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Corden Drift

Corden Drift has 19 articles published.

Student athletes, athletic director, coaches raising funds through eTeamSponsor

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  • Basketball-Alumni-Game-Dinner-slider.jpg?fit=1000%2C1000
    The student athletes, their coaches and the athletic director have raised over $12,000 through eTeamSponsor pages.

   UCC’s athletic programs are engaged in multiple fundraising activities to help support team expenses. The wrestling department is running a donation campaign through eTeamSponsor.

   At this point, the UCC men’s wrestling eTeamSponsor pages have raised $5,112 and say that donations “will contribute towards expenses required for travel, team gear, wrestling room and competition equipment.”

   UCC men’s basketball eTeamSponsor pages have raised $5,180 in total.

   UCC women’s basketball eTeamSponsor pages have raised $12,300.

   Combined, all three sports have raised $22,592 at time of printing with Athletic Director Craig Jackson raising $11,381 of that total to date.

   Donations can be given by phone at (800) 986-6128 or by visiting the team’s eTeamSponsor pages. For more information to donate contact Athletic Director Craig Jackson at 541-440-7729

   The men’s basketball team will also be celebrating 50th season with an alumni game and dinner Saturday, Nov. 11 at 3 p.m. The game is open to the public and free. The dinner afterwards is exclusive for alumni members and their families.

RiverHawks men’s wrestling team opens season victorious

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  • WRESTLING-Laiblin_Thomas_SummersRGB-slider.jpg?fit=1000%2C1000
    UCC wrestlers Grant Laiblin (left) and Ian Thomas (right) practice wrestling stances for speed on Oct. 30.
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    Coach Kyle Temple demonstrates break down techniques on Grant Laiblin before a SWOCC meet.
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    Coach Kyle Temple and Grant Laiblin face off in the neutral position before engaging.

    The Umpqua Community College men’s wrestling team won their first dual meet at Lassen Community College in the Lassen Invitational Wrestling Tournament in Susanville, California, where they traveled for their season opener.

   The RiverHawks were missing wrestlers in their first three weight classes 125, 133, and 141 respectively, including multi-sport athlete Grant Laiblin, who could not participate because he was competing in the cross country NWAC Southern Region Championships.

   The RiverHawk men started the 2017-18 season in Susanville wrestling against Eastern Oregon University. Unlike other sports at UCC belonging to the Northwest Athletic Conference, UCC’s wrestling programs participate in the National Junior College Athletic Association.

   After forfeiting three weight classes, the RiverHawks were forced to spot all opponents 18 points. Those additional points given to the opponent were difficult to overcome. However, despite the disadvantage, UCC still came home with several decisions.

   Wrestling at 149 pounds, freshman Kobe Olson was the first RiverHawk in nearly 40 years to raise his hand in victory. Olson defeated Eastern Oregon’s Kaleb Ballard by a major decision with a score of 9-0.

   RiverHawks Ian Thomas and Levi Summers also came home with decisions. Thomas at 165 pounds won 6-1, and Summers at 184 pounds won 8-4. The final team scores totaled 42-10 in favor of Eastern Oregon.

   “Every one of the guys that went was in their first college match,” coach Kyle Temple said. “I was pleased with our performances.”

   The RiverHawks then received their first dual meet victory in a matchup against Lassen Community College 27-12. Lassen had a similar situation to Umpqua’s with wrestlers out due to injuries and ineligibility.

   Lastly, the RiverHawk men wrestled against Simpson University. Simpson also had forfeits in the same weight classes as UCC. The RiverHawks defeated Simpson 27-6. Christian Perez weighing at 174 pounds and 197 pound Josh Hammers both raised their hand and earned their first victories of the season.

   “Douglas County has been a historically rich wrestling county,” Temple said. “We’re trying to use that success of Douglas County to draw kids to come enroll to Umpqua, and I think we’re in the prime location to really build something special in RiverHawk wrestling.”

Sports Year in Review

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    The UCC men's basketball team celebrates their victory over S. Pugent Sound on March 10, 2017 to move on to the Final Four in the NWAC Tournament. Photos provided by UCC Athletic Department

What a year it’s been for sports at Umpqua Community College. UCC hired new Athletic Director Craig Jackson in July 2016 and UCC Athletics is about to become more diverse and exciting than ever. Since Jackson’s hiring, UCC has added three new sports programs: cross country, obstacle course racing, and wrestling.

