Crown them again. The Bellingham Slam just can't be beat in the International Basketball League playoffs. For the third straight year, the Slam won the IBL prize.
The Bellingham Slam looked determined to cash in on their three-peat opportunity as they dominated most of the contest against the Vancouver Volcanoes in a rematch of last season's IBL finals. Bellingham earned the victory 143-126 on Sunday, June 29, at Clark College. The Slam became the first team to ever win three straight IBL championships.
The Slam were paced by 2014 IBL All-Star Morris Anderson. Anderson scored 31 points on 9-for-14 shooting from the field, and 4-for-7 shooting from downtown. Anderson tallied 41 points in Bellingham's opening IBL playoff contest against the Seattle Flight the previous night.
In addition to Anderson's excellent play, the Slam turned in a balanced performance as the team shot 48.4% from the field, and a game-changing 45.2% from beyond the arc.
Six players scored in double figures, and Bellingham outrebounded Vancouver 55-49. Bellingham's 3-point shot turned the tide, as they fired 42 total 3-pointers on the evening, and cashed in on 19.
Between Anderson, Austin Bragg, and Tyler Amaya, the trio shot 25-for-34 from 3-point range.
Rookie Austin Bragg took home 2014 IBL Finals MVP honors with 27 points and 12 rebounds. Adding to Bragg's excitement was the fact he was playing at Clark College, where he played college ball until he transferred to Western Washington University before his junior season.
Vancouver did battle throughout the contest, but never were able to capture the lead at any point.
As much as Bellingham enjoyed success from 3-point range, Vancouver struggled only hitting 32.1% of their shots. Andre Murray finished with 31 points and 11 rebounds for the Volcanoes, while Brian Morris chipped in 17 points and seven rebounds. The energetic crowd at Clark College delivered their best effort to help their team cut the lead down, but in the end Bellingham's opportunistic style, and back-breaking shot making proved to be too much.
After securing the No. 1 seed after finishing with the best record during the regular season, the Slam only had to defeat the Seattle Flight on Saturday, June 28. The Slam dispatched the Flight easily, winning 136-105 to setup the match with Vancouver.
Aside from Anderson's 41, Rico Wilkins added 24 and five other players scored in double figures. Blake Poole couldn't reach double figures in scoring on Saturday, but did haul in 20 rebounds to help the Slam outrebound the Flight 70-38.