The whistle sounded and the ball was tossed. Both the South Puget Sound Community College Clippers and Pierce College Raiders jumped for the ball, but the Raiders took position and scored the first basket.
The Raiders gave the Clippers a run for their money Saturday night. Most of them were taller than the Clippers and really knew how to work as a team and handle the ball.
On the Raiders side, there were some players that really made it difficult for the Clippers in the first period. Alix Hernandez and Brandon Thomas scored 24 points between the them out of the team’s 39 points.
However, on the Clipper side, William Sharp and Tabrion Leverette tried hard to lead the team to push forward in the first period. Even with Leverette and Sharp leading the team in points and in spirit on the court, the Clippers were no match against the Raiders.
The Raiders were strong, fast, and aggressive and knew the meaning of team work whereas the Clippers just suffered as the Raiders got more points from free throws, more points off of turn-overs and more rebounds.
Outside factors may have contributed to the Clippers’ performance. Both Marc Taylor and Leverette were suffering from some back pain they had received prior to game night.
As the first period came to an end with the Raiders leading 39-21, Coach Norwood held his head low in dismay, not knowing what was to come of the second period.
The Clippers appeared to have devised a plan during halftime, as they came out with a strong showing at the opening of the third period.
In the first few minutes of the second half, Leverette got the rebound and took ball all the way down the court and surprised everyone when he made a slam dunk. The Clippers had tied the Raiders for the first time in the game and sent a message to the Raiders.
Just after the slam dunk, the Raiders called a full timeout. The crowd went wild. The girls basketball team was there giving support, even Dr. Pumphrey who was for the first time not wearing a suit was getting into the intensity of the game.
Even with all the support and cheering from the crowd, the Clippers failed to hold back the unmerciful Raiders. The two teams took turns with turnovers and gaining possession of the ball. The Clippers even took the lead at one point but it would not be enough.
The Clippers eventually lost the game 71-62.
Even though both Leverette and Taylor got four personal fouls in the second period that may have hurt the Clippers, Coach Norwood said, “we won the second half.”
Regardless of how bad the first period went and though they lost the game, the Clippers came out hard in the second half and surprised both the Raiders and their fans.