Clackamas CC defeats Walla Walla in Crossover Tourney finale, 91-71
Clackamas Community College's Robert Ford had one of those games where almost everytime he touched the ball, the Cougars were putting points on the scoreboard.
At least, it seemed that way.
Ford broke loose for a career-high 39 points on 14-for-22 shooting with seven 3-pointers to help the Cougars breeze to a 91-71 victory over Walla Walla in Friday's final round of the NWAC Crossover Tournament at CCC's Randall Hall.
Clay Sullivan added 16 points and Michael Byers chipped in 10 points and seven rebounds off the Clackamas bench as the Cougars went 3-0 in the three-day tournament and improved to 9-0 overall.
"I thought we could be 9-0, to be honest with you," Clackamas coach Clif Wegner said. "We knew this was going to be a good team with a lot of kids coming back, a lot of sophomore experience.
"We feel like we have the pieces. I mean, our bigs are good, we've got big wings, we've got small wings, our shooting is good throughout the lineup, and we have a tremendous point guard who is an elite on-ball defender."
On Friday, the Cougars' game revolved around Ford, the 6-foot point guard out of Portland's Jefferson High School, not only surpassed his previous high of 32 points set last season against Edmonds, but he also had 10 rebounds and nine assists — one assist shy of what would have been his second triple-double of the season and seventh of his junior college career.
"As long as we win, that's all I'm here for," Ford said.
Trailing 30-24, Clackamas closed the half on a 16-6 run that ended with Ford knocking down a 3-pointer with eight seconds left to give the Cougars a 40-36 lead.
The Cougars then opened the second with Matt O'Brien dunking off a lob pass from Ford, sparking a 15-3 run that extended the lead to 55-39 with 15:20 to play.
After Walla Walla's Garrett Streufert scored on a jumper to cut the Clackamas lead to 59-49, Ford turned around and hit two more 3-pointers as part of a 12-0 run that made it 71-49 and helped put the game out of reach with 8:54 to play.
"Clackamas just has too many horses for us," Walla Walla coach Jeff Reinland said. "They're too big, too quick, and Ford is too good.
"First half, we hung in there. Then they got the big lob over the top and a four-point play to start the second half and got all juiced up."
And the Warriors didn't have anybody who could handle Ford.
"We played off of him too far and he'd just pull up and hit a 3 in our face," Reinland said. "If we step out on him, yeah, he's going to drive on us, but we can't just let him shoot uncontested 3s.
"I mean, he hit quite a few of those tonight, which was a little bit surprising that he was as aggressive as he was, because he hadn't been as aggressive in the other games I'd watched."
Ford's seven 3-pointers matched his career-high set last season in a game against Lane.
"I thought Robert was really, really good today," Wegner said. "He was just fabulous. He's the kind of kid that if he misses two shots, he thinks he's in a slump. So, hopefully, this will convince him that he's shooting it well again.
"Once he got it going, we started running some stuff for him and tried to open him up for some 3s, and he was just knocking 'em down. He was just special today."
Clackamas opened the tournament with a 90-59 win over Blue Mountain, and then followed that with an 84-73 win over Lower Columbia.
In three games, Ford scored a combined 79 points, shooting 57.1 percent (28 for 49) from the field and 52.2 percent (12 for 23) from 3-point range, with 29 rebounds and 15 assists.
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