Hoops fans can witness professional basketball on the local court as the International Basketball League’s (IBL) Bellingham Slam are coming to Blaine High School.
The Bellingham Slam will host the Houston Strikers at the high school gymnasium Friday, June 13. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Friday’s contest will mark the third straight season in which the Slam will host a home game in Blaine. Last season, the Slam won 105–91 against the Seattle Flight, a team that featured former Washington Husky Venoy Overton on its roster.
Entering the final stretch of the 2014 season, the Slam is in first place with an 11–2 record. After opening the season with two losses in its first three games, Bellingham is now riding a 10-game winning streak.
With three games remaining in the regular season, the squad is gunning for a fourth consecutive number one seed at the IBL playoff tournament, where the team hopes to pick up its third straight league championship.
The Slam will make its Blaine visit with a new coach on the sideline, as longtime coach Rob Ridnour stepped down prior to the start of the season. Tyler Amaya, who played for the Slam from 2008 to 2011 and served as Ridnour’s assistant coach in 2013, took over coaching duties this season and recently returned to the court as a player-coach to give his team a boost heading towards the playoffs.
A trio of veteran players leads the Slam this season: center Blake Poole, guard Morris Anderson and guard Jacob Stevenson. Each is averaging at least 18 points per game, with Anderson leading the way with a 21.1-point scoring average and a 50-percent success rate on shots from three-point range. Poole is the team and league leader in rebounding, pulling down 15.4 boards per game.
The Slam’s top rookie this season is guard Sam Freeman, who joined the Slam after an outstanding career across the border at University of the Fraser Valley. Freeman is averaging 15 points per game.
Houston comes into Friday’s match with a 6–0 regular season record. The two teams have met once before, in 2013, with Bellingham winning 106–86.
Following Friday’s contest in Blaine, the Slam has two more home games remaining. On June 20, the Slam will host the Seattle Flight at Skagit Valley College in Mount Vernon, and then on June 22 the team wraps up the regular season at their usual home venue of Whatcom Pavilion against the Vancouver Volcanoes.