The Pierce Raiders beat the South Puget Sound Clippers 100-51 Wednesday, Feb. 5. By the end of the first half, Raiders led 51-21 and maintained their lead throughout the second half.
The team scored 17 points by free throws and a steep 31 points off turnovers. Starter guard Devin Matthews finished with nine assists by the end of the game, compared to leading Clippers guard Slanblaytee Kaye, who led their team with only five. With 42.5 percent of offensive rebounds made, Pierce also nearly doubled the 21.4 percent made by South Puget Sound. The Raiders quickly racked up the points over the game with 33 points from 3-point shots.
Holding a record of 16 wins and five losses over the season, Raiders men’s basketball is currently in second place in the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges west region and will compete at the NWAACC championships. The team, comprised of five freshmen and six sophomores, has four returning players and three transfer students from other junior colleges. Guards Gary Jacobs and Devin Matthews were recruited to play with the Raiders from Las Vegas, and front guard Isaac Barsh transferred to play with Pierce from a local junior college.
“The players are unselfish. It makes it more fun for everyone; everyone has a chance to score,” head coach Bill Mendelson said. “The advantage of having returning players is they know the system. They set the pace.”
The team agrees with this philosophy of teamwork.
“We trust each other with the ball. We can’t be selfish with it,” guard Mike Royster said.
Mendelson never sat down for longer than two seconds throughout the game, actively scrutinizing every move and shouting directions across the court.
“[Coach Mendelson] know’s what he’s doing. He’s very knowledgeable,” Royster said. “[Mendelson’s] very competitive,” added Barsh.
The Raiders’ biggest regional competitor this year is Clark Community College, with 18 wins and one loss this season. The last game against Clark was close; the Raiders lost by a three-point margin. Pierce Raiders will play against the Clark Penguins in Vancouver, Wash. on Feb. 17 to determine this year’s west region victors.
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