July 1, 2017
Stafford shines in Pro-Am debut, Slam wins 115-111
A tip-in by guard Taylor Stafford with just over a minute left broke apart a tie game and capped an outstanding debut performance as the Bellingham Slam defeated the Vancouver Battle, 115-111, in the opening game of the 2017 Seattle Pro-Am at Royal Brougham Pavilion on Saturday.
Stafford finished with 28 points and added 10 rebounds, pacing a Slam offense that was matched for most of the game by Vancouver's hot-shooting guards.
A three-pointer by guard Morris Anderson midway through the second quarter gave the Slam their biggest lead of the day, at 50-36, before Vancouver guards Diego Kapelan and Dimitri Harris put up a barrage of shots to eliminate the deficit and take a 63-62 lead into halftime for the Battle. The pair of Vancouver guards combined for 50 of their team's 63 first half points.
An evenly played third quarter saw the Slam outscore Vancouver 26-25 to knot the score at 88-all heading into fourth.
Both teams jockeyed for the lead throughout the fourth quarter, with neither side able to pit together any sort of scoring run. With the Slam trailing by two with five minutes left, forward Tyler Amaya nailed a deep three-pointer followed by a steal and a bucket to take a 105-102 lead.
Vancouver re-tied the game with 1:30 left on another three-pointer by Kapelan, his seventh of the game, which set up Stafford's go-ahead bucket on the Slam's next possession.
After the Slam defense stood tall on Vancouver's following possession, guard Paul Hafford iced the win with a pair of clutch free throw makes.
Stafford's 28 points were good enough for team-high honors for Bellingham. Five others scored in double-figures, with Amaya posting a double-double of 20 points and a team-best 11 boards.
For Vancouver, Kapelan led all scorers with 40 points, while Harris finished with 32.
The Slam returns to action next weekend on Saturday, July 8 when then face the Kitsap Admirals. Tip-off is set for 1:30pm at Seattle Pacific University's Royal Brougham Pavilion.