“The addition of our new sports is exciting because it provides opportunities for many Douglas County residents to stay at home and go to college while also participating in athletics” Jackson said. “Recruiting is going well and next year should be very exciting.”

If the addition of more sports programs wasn’t exciting enough, UCC’s previously established volleyball and basketball programs will surely grab the region’s attention after this past year’s accomplishments.

The UCC women’s volleyball team finished with a 28-23 overall record, earning the fourth seed in the Southern Region and a trip to the NWAC Volleyball Championship Tournament in November 2016. The RiverHawks had the odds stacked against them as their first game in the tournament was a match up against first ranked Bellevue in the Northern Region. UCC came away with the upset, winning three sets to two, and moved on to play Lower Columbia in the next round. The RiverHawks were defeated by the eventual NWAC Champion Lower Columbia Red Devils, losing three sets to zero.

The RiverHawks had four players receive Fall Academic Excellence Awards. To qualify for the award, players must be a sophomore in eligibility, have a minimum of 36 credits earned, a 3.25 cumulative GPA or higher, and must be recommended by the college. Players honored with the award were Cheyenne Chambers, Kaylee Hagadorn, Kortney Moore, and Viviana Rodriguez.

UCC also had two players win regional awards. Libero Kaysie Cornelio was named to the Southern Region First Team, and outside hitter Viviana Rodriguez was named to the Southern Region Second Team.

UCC basketball also had a stellar season. The men’s team finished with a 20-10 overall record and a 10-6 record within the Southern Region which was enough for UCC to claim a partial share of Southern Region championship and to punch their ticket in to the NWAC Tournament in March.

UCC made it all the way to the Final Four after defeating the Bellevue Bulldogs and the South Puget Sound Clippers but eventually fell to the Tacoma Titans 79-74.

UCC men’s basketball had two players named to the NWAC All-Tournament Second Team, freshman guards Grant Ellison and Ethan Betts.

Additionally, the RiverHawks had three players win regional awards. Ellison was named Southern Region Most Valuable Player after averaging nearly 20 ppg on 51 percent shooting. Ellison was also awarded Southern Region Freshman of the Year. Sophomore forward Jacob Danhoff was named to the Southern Region All-Defensive Team and was also named to the Southern Region Second Team. UCC’s sophomore center Jouvon Edison was named Defensive Player of the Year.

Furthermore, UCC women’s basketball had a season to remember. The RiverHawks earned a perfect 16-0 regional record for the first time under head coach Dave Stricklin’s tenure and finished with an overall record of 27-2.

The RiverHawks went in to the NWAC Tournament with a head of steam, coming in to the tournament on a 16-game win streak. UCC went on to defeat Treasure Valley and Peninsula to move on to the Final Four. The RiverHawks were then defeated by Spokane 63-58.

UCC had three players named to NWAC All-Tournament teams. Freshman forward Jordan Stotler was named to the NWAC All-Tournament First Team. Freshman forwards Daisy Powell and Bria Thames were named to the NWAC All-Tournament Second Team.

The RiverHawks had five members of the team win regional awards as well. Head coach Dave Stricklin was named Southern Region Coach of the Year. Stotler was named Southern Region Most Valuable Player, Freshman of the Year, and Defensive Player of the Year. Stotler also broke the record for blocks in a single season with 123. She averaged 4.39 blocks per game this past season and is only 67 blocks away from eclipsing the NWAC All-Time Record of 189 set by Rylee Peterson in 2009.

Powell and Thames were named to the Southern Region First Team and sophomore guard Tasia Bilbrew was named to the Southern Region Second Team.

“We are extremely pleased with this past school year and the accomplishments of our athletic programs” Jackson said. “For the first time in school history, all three of our teams qualified for the NWAC Championship Tournament” Jackson continued. “In addition, all of the teams won games at the tournament, with both basketball teams reaching the Final Four.”

It’s truly an exciting time to be a part of UCC Athletics. Established programs are performing. New sports programs are on the horizon. So many great things have happened in just one year with even greater things to come.

