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Skagit Valley College reaches NWAC Championship semi-finals

Mar 29, 2024

SVC Mens Basketball Team Photo in the gym

The Skagit Valley College men’s basketball ended their season in the final four round of the Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC) Tournament following a hard-fought battle against Tacoma Community College that extended into overtime on Sat., March 18. The team secured second place in the North Division, concluding the season with a record of 26-6.

SVC Cardinals men’s basketball has seen a surge in success since Head Coach Carl Howell arrived five years ago. The Cardinals boast the second-highest win total in the NWAC (99) under Howell’s guidance, achieved across four full seasons and a shortened COVID-19 campaign with just 15 games. Notably, Howell’s first season at the helm (2019-20) witnessed the Cardinals holding the number one ranking in the NWAC for a significant portion of the year before the season’s abrupt cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the past five seasons, Howell has maintained a winning record. His leadership has resulted in his teams achieving a top finish and advancing to the postseason in four out of his five years, including appearances in the Elite Eight and Final Four.

In the 2020-21 season, Howell led the Cardinals to a tie for the region championship despite the challenges of a disrupted season posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. This sustained success reflects Howell’s strategic approach and the players’ commitment to excellence on the court.

“Our guys were an absolute joy to coach, they were great students, great people and truly played for each other,” said Howell. “I couldn’t have ask for more; I really wanted them to experience a Final Four. This is my seventh time finishing in the Final Four or better, and these kids deserved it as much as any team I have ever coached.”

This year marks the fourth time in the last 36 years that the SVC men’s basketball team has reached the semi-finals of the NWAC Championships.
The most recent championship title secured by SVC men’s basketball was in 1988 under the guidance of NWAC Hall of Fame Coach Dave Quall. Prior to this victory, Quall also led the college to a championship triumph in 1984.

“Coach Howell and his players represented our college and community with class and performed at a high level all season,” said SVC Athletic Director, Mitch Freeman. “They should be proud of their accomplishments that exceeded what this program has done in a long time.”

The team concluded their 2024 season on Saturday in Pasco with a season record of 26-6. Leading the charge were standout players like Connor Drinkwine, who led with 21 points, and Cinque Maxwell, contributing 20 points, while Jerry Hayes delivered 13 points alongside an impressive eight assists. Sylas Williams added 10 points and 13 rebounds, further demonstrating the team’s depth and versatility.

SVC men’s basketball saw two players garner postseason recognition at the NWAC Tournament this year. Sophomore point guard Jerry Hayes earned a spot on the First Team All-Tournament team, while sophomore wing Connor Drinkwine was named to the Second Team All-Tournament.

The SVC community celebrates this significant achievement, recognizing the dedication and hard work that propelled the team to success in the NWAC Tournament. As they reflect on the season, the Cardinals look forward to building on this accomplishment in future endeavors on the court.

For more information about SVC men’s basketball, visit athletics.skagit.edu/sports/mens-basketball.

Media Contact Info

Sofia Poulton, Communications and Social Media Manager
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