McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Chris Dirks scored a game-high 16 points and seniors Cory Hendryx and Chris Crowell combined for 18 points in their final games in Linfield uniforms as the Wildcats dealt the visiting Pacific Lutheran Lutes a 67-47 season-ending Northwest Conference defeat Saturday night inside boisterous Ted Wilson Gymnasium.
Completing the first phase of new coach Shanan Rosenberg's rebuilding plan, Linfield ended the season with a record of 5-25, 3-13 in the NWC. PLU closed the year at 8-17, 5-11 against conference foes.
Dirks made 7-of-15 shots from the field, snatched 10 rebounds and passed out two assists in a stellar 25 minutes off the bench. Hendryx, tabbed for the starting lineup in his final game, responded with 14 points to match a career high. He made 5-of-8 shots, collared five rebounds and twice forced the Lutes into turnovers.
Point guard Ryan Cali enjoyed another all-around performance for the ‘Cats, passing out seven assists, grabbing nine rebounds while adding five points and one steal. Jackson Gion and Ryan Potter each tallied nine points to accentuate a balanced scoring effort by the Linfield starters.
Linfield handcuffed Pacific Lutheran to 23 percent shooting in the first half, establishing a 15-point lead at intermission, 35-20.
It took Linfield just five minutes to establish a 10-point bulge on the Lutes in the early going. Consecutive 3-pointers by Cali and Potter enabled Linfield to pump the margin to 13 points, 15-2, with 14:12 left in the period. PLU misfired on seven of its first eight shots as Linfield calmly sank five of its first seven attempts.
PLU offered little in the way of a comeback effort in the second half, coming no closer than 12 points in the first two minutes of the period. The Wildcats, perhaps bolstered by a supportive Senior Night crowd, continually outworked the Lutes for rebounds and loose balls while launching 10 3-pointers on the right, three each from sharpshooters Cali and Potter.
With Dirks in the middle, Linfield owned a 18-0 advantage in points scored in the paint during the opening 20 minutes of action, but that statistic evened out in the second half with both teams netting 12 points from close range.
Brandon Lester scored eight points, Arvid Isaksen had seven to lead PLU. When the two clubs met in Parkland on Jan. 24, Lester and Isaksen combined for 28 points in a nine-point home court victory.