cook really stepped up tonight" complimented Drinkwine. Cook, while only playing 7 minutes, managed 4 points, 2 assists, a block and played a strong defensive game.

It was a special night for Evergreen senior players Cook, Howard and Marcus Whittaker. Both Howard and Whittaker, who have not been to their home states or have seen many family members in a long time, were treated with surprise visit by their parents. More than a couple of tears were shed in the Greenhouse as the three seniors were honored pre-game. Tomorrow's game versus EOU will be their last regular seasson home game for the Geoducks.

Evergreen plays #2 Cascade Conference Eastern Oregon U (21-4, 14-3 CCC / #11 NAIA Div II) tomorrow night in Olympia at 7:30 PM.

Box Score