Volcanoes hit stride late in victory

By Greg Jayne, Columbian opinion editor

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Chehales Tapscott had 33 points and 19 rebounds and triggered a fourth-quarter onslaught Sunday for the Vancouver Volcanoes.

The Volcanoes (10-3) pulled away over the last eight minutes for a 118-105 International Basketball League victory over the Nippon Tornadoes at Clark College.

That was a far cry from a 33-point win over the Tornadoes nine days earlier.

"We were basically without three starters," Vancouver coach Joe Navarro said. "They came out and hit shots; they played very well. They're well-coached."

Among the missing for the Volcanoes were guard Andre Murray (ankle) and center Gjio Bain (knee). Navarro said he expects both players to return Saturday when the Volcanoes host the East Bay Pit Bulls.

With the score tied at 94 with eight minutes to play, Paul Hafford gave Vancouver the lead for good with a runner in the lane.

Tapscott then converted a three-point play following a tip-in, and moments later added a 3-point shot. He then had a blocked shot that led to a Josh Tarver layup that gave the Volcanoes a 104-96 lead.

A reverse dunk by Tapscott on a breakaway and a tomahawk dunk by Hafford contributed to a 24-11 Vancouver run to close the game.

Tapscott finished 14 of 18 from the field for Vancouver. Hafford finished with 24 ponts, eight rebounds, and six assists, while Josh Tarver had 20 points, nine rebounds, and five assists. Mike Ward added 13 ponts and seven assists.

Nippon, a Japan-based team that plays home games in Portland and has a mix of Japanese players and American players, was led by Marcus Bradford with 32 points and Hikaru Sasaki with 18.

Vancouver dominated the boards with a 64-38 rebounding edge, but struggled to find consistency on offense with a makeshift lineup.

"Paul played great," Navarro said of Hafford, "Mike Ward, too. Everybody played OK, but we're still dealing with some chemistry issues."