EVERETT, Wash. — Former Billings Skyview basketball standout RayQuan Evans scored 32 points, 22 in the opening half, as North Idaho College defeated Walla Walla Community College 104-73 Sunday evening to win the Northwest Athletic Conference tournament championship.
It was the second consecutive NWAC title for the Cardinals, marking the first time since 2009-2010 a program has clinched back-to-back NWAC tournament championships (Clackamas Community College).
Evans, a two-time Class AA state champion at Billings Skyview, was an all-state selection in 2016-17 and committed to NIC that May. His 22 first-half points lifted the Cardinals to a 49-38 halftime lead. Evans finished the game with 32 points, six assists, four rebounds and two steals, earning tournament MVP honors for the second consecutive year.
Former Arlee state champions Tyler Tanner (sophomore, guard) and Phillip Malatare (freshman, guard) also play for the Cardinals, as does former Missoula Big Sky guard Drew Sheridan.
Malatare, who joins Evans in the starting lineup, spent Sunday night in foul trouble, finishing the championship game with three rebounds and an assist, but shooting 0 for 4 from the field.
According to the NWAC website, Malatare averaged 8.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game during his freshman season, one year after leading Arlee to its third consecutive State C championship appearance and second straight title. He had a career-high of 20 points against Walla Walla on Jan. 12.
Evans has averages of 18.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 4.9 assists in 2018-19 with Sunday’s 32 points his season-best.
North Idaho College finished the season with a 31-2 record, including a perfect 16-0 mark in conference play.