“As a whole, the athletics are very well put together” UCC women’s basketball guard Alyssa Grenfell said. “The athletic director really knows what he’s doing, and he’s making the athletics bigger by adding more sports” Grenfell continued. “I think with more athletes on campus it’s going to be exciting to see people from around the region coming and making UCC more diverse.”

women's basketball
The UCC Women’s basketball team celebrate their victory over Peninsula and move on to the Final Four.
Photos provided by UCC Athletic Department

OCR: What is it?

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    Andrea Bowden, OCR coach, does pushups on the track. Corden Drift / The Mainstream

UCC will soon boast the first obstacle course racing team in U.S. community college history, a sport that can be viewed as one of the most challenging and difficult.

Obstacle course racing is comparable to military training. Practice doesn’t necessarily mean working on specific skills like shooting or ball handling in other sports, but instead, athletes train the entire body to prepare for any obstacle. Those include climbing cargo nets, crawling under barbed wire, crawling through PVC pipes, running a quarter mile while carrying a cinder block and more. The most common analogy to OCR is American Ninja Warrior.

Although OCR is a taxing and exhausting sport, it’s also seen as one of the most rewarding, self-motivating and mental-strengthening sports.

“No other sport will make you stronger mentally and physically than OCR,” coach Andrea Bowden explained. “OCR builds you as an athlete like no other sport, and at the same time builds us as partners in a race like no other sport.”

Coach Bowden has been a fitness trainer for more than 30 years and previously ran a successful small group training gym in Bandon. She is new to coaching OCR but has participated in 10 different obstacle course races and finished in first place in at least five of those races. She is Spartan Small Group Exercise and Spartan Obstacle Specialist certified. Spartan is the only recognized certification to specifically train OCR.

“I think the hardest thing about OCR is the mental game of telling yourself to keep going when your body wants to quit,” obstacle course team member William Turner said. “There’s always going to be winners and losers, but the real battle is inside your head, and that’s why I find OCR rewarding,” Turner continued. “It’s me versus my perceived limits.”

For now, UCC’s OCR team is participating in light training and getting to know one another before competitive training begins in August. UCC plans to host an OCR event this fall, and the team will also compete in the “Race the Inferno” event September 23 in Salem, Oregon.

The Riverhawks are also scheduled for the Physical Training Championship in Chemeketa this October, but the PTC is not as much of an obstacle course race as a friendly competition to see where UCC stands against other community colleges.

UCC also plans to compete in two obstacle course races in spring 2018.

Right now, the RiverHawks have four people on the unofficial roster, and UCC is looking for males or females interested in joining the team.

“OCR has given me confidence in ways beyond my dreams,” Bowden said. “OCR took an insecure, depressed, skin-and-bones woman and made her into a conqueror,” Bowden continued. “It has changed my life, and I want everyone else to experience the same amazing life transformation I did.”

The reality of being a student athlete

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  • Ethan.jpg?fit=500%2C500
    Provided by UCC Athletic Department

Life must be easy being a college athlete. Student athletes have all the friends, they receive all the glory and attention from playing a great game and some might have better relationships with professors because they’re athletes. They go to school for free because of their scholarships — at least that’s the stereotype.

And, the stereotype is that student athletes get away with whatever they want. They don’t have to dedicate themselves to anything except their individual sport; they avoid all the responsibility.

Contrary to this ridiculous stereotype, the truth is that it takes an incredibly dedicated and motivated person to be a college athlete. A lot of people don’t realize that student athletes are essentially maintaining a job while going to school.

Here at UCC, athletes train between three to six hours every day in addition to being a student. Having a job while still attending school is something regular students can relate to.

If you are a college basketball player, chances are you’ll be starting your day early because your coach told you to lift weights at 6 a.m., which really means you’ll be waking up at 5 a.m. After weight lifting, you’ll be attending class. Don’t think about skipping. If you skip, you just made the entire team run extra at practice.

After attending all your classes, there might be a little time to grab something to eat quickly or take a nap before practice. Then you exhaust yourself at practice both mentally and physically. Alas, the day is still not yet complete. It’s time for a shower, a bite to eat, and then all the homework that comes with being a college student. Hopefully after all of this is finally completed, there’s enough time to get a few hours of sleep before you do the same thing all over again tomorrow.

This is a normal day in the life of a student athlete. This example didn’t even include game day or traveling for road games.

