I started taking advantage of our ESPN+ subscription before our Richland game last Saturday and downloaded some 30 for 30 basketball documentaries to watch during the trip down to the Tri-Cities. Last Saturday I watched Survive and Advance, the documentary about Jimmy Valvano and the North Carolina State Wolfpack's improbable national championship in 1983. That's probably the single best one, but I felt like I needed to change it up for the next trip so yesterday I watched The Guru of Go, the documentary about Paul Westhead, Loyola Marymount, and Hank Gathers. I stopped watching after the part where Gathers died on the court which is sort of weird because it gets really inspirational shortly after that point1, but I had started the drive with a couple NBA Rookie documentaries, and was ready for a break.
The game itself ended up being straight out of Survive and Advance,a close, back and forth showdown the whole game. We trailed 18-20 after the first quarter, but used some 3/4 court pressure to take control in the second and went into the half up 7. Walla Walla came out firing on all cylinders in the second half and immediately closed the gap to within a basket with some steals and clutching shooting. The fourth quarter was tight the whole way and the Blue Devils had a two point lead with just over a minute to go. Then Zach Fleming hit a super clutch 3 to put us up 1, and we were able to get a stop followed by a McCoy Spink layup at the basket. Then we fouled, they missed the front end of the resulting 1-1, we rebounded, ran the clock down and missed the layup that could have iced the game. With 14 seconds left they came down and tried to get up a three, but were unable to get an open look as time expired.
Now we get a rematch with Chiawana in Kennewick's Toyota Center on Friday at 5:45 pm after they dispatched Mead 84-69 in yesterday's other game.
But then again, I've seen this before so I know how it goes. I did find it kind of horrifying that nobody started immediately giving him chest compressions- they literally circled around and attended to him without really doing anything. Based on some additional articles, I think he did have a pulse initially, but they just didn't react with the urgency we do now. I think his case directly informs modern practices- today all athletic personnel would immediately assume a heart issue, start chest compressions, and have a portable AED available on the floor in seconds.