Whitworth’s Sullivan Menard of Wasilla drives to the hoop. Photo by Caleb Flegel

Wasilla’s Sullivan Menard scored 11 of his 21 points in the second half and hit two big free throws with 19 seconds left Saturday to help the Whitworth beat Whitman 81-75 to win the Northwest Conference title for a third straight year.

The 2019 Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year knocked down four of nine 3-pointers, including one with 4:57 left that gave the Pirates of Spokane, Wash., the lead for good at 70-67.

Whitman clawed back within 77-75 in the closing seconds, but Menard buried a pair of free throws to essentially seal the deal.

Menard has been a part of two NWC championships for Whitworth, which improved to 37-18 with the Alaskan.

The 6-foot-3 guard has started all 27 games this season for the 19-8 Pirates and ranks second in scoring at 15.9 points. He leads the NWC with 74 3-pointers.

Whitworth punched its ticket back to the Division III Championships and will discover its next opponent will be when the bracket is revealed on Monday.

Nobody is more excited to get back to the NCAA Tournament than Menard, who looks for a bounce-back performance after going 0-for-8 from the floor and finishing with two points in last year’s first-round loss to St. John Fisher.

It was an uncharacteristically off night for a player who has earned the reputation for being a reliable scorer dating back to his days at Colony High.

With his 21 points Saturday, Menard – a second-year transfer from Wyoming Community College – increased his college career total to 782 to pass former two-time Alaska player of the year Kamaka Hepa out of Barrow High. Hepa scored 777 points at Hawaii and Texas.

When it comes to D3 scoring, Menard has racked up 623 points to rank No. 4 all-time among Alaskans after passing Juneau’s Ryan Monagle, who scored 607 at Linfield in 2003-06.

839 – Scott Wilson, Grinnell 1994-98
785 – Phil Engebretsen, Occidental 1989-93
709 – Brent Fortuny, York 1995-98
623 – Sullivan Menard, Whitworth 2022-24
607 – Ryan Monagle, Linfield 2003-06

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