It might have been a bit closer than some might have expected, but the Lewis-Clark State men’s basketball team found a way at the end.
Senior forward Trystan Bradley had 23 points and 10 rebounds Friday as the fourth-ranked Warriors overcame a sub-par shooting effort and a 12-day break to beat the Yellowstone Christian Centurions 79-67 at the Activity Center.
“Tonight did not meet the standard of LC State but credit goes to Yellowstone,” third-year coach Austin Johnson said. “And this was good for us. Not every game is going to be a Picasso. But at the end of the day a win is a win. And we’ll take it.”
Senior guard Damek Mitchell added 22 points, six rebounds and six assists for LCSC (11-1), which upped its winning streak to three games. Senior guard Hodges Bailey chipped in 10 points.
Bradley topped 1,000 career points and Mitchell became the Warriors' all-time leader in 3-pointers made in the victory.
Derrian Reed finished with 21 points and eight rebounds for Yellowstone Christian (0-6), which lost 124-44 in its most recent outing Jan. 16 at NCAA Division I Weber State. Andrii Basovets tallied 14 points for the Centurions, who play in the National Christian College Athletic Association.
Senior forward Travis Yenor likely will miss the rest of the regular season after having surgery on his hand. Senior forward Jake Albright also was out for this game.
It is the third meeting of the season between the two teams. The Warriors opened the season with two victories at the Activity Center against Yellowstone Christian, winning 82-54 on Dec. 4 before delivering a 98-49 thrashing on Dec. 5.
The Centurions have gotten better as the season has progressed, mainly because they’ve also played Montana and Montana State, and they gave LCSC everything it could handle for about 32 minutes.
The Warriors had not played since ending a trip to Arizona with a 76-60 victory Jan. 10 against Park Gilbert, so the rust might have showed a little. In the Dec. 5 game, no starter for LCSC played more than Bradley’s 23 minutes, and six reserves had 10 more minutes. But in this one, all five starters played more than 26 minutes and just two reserves — junior forward Nathan Fromm and freshman guard Silas Bennion — got more than 14 minutes of playing time.
Yellowstone Christian erased an eight-point first-half deficit and took a three-point edge at 25-22 with 7:33 to go on Reed’s basket. The Warriors regained the lead on a Bradley 3-pointer at the 6:34 mark and the teams went back-and-forth for the rest of the first 20 minutes. Devante King’s jumper gave the Centurions a 35-31 lead with 3:52 left before intermission, However, Fromm’s 3 put LCSC in front for good at 36-35. The Warriors went to the locker room up 41-38.
“They took the fight to us and we didn’t seem super interested in playing, which was unfortunate because of how hard it has been to get games,” Johnson said.
LCSC would gradually build on its lead in the second half, first getting it to double digits on a pair of Mitchell free throws at the 7:55 mark, then eventually up to 17 at 75-58 with 3:21 left on Bailey’s 3.
The two teams meet again at 1 p.m. today at the same site.
YELLOWSTONE CHRISTIAN (0-6)
Reed 8-15 3-4 21, Basovets 5-11 1-3 14, Jones 3-13 2-2 9, King 2-4 0-0 4, Beeke 2-3 0-1 4, Detiege 4-5 1-2 9, Dorsey 3-5 0-0 6, Morris 0-5 0-0 0. Totals 27-61 7-12 67.
LEWIS-CLARK STATE (11-1)
Bradley 8-20 5-8 23, Mitchell 5-10 9-10 22, Bailey 3-7 2-4 10, Courtney 4-7 0-2 8, Stevenson 2-6 0-0 4, Fromm 3-6 2-4 9, Bennioin 1-1 0-0 2, Stockton 0-0 1-2 1, Abram 0-0 0-1 0. Totals 26-57 19-31 79.
Halftime — Lewis-Clark State, 41-38. 3-point goals — Yellowstone Christian 6-21 (Basovets 3-7, Reed 2-6, Jones 1-5, King 0-1, Morris 0-2), Lewis-Clark State 8-30 (Mitchell 3-7, Bailey 2-6, Bradley 2-11, Fromm 1-3, Stevenson 0-3). Fouled out — Reed, Beeke. Rebounds — Yellowstone Christian 29 (Reed 8), Lewis-Clark State 42 (Bradley 10). Assists — Yellowstone Christian 14 (King 5), Lewis-Clark State 13 (Mitchell 6). Total fouls — Yellowstone Christian 23, Lewis-Clark State 13. Technical — Yellowstone Christian team.