MOUNT VERNON — The Skagit Valley College men’s basketball team didn’t get off to the smoothest of starts Friday in the opener of the Skagit Valley College Turkey Tournament, but it made sure the last stretch of the game was worth the wait.
Point guard Marquan Williams scored a game-high 28 points to lead a trio of Cardinals with more than 20 points each, and Skagit Valley downed Columbia Basin 106-76 in the first of three tournament games in as many nights for the Cardinals.
Columbia Basin proved early it was no pushover, especially behind the 3-point line, as the Hawks made seven of 13 attempts in the first half. The Hawks shot better than the Cardinals in the first half, 48 percent to 42 percent.
Skagit Valley coach Carl Howell said the first game after Thanksgiving can often be a rusty one, and said Friday’s matchup in Dave DuVall Pavilion was no exception.
“We were immature in the first 32 minutes,” he said. “Things we’d been doing well, we didn’t do well.”
Things heated up down the stretch as the Cardinals opened up an eight-point lead they had carried into halftime.
In one such stretch, Williams hit his trailer, Willie Thomas III, on a fast break for a two-handed dunk; Anthony Iglesia hit a 3-pointer; and Caleb Sheldon, at the top of the key, found a cutting Ajani Chappell for a bucket.
“Our guys did a good job down the stretch of being mature,” said Howell, a former Skagit Valley standout now in his first year as the Cardinals’ coach.
Williams had seven rebounds, four assists and three steals to accompany his game-high scoring. Iglesia hit four 3-pointers on his way to 24 points, and Daniel Santana was 9-of-12 from the field for 20 points. Thomas III notched 17 points and seven rebounds for the Cardinals (3-0).
Miguel Hernandez scored 19 points to lead Columbia Basin, which is slated to play Green River at 5 p.m. Saturday.
In the earlier games today, Northwest Indian College will play Grays Harbor at 1 p.m. and Peninsula plays Pierce at 3 p.m.
Skagit Valley will face Big Bend in the Saturday’s nightcap at 7 p.m. Big Bend is 1-3 coming in and lost its Turkey Tournament game Friday to Grays Harbor despite 16 points from Landon Harrington.
The tournament is slated to wrap up Sunday.