Student athletes don’t live an easier life than anybody else. They work for what they earn.

“Being a student athlete is hard, but it’s not impossible,” UCC women’s basketball guard Tasia Bilbrew said. “The most important thing about being a student athlete is time management,” Bilbrew continued. “Your sport is your job, and you have to do what you have to do to get your job done efficiently,” Bilbrew stated. “The most important thing though is being a student before an athlete. School always comes first.”

For some people, sports come naturally. Unfortunately, not everyone can be LeBron James, so most college athletes work incredibly hard to get to the level they’re at. A lot of athletes don’t even get a full scholarship to go to school. Financial aid is not always guaranteed, which leads to student loans or paying for school themselves.

“Yes, athletes get scholarships, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have expenses outside of school,” Bilbrew explained. “I couldn’t even imagine the struggles athletes go through who don’t get scholarships,” Bilbrew said. “They have to pay out of pocket or use loans or financial aid to pay for schooling and, even then, sometimes that’s not enough.”

What’s even more impressive are the athletes who maintain this lifestyle and still excel in the classroom. “The key to success is the ability to manage your time and to stay on top of all of your responsibilities and requirements,” UCC Athletic Director Craig Jackson said. “One thing that I would like people to know is that on average, student athletes are very diligent students and their GPA is generally higher than the rest of the student body.”

UCC men’s basketball guard Ethan Betts commented on the experiences that come with being a student athlete: “It was hard to get used to at first. It’s definitely difficult managing time between basketball and school.” Betts elaborated further saying, “I can’t say that I’m going to do three hours of studying before bed if I’m not really going to do that. I had to be realistic with myself. I had to come up with a schedule that I knew I could hold myself accountable for.”

Through strenuous dedication, both Betts and Bilbrew helped lead their respective teams into the Final Four in the Northwest Athletic Conference championship tournament this past March.

Student athletes choose to lead a difficult life. Multiple reasons can be given as to why it’s so difficult to reach the highest level in sports, but it’s not impossible.

Students interested in participating in RiverHawk sports can go to uccriverhawks.com to find scoreboards, schedules, player profiles, RiverHawk films of games and social media posts from the UCC sports department.

“Being a student athlete is hard, but it’s not impossible,” —Tasia Bilbrew,

UCC women’s basketball guard

Despite loss to Chemeketa, Riverhawks tournament bound

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men basketball

The UCC men’s basketball team lost a closely contested game against the Chemeketa Storm 81-78 Wednesday, March 1 in Roseburg, Oregon. Although the Riverhawks couldn’t get the win against the Storm, UCC finished the season well enough to earn a share of the Southern Region Championship and an opportunity to play against the Bellevue Bulldogs in the NWAC Tournament in Washington.

“I told the guys in the locker room that I’m very proud of this team and their effort,” head coach Daniel Leeworthy said. “I think we’ve got a team that’s built for a big run in the playoffs,” Leeworthy continued. “I told the guys it’s 0-0 no matter where we’re seeded, we’re all battle tested, and we’re looking forward to the playoffs.”

The matchup between the Riverhawks and the Bulldogs should be interesting to watch. Defense should tell the tale of this game. Bellevue’s defense comes into the tournament only allowing 73.1 points per game. While UCC’s defense allows 78.5 points per game, the Riverhawks will have Defensive Player of the Year Jouvon Edison on their side. Edison averages 1.93 blocks per game, ranking second in the NWAC. Bellevue will have a tough time scoring, as the Bulldogs come into the game only scoring 74.76 points per game.

Bellevue has two players averaging more than double digits in scoring. The Bulldogs sophomore point guard Jordan Muir-Keung is the team’s leading scorer at 16.52 point per game. Coming in just behind Muir-Keung is sophomore guard Taylor Freeman, scoring at the rate of 16.21 points per game on 43 percent shooting.

UCC’s offense will be led by Southern Region Most Valuable Player Grant Ellison. The freshman guard averages 20.17 points per game on 51 percent shooting. Ellison also shoots 44 percent from the 3-pt line. The Riverhawks second leading scorer is sophomore Jacob Danhoff. Danhoff scores 14.74 points per game and grabs 9.78 rebounds per game. Danhoff was also named to the second All-Southern Region team.

