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Bruins host SWAC basketball tournament

Mar 28, 2017 04:58PM ● Published by Bryan Scott

The Bruins women’s basketball team won the Region 18 regular season championship. (Greg James/City Journals)

Gallery: Bruins host SWAC basketball tournament [2 Images] Click any image to expand.

By Greg James |  gregj@mycityjournals.com 

Salt Lake Community College hosted the Scenic West Athletic Association men’s and women’s basketball tournaments March 2-4. The winners automatically earned a bid to national junior college tournament.

“We had some tough breaks in the second round of games this year that did not go our way,” USU Eastern head coach Chelsey Warburton said. “We had a choice to stay that way or turn it around. This team is a fighting team, and we have been playing really well coming into this tournament. We have had the energy, and have been playing well.”

The SWAC consists of five men’s and five women’s teams. The winners of the three-day tournament receive an automatic bid to the junior college national championship tournament. Region 18 was organized in 1968; Salt Lake Community College joined in 1987.

In the opening round of the tournament the USU Eastern men’s and women’s teams both defeated Colorado Northwestern Community College and advanced into the second round. The men advanced to play Snow College in the second round, while the Eagle women faced Salt Lake Community College.

Salt Lake Community College dominated the women’s tournament. Conference player of the year Tia Hay led her team by averaging 19 points per game. The Lady Bruins never trailed in the tournament. In their first game, they defeated USU Eastern 66-47. Hay scored 13 points, and sophomore Annie Brady pitched in 21 in the victory.

The Bruins defeated Snow College in the championship game 67-40. They dominated the Badgers, at one point holding them scoreless for eight minutes. The Bruins earned a berth to the women’s national championship tournament March 20 (after press deadline).

“I feel pretty good about this team,” Bruins head coach Betsy Specketer said. “They have bought into what we're teaching them, and we are a hard team to match up against.”

The women's national tournament will be held in Lubbock, Texas.

The conference’s No. 2 team, College of Southern Idaho, dominated the men’s tournament. The Golden Eagles cruised past the Bruins in the second round 87-75.

The Bruins held a five-point lead headed into halftime. However, the Golden Eagles shot 53 percent in the second half and pulled away from the Bruins.

Dalven Brushier led a balanced Bruin attack with 17 points. Five players scored in double figures, but they could not slow down the CSI attack, allowing 50 points in the second half.

The Bruins’ loss eliminated them from a national title run like last season.

CSI then shocked the No. 1 seeded Snow College Badgers in the championship game 92-82. The Golden Eagles up tempo style of play was difficult for their opponents to defend.

The Golden Eagles will represent Region 18 in the men’s national tournament held in Kansas beginning March 20 (after press deadline).

Hay was named the women's tournament most valuable player. She joined Brianna Osorio from CSI as the co-players of the year; Madison Loftus (USU-E), Sica Cuzic (SLCC), Ariel Augustine (CSI) and Harley Hansen (Snow) also received all-region honors.

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