In the weeks since the start of spring semester, the NIC basketball teams have been playing on a quick-paced game schedule. In four short weeks, both the men and women have played eight games total, four on the road and four on the Cardinals’ home court.
The men came back to school at the beginning of January and immediately banked four strong wins before they hit the road for the week. Prominent scorers have included Zaequan “Ziggy” Satterthwaite, Markus Golder and Jalen Burkett, while seasoned point-guard Sam Dowd carried his weight in assists and rebounds, as well as baskets.
In their first game back from break, the Cardinal men won against Yakima Valley College by nine points, 103-94, effectively kicking off conference play.
On Jan. 14, the men pulled out a close win against Treasure Valley Community College 91-89, and then on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the men secured a more comfortable win against the #3 ranked Big Bend Community College 89-75.
“It was good to get these two to regroup and get healthy to try to go get a couple on the road,” men’s head coach Corey Symons said. “The great thing from the last couple nights has been Jalen Burkett. He’s been being a little aggressive and he’s playing really well. He hasn’t been scoring a lot for us all year, but these last two games he’s been scoring and getting double-doubles. We rebounded the wall well and shot the ball well and we scored. It was a team effort and we just have to keep building on it.”
The next two games were not as kind to the Cardinals and resulted in two consecutive losses on the road. In a close game, Walla Walla Community College served the men their first loss, 98-95, after 13 straight wins. Despite collectively strong play, including a double-double from Golder, a last minute-bucket and two free throws won the battle for Walla Walla.
Three days later the men lost again to Community Colleges of Spokane, 101-94. Despite a lead at the half and a double-double from Satterthwaite, the Cardinals were unable to pull out a win.
The next week, the Cardinal men, after a few days to reorient their play, were able restart their winning streak and take the next three games.
On Jan. 25, the Cardinals had the home court advantage over Wenatchee Valley College and won 86-77.
“We struggled to shoot the ball today, but that’s the best thing: to figure out how to win when we’re not shooting the ball very well,” Symons said following the game against Wenatchee. “It was a big win for us coming off of two losses last week. It was good to get a win. “
The men then hit the road and won against Blue Mountain Community College 78-58, and then turned around to win against Columbia Basin College 81-55 three days later. Defense was key for both games, as the Cardinals were able to hold both teams to uncommonly low points.
On Feb. 4 the men won against Yakima Valley College, 98-70. Golder led the Cardinals with 19 points, and Dowd had a double-double with 12 points and 10 assists.
The men’s record is currently 7-2 in conference and 18-3 overall.