“Hopefully we can achieve what we set out to achieve at the start of the season,” UCC guard Ethan Betts said. “We know we have to be clicking on all cylinders from here on out,” Betts said. “We need to give 110 percent effort, and make sure we’re ready because it could be our last game.”

The Riverhawks will meet up against the Bulldogs on Thursday, March 9 at 12 p.m. at the Walt Price Student Fitness Center in Everett, WA for a chance to move onto the Elite Eight to play either the South Pugent Sound Clippers or the Big Bend Vikings on Friday, March 10 at 4 p.m.

UCC women’s basketball earn perfect regional record, focused on NWAC Tournament

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daisy pop up

The Umpqua Community College Riverhawks weathered the storm Wednesday, March 1 in Roseburg, by defeating the Chemeketa Storm 84-45. With the victory, UCC finished their season with a 27-2 record overall and claimed a perfect 16-0 regional record for the first time under head coach Dave Stricklin. UCC will now gear their attention towards Treasure Valley, as the Riverhawks will play against the Chukars in their first matchup in the Northwest Athletic Conference Tournament.

 

“The women have experienced a special season up to this point,” UCC Athletic Director Craig Jackson said. “To finish Southern Region play with a perfect record for the first time during coach Stricklin’s tenure was a great way to cap an outstanding season in front of the season’s largest crowd.”

 

UCC’s success can be attributed to coach Stricklin’s leadership. Few things are left out when discussing Stricklin’s list of accomplishments. Stricklin has an overall win-loss record of 764-168, 19 different Coach of the Year Awards, 15 Final Four appearances, two NWAC Championships, and was inducted into the California Community College Coaches Hall of Fame in 2008.

 

“[The women] have carried on the tradition of excellence that coach Stricklin has established over his time as the head coach,” Jackson said. “It is a run of success that is not found in very many places.”

 

The Riverhawks will now look forward to playing the Treasure Valley Chukars in the Sweet Sixteen of the NWAC Tournament. The Chukars finished their season 17-11 overall with an 8-8 Eastern Regional record. Treasure Valley has two players averaging over 14 points. Sophomore forward Gentry Oldham averages 14.44 points per game on 51 percent shooting, while sophomore guard Chelsee Baker averages 14.21 points per game on 40 percent shooting.

 

Playoff basketball is an entirely different mindset than that of the mindset in the regular season. During tournament play, it’s win or go home. Treasure Valley will be seen as an underdog, especially when consideration is taken for UCC’s undefeated regional record and their No. 1 ranked offense in the NWAC. Because UCC has established themselves as one of the best teams in the NWAC, the Riverhawks will have a target on their backs and will need to take every opponent seriously.

 

“You can expect some big games, along with focus and determination from all of us,” UCC sophomore guard Tasia Bilbrew said who played in her final home game against the Storm. “All of our heads are focused on the game, and we’re ready to win.”

 

UCC will attempt to move on to the Elite Eight on Saturday, March 11 against Treasure Valley at 10 a.m. at the Walt Price Student Fitness Center in Everett, Washington.

The madness is coming soon

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Staff share their March Madness picks

March Madness. This college basketball regular season has had no shortage of surprises. There has been six different number one ranked teams this year. Competition throughout the country has been balanced, and no team can automatically be looked at and indisputably say they’re the best in the country. But this is it. The NCAA Tournament. Where game winning shots and shocking upsets are seen almost daily. This is when the madness truly begins. Players work so hard to have a chance for this moment. When back sides get tired and palms get sweaty, which team is going to gut it out and rightfully claim the title of “best in the country?”

The UCLA Bruins are going to win this tournament. Excluding the first two weeks of the season, UCLA has spent all year ranked higher than No.15 and most of their season ranked in the top five. In a year where no team has asserted utter dominance over everyone else, UCLA has shown just as much consistency as any other team.

UCLA finished their season 28-3 overall and 15-3 within the Pac-12 conference. The Bruins are playing great basketball at the perfect moment, currently riding a nine-game win streak in to the tournament.

