SPOKANE – Not everyone can say they’ve been able to play against one of the elite NCAA men’s basketball programs in the country, but Dedrick Pakootas (Colville tribal member) and his Lewis and Clark State College teammates can.
Pakootas and the Warriors, for the first time since 2012, made the short trip up to Spokane playing against NCAA Division I power Gonzaga at the Kennel, Nov. 2.
The Zags would go on to win 116-61 in the exhibition matchup.
Despite the score, getting the chance to play at the Kennel was an unbelievable experience for Pakootas.
“It was kind of a dream come true,” said Pakootas. “You’re not at D-1 level, but being out there feels great.”
Pakootas came off the bench to scoresix points with one rebound in 12 minutes and 52 seconds of work on the night.
“It was a fun experience,” said Pakootas. “High level basketball. Fun to be out there.”
Pakootas entered the game in the first half at the 10:30 mark.
“Honestly this game I wasn’t as nervous as other games,” Pakootas said. “Once I got out there I got comfortable.”
At the 7:55 mark in the second half, Pakootas would sink a 3-pointer, his first of the night.
“They had a long rebound, I was open,” said Pakootas. “Had to knock it down.”
Gonzaga built a 65-29 lead at halftime. Anton Watson scored a game high 28 points and Filip Petrusev added 22 as the Zags would have seven total players in double digits scoring winning big.
“It was awesome for our guys, that’s a top 10 team, and they weren’t even at full strength,” said Austin Johnson, head coach for Lewis and Clark State College. “I thought our guys played really, really hard. In a game like this, that’s a huge takeaway.”
For Pakootas, the end of the game hand shakes with the opposing team will stick out to him, in particular when he and Gonzaga head coach Mark Few shared a moment.
“He’s a legend. It was nice to shake his hand,” said Pakootas.