|Anderson picks up another Player of the Week award for Bellingham
Bellingham Slam guard Morris Anderson has been selected as the International Basketball League’s Player of the Week for a pair of strong performances in back-to-back wins against the Yamhill Highflyers last weekend.
On Friday in McMinnville, Ore., Anderson put up 20 points, 17 coming in the second half, as the Slam pulled out a 133-121 road victory against the Highflyers.
On Saturday, Anderson helped the Slam complete the weekend sweep of Yamhill by posting a career-high 34 points on 14-of-21 shooting in a 141-101 win at Whatcom Pavilion in Bellingham. He also pulled down 6 boards and dished out 6 assists in the game, helping give the Slam their league-leading 14th victory of the season.
“It was a good win for us,” said Anderson of Saturday’s game. “I'm happy to see that we brought a lot of energy coming off a long trip from Yamhill on Friday. After I saw that I only had one assist at halftime, I had to get more players involved.”
On the season, Anderson is averaging 20.5 points and 5.5 assists per game, which ranks eighth- and fourth-best in the league, respectively. In addition, he ranks first in the IBL in steals with an average of 3 per game.
The robust play this season from the two-time IBL All-Star has placed the Slam in a good position to earn the top-seed in the IBL Playoffs, which begin July 5 in Bellingham. A first-place finish would assure the Slam of a coveted first-round bye, something the Slam has earned in each of their first four seasons in the league.
Anderson is currently in his third season with the Slam after an outstanding collegiate career at Highline Community College and Western Washington University. As a freshman, he helped Highline with the NWAACC Championship in 2006. After transferring to WWU, he was named the Great Northwest Athletic Conference’s Newcomer of the Year for the 2008-09 season and was also selected to the NCAA Division II all-West Region team as a senior. In all, Anderson averaged 13.7 points and 5.6 assists per game in two seasons at WWU.
Anderson is the third Bellingham player to earn Player of the Week honors in 2012. Center Blake Poole and guard Paul Hafford both received the award earlier this season.
The Slam will look to clinch the number one seed as they travel to Portland this Saturday to take on the Portland Chinooks. On Sunday, the Slam will return home to Bellingham to host their final regular season home game, with a 5 p.m. tip-off set for Whatcom Pavilion.
Learn more about Morris Anderson and the Bellingham Slam at www.bellinghamslam.com or www.ibl.com/bellinghamslam.
IBL Week in Review
Friday, June 22: Nippon Tornadoes 127, at Salem Soldiers 203
On Friday in Salem, the Soldiers run-and-gun offense out-did themselves as they neared an IBL record by posting a 203-127 rout of the Nippon Tornadoes. Chehales Tapscott was outstanding for the Soldiers with 57 points and 19 rebounds, while Jordan Mast did his best to keep the Tornadoes in the game with 56 points. The prolific win puts Salem’s win streak at five games heading into the final week of the regular season.
Friday, June 22: Olympia Reign 128 at Orlando Venom 144
Saturday, June 23: Olympia Reign 132 at Orlando Venom 119
In Florida, the Olympia Reign flew across the country and picked up a split of their two-game series with the Orlando Venom. David Wood, with 30 points, led three Orlando players with at least 20 points as the Venom won 144-128, breaking open a close game with a big fourth quarter. Olympia’s Nate Menefee finished as the game’s high scorer with 31 points on the strength of five three-pointers.
On Saturday, the Reign rebounded with a 132-119 win for their fifth victory of the season. Wood was tough again for Orlando with 26 points, but it wasn’t enough as the former Evergreen State quartet of Menefee, Gio Woods, Mike Ward and Marcus Whittaker combined for 94 of the Reign’s points. Whittaker was particularly strong, connecting on 4-of-7 shots from outside and pulling down a season-high 14 rebounds.
Friday, June 22: Vancouver Volcanoes 105 at Edmonton Energy 106
Saturday, June 23: Vancouver Volcanoes 100 at Edmonton Energy 114
Vancouver’s road struggles continued as they dropped a pair of games in Edmonton over the weekend. On Friday, 47 points combined from Alex Tiefenthaler and Devin Uskoski wasn’t enough as the Energy nipped the Volcanoes 106-105. Steve Sir was the main man for Edmonton, shooting his team to the win with five three-pointers.
On Saturday, with Vancouver leading 57-56 at halftime, Edmonton was able to pull away in the third quarter en route to a 114-100 win. The balanced Energy saw Jermaine Bucknor step up with 30 points on 14-of-19 shooting, while Tiefienthaler and Uskoski were again strong for the Volcanoes with 31 and 21 points, respectively.
Friday, June 22: Bellingham 133, at Yamhill Highflyers 121
Saturday, June 23: Yamhill Highflyers 101, at Bellingham Slam 141
The Bellingham Slam made the long drive down I-5 to McMinnville on Friday and pulled out a tough road win, 133-121, against the Yamhill Highflyers. A competitive match was broken wide open in the fourth quarter, thanks to a 22-5 fourth quarter run by the Slam. Blake Poole was a key figure in the victory for Bellingham with 26 points and 17 rebounds. Jason Hartford led Yamhill with 28 points while Jamal Glover also impressed with 17 points and 20 rebounds.
The next night the two teams met up again in Bellingham, with the Slam taking it to Yamhill in a 141-101 blowout. Mo Anderson had a career-high 34 points to pace the Slam, while Poole finished with 24 points and a career-best 22 rebounds. Rookie Slam forward Chas Kok put on a shooting clinic in the fourth quarter, scoring 22 points in just 12 minutes.
This familiar game on a hardwood floor evokes our passion for the game. The emotions that it creates can change from play to play. We love our teams, we follow them; players, traditions and style from a beard to a headband and the wristbands or headphones they wear.
The familiar music we hear that makes you get up and dance, clap your hands or break into a unified chant. We hear the talk about match ups and listen to the commentators and announcers evaluate. The amazing play of athleticism you just saw and can’t believe! What will you see next? The tweet of the whistle, the pleas to the officials perhaps. Listen to the squeak of the sneakers, bounce of the ball and heavy breathing of the athletes leaving it all on the court. Coaches yelling instructions or whispering them softly depending on the score. Hear the cheers and roar of the crowd as well as the boos, as we talk and engage in the events of the game until the buzzer sounds.
Taste the refreshing treats we enjoy at sporting events, smell the mix of sweat and popcorn at a game where you can touch the players, giving them high-fives. People who are a part of your community and you’re a part of the team. Sharing a common goal through constant contact with the score board, shot clock and statistics before, during and after the game.
Feel the tension, excitement, anticipation and the focus of the athletes with every play. The warmth of the fans packed in as each team looks for that hot hand. See the strategy and movement, motions and play calls from a fist to number of fingers, slight movement or the PG aggressively telling his teammates to move into the painted area or to the outside for a good look from downtown. The jerseys move and flap as the incredibly athletic athletes run up and down the court in front of the fans in the stands wearing their teams jerseys and t-shirts with a sense of pride as the clock counts down.
A new family is created with a team pushing the limits where you feel the emotion, wear the team colors and cheer until your voice goes horse in a familiar environment as you picture yourself on the court, enjoying the shared experience.
Get in the game! Learn more about the IBL at www.ibl.com.