It’s been quite a year so far for Clover Park head coach Mel Ninnis. Last summer he lost key players Isom Brown to Curtis and Ahmaad Rorie to Lincoln, both of whom were at the ShoWare Center on Feb. 18 with their respective squads along with the Warriors.
But Ninnis and his team added a positive ending to the season, as Clover Park – behind the 26 points of David Crisp – defeated the Sequim Wolves by a score of 60-45 to win the West Central District 2A title.
“It’s been a pretty challenging year, to say the least,” Ninnis said regarding not only losing two start quality players but the challenging road that his players took him on during the district playoffs.
The game itself was anti-climactic, as the Warriors would sprint out to a 17-9 first quarter lead and would never look back as Sequim would have no answer for the Warriors quickness and size inside.
“This is a great, rewarding win not just for me but for David (Crisp), after he had to miss most of last season while on crutches as we failed to even make it to district last year,” Ninnis said.
The Wolves came out for the second half with a new attitude, picking up the intensity on the defensive end and cutting a one-time 14-point Warrior lead to eight when Jason Brockelsby scored on a layup in the last minute of the third quarter to cut the deficit to 38-30.
But Clover Park responded right back when Crisp hit a three-pointer to take a 41-30 lead into the fourth quarter, and the Warriors were never seriously threatened again.
“It’s hard to put into words what Crispy has meant to us,” Ninnis said. “He’s definitely one of the great go-to guys in the area.”
“This West Central District trophy means a whole lot to me, it’s real hard to put it into words,” added Crisp. “It is so great to get to regionals, not just because of what happened to me and my team last year, but because of the loss of both Ahmaad and Isom.”
With the win, the Warriors will now take on the Olympic Trojans on Feb. 23 at 6 p.m. at Kent Meridian High School for a trip to the 2A state tournament at the Sun Dome in Yakima.
“These kids have been resilient all year, and I hope we can take care of business against Olympic on Saturday and make plans for the Sun Dome,” Ninnis said.
By Steve Mullen