Tapscott's monster night nets him Player of the Week award
Chehales Tapscott scores two of his 35 points against Bellingham on April 25.
Photo by Brian Drake
The Vancouver Volcanoes got an unexpected bonus for their home opener on April 26, as 6’6” F Chehales Tapscott was able to suit up for the team following a visa snafu that delayed his departure to play for his new team in Australia.
The former NBADL draft pick of the Maine Red Claws picked up right where he left off after his 2013 MVP season for the Volcanoes, torching the Bellingham Slam for a monster double-double of 35 points and 19 rebounds. For this, Tapscott picks up the first IBL Player of the Week award presented by Prink Technologies.
“It's just hard work paying off,” Tapscott shared about picking up yet another Player of the Week award. “A lot of credit goes to my teammates, my teammates are just so deadly from the outside they open up the court for me.”
With his immigration issues sorted out, Tapscott has already headed to Australia to join the Rockhampton Rockets of the Queensland Basketball League, so unfortunately Volcanoes fans won’t have another chance to see him putting up big numbers at the O’Connell Sports Complex this season. But with an expected tight race between Vancouver, Portland and Bellingham for the #1 seed in the playoffs, his presence for even just one game could pay big dividends down the road for the Volcanoes.
“Chehales really makes my job easy because of his ability to score in so many different ways," Head Coach Joe Navarro of the Vancouver Volcanoes stated. "Not to mention he is a rebounding machine. He could win Player of the Week every week.”
The Volcanoes will likely need to make some adjustments as they return to their home court at Clark College without Tapscott on Friday at 7 p.m. and face the Salem Sabres, and then again on Sunday at 5 p.m. against the Portland Chinooks.
First year Slam coach Amaya on quest for a three-peat
Coach Amaya addresses his team during a timeout in their game versus Seattle.
Photo by Jon Bergman
After splitting his first two games as head coach of the reigning back-to-back champion Bellingham Slam, former Slam player and assistant coach Tyler Amaya remains focused on the ultimate prize, a three-peat in the IBL.
As Amaya notes, winning an unprecedented three straight IBL titles will be difficult, but it’s what his team is chasing after. “To be honest, the three-peat is the goal. The guys on the team are used to winning and I’m used to winning. I’m sure winning the title will be even harder this season though.”
Amaya’s squad won their season opener on home court over the Seattle Flight 143-93, but dropped their next contest against the Vancouver Volcanoes 115-127 in their house. Entering the season, Amaya was thinking about playing, not coaching.
“I wanted to play this year actually, I still want to play, but the fact of the matter is playing won’t take me much further. I was surprised at first when coach Ridnour stepped down, but it makes sense to me. I had a lot of fun under coach Ridnour,” Amaya says.
Amaya is the first person to win IBL Championships as both a player and a coach. But now under the title of head coach, look for Amaya to thrive similar to his playing career. Amaya has assembled a very talented team highlighted by Bellingham Slam veteran 6'2" G Jacob Stevenson, rookie 6'3" G Sam Freeman, and second year Slam player 5’11” G Rico Wilkins.
“My goals for the season are to have fun, and to be competitive. We want to be the best,” Amaya concludes.
The Slam will host their second home game of the season, third overall, at Whatcom Pavilion this Friday, 7:00pm against the Portland Chinooks.
Opening weekend game recaps
Jacob Stevenson led Bellingham with 23 points in their season opener.
Photo by Jon Bergman
The 2014 IBL season opened with big wins from some of the top contenders for the championship, the Bellingham Slam, Portland Chinooks and Vancouver Volcanoes.
On April 25, the Bellingham Slam rang in the new season by hosting the Seattle Flight as the team celebrated its 2013 championship with its veteran and rookie players alike. On the court, it was all Bellingham as the Slam won easily, 142-93. Jacob Stevenson, the IBL’s all-time leading scorer, picked up right where he left off in 2013, leading his team with 23 points. But perhaps most impressive was the play of Bellingham’s rookies, who combined for 62 points and were led by Sam Freeman with 22 points.
But the Slam weren’t able to savor that win for long, as they had a quick turnaround and headed on the road to face the Vancouver Volcanoes in their home opener on April 26. The Volcanoes got outstanding efforts from a pair of former IBL MVP’s in Chehales Tapscott (2013) and 6’2” G Andre Murray (2012) as they combined for 72 points in a 127-115 win. The win was by no means easy as the game was tied at halftime and Vancouver wasn’t able to pull away until midway through the fourth quarter. The second half was the key to the Volcanoes victory, as they put up 71 points on Bellingham’s defense in the half.
In other IBL action, the Portland Chinooks opened their season on the road in Southern California for the first games as part of the IBL-WCBL partnership. On April 25 the Chinooks faced the Santa Barbara Breakers in a re-match of the last game the Breakers played in the IBL in 2007, and came away with a 137-125 victory. Things proved much easier for Portland the next night, as they easily took care of the Los Angeles Team Macleem 127-96.
Bellingham Slam Dance Team