Volcanoes head into playoffs with OT victory

Tarver ties game late, helps Vancouver pull away in extra period

By Matt Calkins, Columbian Sports Reporter

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photoVancouver Volcanoes Durrell Nevels lays the ball in over Olympia Reign center Thomas Cook during Sunday's game at the O'Connell Center.

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photoVancouver Volcanoes Antwan Williams shoots against the Olympia Reign during Sunday's game.

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Josh Tarver missed 10 shots for the Vancouver Volcanoes Sunday night.

Exactly zero of them will be remembered.

What fans on hand will recall are the two he made when his team needed him most.

After the Volcanoes rallied from seven points down in the final two minutes, Tarver knocked down a 3-pointer to tie the score with just more than 20 seconds left in regulation. The 21-footer sent the game into overtime, and in that extra period, the former Oregon State guard put Vancouver up by four after slithering his way to a lay-up on an isolation with under a minute to go.

The final result was a 129-123 win over the Olympia Reign at the O’Connell Sports Center.

The victory itself was not significant. The way it happened was.

“You always want a momentum game going into the playoffs,” said Tarver, who finished with 17 points and nine assists. “We didn’t panic. You win a game like that, and it gives a little boost.”

Sunday was the final regular-season game for the Volcanoes (12-6), who sit in second place in the International Basketball League’s Continental Division. However, they are 10-0 at home, and considering Vancouver is hosting the playoffs, have to like their chances of capturing the title.

But if they are to do so, they can’t afford too many slip-ups, which were abundant Sunday.

Despite leading by 13 points at halftime, Vancouver watched the Reign (6-12) slowly chip away at the deficit before going out in front in the second half. Nate Menefee scored 26 of his 31 points in the first half as Olympia shot 61 percent from the field.

It didn’t let up.

The Reign led 118-111 with less than two minutes to go before buckets from Tarver, Devin Uskoski and Andre Murray brought the Volcanoes back. And even though the game had no postseason ramifications, Murray, who led all scorers with 33 points, wasn’t happy with his team’s play after the first quarter.

“We get lazy, I’m not going to lie,” he said. “You look at the score sometimes and play down to your opponent.”

Uskoski added 23 points for Vancouver while Jake Carlisle posted 16. Volcanoes forward Lawrence Blackledge struggled offensively, scoring just six points on 3 of 13 shooting, but came up with two key blocks in overtime.

The playoffs begin Friday at O’Connell Sports Center.

VANCOUVER VOLCANOES 129, OLYMPIA REIGN 123, OT

OLYMPIA (6-12) — Menefee 11-27 6-6 31, Abraham 12-20 3-7 27, McClinon 0-0 0-0 0, Whittaker 7-15 2-5 20, Richardson 8-11 4-6 20, Cook 2-3 0-0 4, Ward 7-18 3-5 19, Feliciano 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 48-95 18-29 123.

VANCOUVER (12-6) — Lechtenberg 1-4 0-0 3, Bloodsaw 1-1 1-2 4, Williams 4-7 2-2 12, Tarver 7-17 2-3 17, Hartman 1-3 0-0 2, Blackledge 3-13 0-0 6, Murray 13-25 4-7 33, Uskoski 9-12 3-6 23, Carlisle 7-12 2-4 16, Nevels 6-7 1-2 13, Moritz 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 52-102 15-26 129.

Olympia 22 40 24 34 3—123

Vancouver 35 28 25 32 9—129