Playoffs begin for Bellingham Slam


Each of the past two seasons the Bellingham Slam have ended its year with an International Basketball League championship.

The Slam (13-3), who begin their playoff push against either Salem or Seattle in the semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 28, in Vancouver, Wash. after earning a first-round bye, are looking to three-peat, but one team in particular stands in their path: the Vancouver Volcanoes.

Bellingham had reeled off 12 straight wins after starting the season 1-2, but the Slam enter the 2014 Playoffs after losing their regular-season finale at home against Vancouver in a 139-137 shootout.

The win was Vancouver's first victory in Bellingham since the Slam joined the IBL in 2008.

But before Bellingham looks forward to a possible matchup against a Vancouver team that owns a 2-2 record against the Slam this season, the Whatcom County-based club will need to take care of business against either Salem or Seattle.

Bellingham is untested against Salem but has beaten Seattle four times. The most recent win was a lopsided 139-118 victory June 20. It was that same game the Slam clinched the No.1 playoff seed.

Bellingham has been led by some familiar faces from the past including former Western Washington University standouts Morris Anderson and Jacob Stevenson. Anderson is averaging a team-best 21.9 points per game, while Stevenson is putting up 20.4 a night.

Blake Poole has served as the Slam's enforcer in the paint with his team-high 15.4 rebounds per game. He's also contributing 18.2 points per game.

And Rico Wilkins, who won a national title with the Vikings, was selected IBL Player of the Week for last week's strong performances. He's chipping in 13.8 a contest.

Reach ANDREW LANG at or call ext. 862.

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