Kyle Fischer sank a jumper in the final seconds and then blocked North Idaho’s last shot to lift the Mesa Community College Thunderbirds to a 69-68 victory over the Cardinals (9-2) on Thursday night at the Fiesta Bowl Junior College Shootout in Mesa, Arizona.
Fischer, who finished with seven points and six rebounds, subbed in with 49 seconds remaining in the game. He hit the game-winning shot with 7 seconds left and then blocked Nate Pryor’s shot at the buzzer to sew up the win. Rajhan Billingsley led Mesa (7-4) with 23 points and Jeff Perez scored 11.
Pryor topped NIC with 19 points, but he made just 8 of 22 shots, including 0-for-6 from 3-point range. RayQuan Evans pitched in with 17 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Mesa led 60-46 with 10 minutes left to play, but the Cardinals used a 14-0 run capped by Phillip Malatare’s 3-pointer to pull even at 60. Nik Nehls sank a 3 to put the Thunderbirds up 63-60 and end a scoring drought that reached 7 minutes, 2 seconds. Mesa led 67-60 with 2:59 to play, but Evans scored the last four points in an 8-0 run to give NIC a 68-67 lead with 32 seconds remaining. Fishcer took over from there.
North Idaho takes on the loser of the game between Snow College and Seward County on Friday at 3 p.m.
North Idaho 64, Centralia 53: Heidi Sellman tossed in 17 points and Keara Simpson came off the bench to post a double-double to propel the Cardinals (8-2) to a victory over the Trailblazers (5-7) at the Lower Columbia College Holiday Classic in Longview, Washington.
Sellman sank 6 of 10 shots from the floor and all five of her free throws, while handing out four assists. Simpson finished with 11 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and two steals for North Idaho, which notched its third straight win. Anna Schrade pitched in with a game-high 11 rebounds to go with seven points.
Piper Cal scored 19 to pace Centralia.
The Cardinals take on Yakima Valley on Friday at 4 p.m. in the second round.
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