My main reasoning for picking the Bruins is because of the resiliency this team has shown. Back in early February, UCLA ran into an Oregon Ducks team that had won 19 of their last 20 match-ups, with one of those wins coming against the Bruins themselves. Oregon jumped out to a 19-point lead in the first half. UCLA kept fighting. UCLA kept passing the ball from good looks at the basket, to great looks. With just over four minutes to go in the game, senior guard Bryce Alford drove to the basket and found sophomore guard Aaron Holiday waiting at the arc. Holiday hit the 3-point shot and UCLA had their first lead of the game. UCLA took the 82-79 victory against the Ducks and the Bruins went on to win their remaining six games.

This team is a collective unit. UCLA has six players averaging above 10 points per game, led by Alford who’s averaging 16.5 points per game on 47 percent shooting and shooting 45 percent from the three-point line. UCLA is first in the country in scoring at 91.3 points per game and they also are the most pass-happy team, ranking first in the country, averaging 21.7 assists per game as a team.

To go along with the collectiveness and comradery of this team, UCLA also has a star in Lonzo Ball. Ball is playing at an insane level for a freshman. He’s averaging nearly 15 points per game on 56 percent shooting. Ball is snatching up 6.2 rebounds per game while also finding teammates by averaging 7.8 assists. Ball is the engine for this team.

In the end, it comes down to the team that makes shots. The team that shows the grit to make the tough layups and contested jump shots on a nightly basis will win this tournament. In my humbled opinion, with Lonzo Ball distributing the basketball to multiple scoring talented teammates and the character this team has shown to win down the stretch, I can’t see the championship trophy being handed to anyone but the Bruins.

UCC men’s basketball falls just short to Clark 80-73

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    Center Jouvon Edison attempts the jump hook Wednesday, Feb. 22 on Pack the Gym night in Roseburg. corden drift/Mainstream

With hundreds of people in the stands, the UCC Riverhawks fell just short in a game that was

UCC guard Ethan Betts attempts to get the Riverhawks back in the game by driving hard to the basket.

competitive for the entirety of the match-up, and the Clark Penguins claimed the 80-73 victory Wednesday, Feb. 23 in Roseburg, Oregon.

The Penguins came into the nest ready to play, forcing the Riverhawks into an early first half deficit. While UCC had difficulty taking care of the basketball and rebounding, the Riverhawks managed to keep it close. UCC worked for every basket they scored, but Clark took the 44-36 advantage into halftime.

“We really just didn’t do the little things like looking after the basketball and rebounding,” UCC guard Ethan Betts said. “Those really were the key factors to us not being successful.”

UCC came out with a little more energy in the second half and remained persistent. The men were down 12 points early in, but then fought back, cutting Clark’s lead to just three points, 53-50, with 13 minutes and 31 seconds remaining in the game. The Riverhawks kept chipping away at Clark’s lead and brought the score to within three several different times.

From this point on, Clark and UCC traded baskets back and forth the rest of the game. The Riverhawks again tightened up the score, 68-65 in Clark’s favor but with only four minutes and 30 seconds remaining, Clark hit a tough 3-point shot and continued to separate themselves just enough to counter UCC’s resiliency.

Just over two minutes later, UCC came within three once more, 71-68 Clark’s advantage. The Riverhawk men were in the penalty and were forced to send Clark to the free throw line for bonus shots. Clark missed the first free throw, but the Penguins grabbed the offensive rebound off the missed shot then UCC was forced to commit another foul to stop the clock. UCC missed a key opportunity to grab the board and get back in the game, and instead sent Clark back to the line, increasing their lead 72-68 after making one of two free throws.

UCC had good looks at the basket in the final minute but failed to make shots down the stretch. The Riverhawks had to keep fouling Clark to conserve time on the clock and hope that the Penguins would miss some free throws to stay in the game. UCC never brought the score back within four points due to Clark’s clutch free throw shooting to close out the game and the Penguins sealed the victory 80-73.

“Turnovers and second-chance opportunities from offensive rebounds were the things that hurt us in the end,” head coach Daniel Leeworthy said.

The Riverhawks were out rebounded 44-35 in the game; 19 of Clark’s 44 rebounds came off the offensive glass which led to the Penguins scoring 17 second-chance points. UCC also committed 18 total turnovers throughout the game.

