August 19, 2017
Slam runs out of gas in Seattle Pro-Am quarterfinals
The Bellingham Slam couldn't sustain an early offensive barrage as they fell to Team N.F.A., 106-87, in the quarterfinals of the Seattle Pro-Am playoffs on Saturday at Royal Brougham Pavilion.
The 19-point margin on the scoreboard marked the biggest loss for the Slam in over six years.
The Slam started the game on a tear, racing out to a 20-4 lead midway through the first quarter thanks in part to a trio of three-pointers from guard Taylor Stafford.
But Team N.F.A., whose roster featured NBA veterans Spencer Hawes and Mason Plumlee, as well as local standouts Tre Simmons and Kevin Porter, didn't buckle and put together a run which trimmed the Slam's lead to six, at 31-24, at the first quarter break.
The second quarter was nothing short of a disaster for Bellingham, which posted a franchise-low 12 points in the period. N.F.A.'s first quarter scoring run spilled over into the second, and a dunk by Plumlee less than three minutes in gave his team their first lead, at 32-31. N.F.A. continued to pile on and led the Slam 56-43 at halftime.
N.F.A. scored the first seven points of the third quarter to extend their lead to 20 before the Slam was finally able to stop the deficit from growing any further.
Doomed by poor shooting throughout the second half, the Slam was unable to make much headway on a comeback, only trimming N.F.A.'s lead to 14, at 75-61, after guard Trazil Lane completed a three-point play late in the third quarter.
With a comfortable lead established, Team N.F.A. coasted through the fourth quarter to earn a berth in the Pro-Am semifinals set for Sunday.
Taylor Stafford led the Slam in scoring for the seventh time this season with 29 points, while Trazil Lane hustled his way to 18 points on 8-on-12 shooting.
Mason Plumlee led N.F.A. with 38 points and 16 rebounds, both game highs. Kevin Porter had 28 points while Spencer Hawes finished with 9.
Team N.F.A. advances to face the Kitsap Admirals in Sunday's semifinal round, while the Slam ends their season with a 5-4 overall record.