Slam wins shootout, grabs 2012 IBL title

The Bellingham Slam rode a big second quarter effort to a 142-109 victory over the Portland Chinooks to claim the 2012 International Basketball League Championship on Sunday evening inside a raucous Whatcom Pavilion.

Trailing 31-30 after a back-and-forth first quarter, the Slam posted 40 points in the second, with 23 coming from guard Morris Anderson (6’3”-G, college: W.Washington) and center Blake Poole (6’5”-C-88, agency: Scorers 1st Sportmanagement, college: St.Martin’s) combined. The turning point came with 2:19 left as Anderson drained a three-pointer that sparked a 12-4 run to round out the half. Bellingham led 70-60 in halftime.

Portland prevented the deficit from getting any worse until the late stages of the third quarter, when the Slam again manufactured a late run. Bellingham scored 11 of the quarter’s last 14 points as they extended their lead to 20, at 101-81.

In the fourth quarter, the Slam offense put on a clinic, outscoring the Chinooks 41-28 and at one point putting up 16 straight tallies to turn the result into a laugher. Veteran guard Jared Stevenson ended the scoring with a fade-away baseline shot as time expired, sending the Pavilion crowd into a confetti-launching frenzy.

The 33-point margin of victory was the largest for a championship-winning team in the IBL since the league was formed in 2005.

For the Slam, the title is the team’s second in franchise history after coming away with their first championship victory in 2008 over the Elkhart Express. Bellingham reached the title game again in 2010, but lost to the Albany Legends.

Anderson led the Slam with 29 points, including a 4-for-5 showing from three-point range, and picked up the game’s Most Valuable Player honors. Guard Jacob Stevenson (6’4”-G-81, college: W.Washington) finished with 27 points and a season-high 11 assists, while Poole rounded out a fine sophomore season with 23 points and a game-high 15 rebounds.

Portland forward David Lucas (6’8”-F-82, agency: Edge Sports, college: Oregon St.) led four Chinooks players in double figures with 30 points. Guard Ryan Scott added 22 points but was hindered by 11 turnovers. As a team, Portland gave away the ball 31 times.

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