Although UCC suffered a tough loss against Clark, the Riverhawks took control of their own destiny and UCC earned a share of the Southern Region championship Saturday, Feb. 25 by defeating the Clackamas Cougars 99-96 in Oregon City. UCC Forward Jacob Danhoff led the team to victory by scoring 27 total points and grabbing nine total rebounds.

The Riverhawks will play the Chemeketa Storm on Wednesday, March 1 at home for a chance to claim the Southern Region championship all for themselves. UCC has already punched their ticket into the Northwest Athletic Conference Tournament and tournament play will begin Thursday, March 9 at the Walt Price Student Fitness Center located at 2206 Tower Street in Everett, Washington.

UCC women win 3rd title in 4 years, defeat Clark 78-41

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    Bria Thames helps lead UCC to their third title in four years. Corden Drift/Mainstream
Forward Bria Thames drives to the basket after using the crossover move.

UCC iced the Clark Penguins 78-41 Wednesday, Feb. 22 in Roseburg, Oregon. The Riverhawks added another accomplishment to their long list of achievements by earning their third regional championship in four years and extending their current win streak to 14 games.

The UCC women look incredibly fun to watch, even in warmups. The Riverhawks have developed a strong chemistry through laughter and friendly competition, continuing to improve as a team one day at a time.

“The goal is to just keep getting a little better every day,” head coach Dave Stricklin said. “The girls love to play the game, and they love to play together,” Stricklin continued. “It doesn’t really matter who we play. Every game is important because it’s one more chance that we all get to compete together.”

Valuable contributions were made from the whole team offensively and defensively against Clark. UCC had only two players who didn’t score, one of whom did not participate in the game. The women limited Clark to one total basket in the entire second quarter and finished the first half with a 44-18 lead.

UCC didn’t lose their grit after the halftime break, and collectively, the team continued to stifle Clark’s offense.  Clark again could not find any consistency and scored only six total points in the third frame. The Riverhawks claimed a 59-24 lead heading into the final quarter.

Clark then found a little life in the fourth frame by scoring 17 points in comparison to UCC’s 19 points, but by then it was already too late, and the Riverhawks sealed the victory and earned the Southern Region championship.

Forward Daisy Powell led the team in scoring with 25 total points on 11 of 14 shooting. Forward Bria Thames displayed her all-around game totaling 17 points on 50 percent shooting from the field while also grabbing nine total rebounds and passing out four assists.

Forward Jordan Stotler didn’t have her best shooting night (6-17 FG), but followed up her triple double performance against Lane on Wednesday, Feb. 15 with a near quadruple double, scoring 15 total points, securing 21 total rebounds, dishing out eight assists, and six blocks defensively.  Shots weren’t falling for Stotler, yet she found other ways to impact the game by rebounding, passing, and playing stout defense.

With the Southern Region title under their belt, The Riverhawks turn their focus to their next game against the Clackamas Cougars on Saturday, Feb. 25 in Oregon City.

“It sounds cliché, but this team really has taken just one game at a time,” Stricklin said. “There wasn’t any mention of being Southern Region champs, and I’ve never heard any one mention the playoffs at all,” Stricklin explained. “We’ve got another game Saturday, and that’s where all our focus will be.”

With the spotlight on UCC, Riverhawks guard Tasia Bilbrew still exuberates confidence moving forward. “I’ve got a great feeling. We’re so determined and focused,” Bilbrew said. “We’re taking everything one step and one day at a time, taking every opportunity to get better and improve.”

UCC will look to continue their win streak to 15 games against Clackamas which has only been accomplished once in UCC’s women’s basketball history. UCC’s first 15-game win streak came in the 2008-09 season with one of those wins coming by forfeit.

The Riverhawks extended their win streak to 15 games after defeating the Clackamas Cougars 96-65 Saturday, Feb. 25 in Oregon City. Forwards Bria Thames, Daisy Powell, and Jordan Stotler all scored at least 20 points in the match-up. Thames scored 26 points on 53 percent shooting. Both Powell and Stotler shot an efficient 69 percent from the field, with Powell scoring 23 points, while Stotler scored 20 points.

UCC will now play the Chemeketa Storm on Wednesday, March 1 at home in the final game of the season before entering the Northwest Athletic Conference Tournament which starts on Thursday, March 9 in Everett, Washington. The tournament will be held at the Walt Price Student Fitness Center located at 2206 Tower Street in Everett.

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