Hard foul? Hard loss for OC men

Olympic College basketball coach Reece Gliko followed the officials into the hallway behind the gym at Bremer Student Center.

He was angry about a late foul call on the Rangers’ Ken Waldo, a call that helped Shoreline pull out an 86-77 win in the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges Northern Division opener on Wednesday, Jan. 2.

The Rangers (0-1 North, 6-7 overall) were locked in an intense battle with the quick Dolphins (1-0, 4-7).

Ken Caldwell’s fourth 3-pointer had pushed the Rangers ahead 75-74 with 2:37 left.

Drew Stenesen then blocked a shot by Shoreline’s Marcus Smith, but the visiting player stole it back and scored. Smith, fouled while making the basket, also hit the free throw to give the Dolphins the 77-75 lead.

The Rangers ended up losing the ball on an inbounds play on their next possession and Cody Huntingford sailed in for what looked like an easy bucket, but OC’s Waldo appeared to block the ball from behind.

Instead, an official called Waldo for an intentional foul. Huntingford, a freshman from Chimacum, made one of two free throws, but the Dolphins retained possession. Shoreline worked the clock, and Smith knocked down a baseline jumper with 46 seconds left to give Shoreline an 80-75 lead.

Stenesen scored a quick hoop, but the Dolphins held on by making six straight free throws in the final 30 seconds.

The foul on Waldo stunned Gliko.

“Ken made a hard, intense play on the ball,” Gliko said. “There was no intent to hurt the kid. He just went up to block the shot.”

Gliko said the officials later called it a “hard foul, not an intentional foul.”

The first-year coach shook his head. “I don’t know the difference,” he said. “They couldn’t really explain it to me.”

OC’s Fred Grupe, who scored a team-high 24 points, said he was right behind Waldo.

“I was mad they even called a foul,” said the OC freshman. “I thought it was clean.”

Gliko said the Rangers still had chances to beat the North Division preseason favorites.

“Shoreline put good pressure on the ball and I thought our guys handled it pretty good,” he said. “We stayed in there and pretty much executed what we wanted to do.”

Ultimately, Shoreline’s 24 offensive rebounds were the difference. The Dolphins scored on a number of putbacks, but the Rangers hung tough.

OC led three times in the second half and never trailed by more than five.

Caldwell finished with 15 points. Waldo had 13 points and 13 rebounds. Stenesen had 14 points.

“We’re going to play up-tempo and we’re going to pressure and we’re going to play intense everywhere we play,” Gliko said. “I just felt like we gave them too many layups.”

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