Evergreen loses home opener

November 19, 2003

by James J. Portune

OLYMPIA, WA -- Head coach John Barbee got the consistency from junior transfer Walter Tucker (Jackson, Miss./Wingfield H.S.) that he was hoping for. Tucker's 22 points was his second straight twenty point outing. What Barbee did not get was playing time for his point guard, as senior Kareen Fielding (Sacramento, Calif./Burbank H.S.) saw less than 5 minutes of playing time in the second half, which contributed significantly to Evergreen's 92-76 pre-season loss to the visiting Lewis-Clark State College (0-0 conference, 4-0 overall), ranked fifteenth in the NAIA Div I Pre-Season poll.

In the seven-year history of the Evergreen-Lewis-Clark State rivalry all but one of the games have been closely contested events, with the victory winning by a mere six points or less. Tonight's contest was no different. From the opening tip both teams traded baskets. At the mid-point break Lewis-Clark State held a slim two-point lead, 39-37, and both teams were shooting just over 40% from the field.

That all changed when Fielding picked up his fourth foul early in the second half and Barbee's only option was to send in a substitution. From then on it was the Danny Allen show. With Fielding on the bench, Evergreen did not have any players quick enough to contain Lewis-Clark's point guard, who made score 19 of his game high 24 points in the second period.

With two games under their belt, the personality of the 2003-04 Evergreen Men's Basketball team is beginning to emerge.

With back-to-back twenty point games, 17 rebounds in two games, and over thirty minutes of playing time each game, Tucker has positioned himself as the go-to player.

Senior Adam Laneer (Tumwater, Wash./Tumwater H.S.) picked up where he left off last season (11.7 points per game) by scoring 15 points at Saint Martin's last week and recording 10 points tonight.

Junior transfer Julius Marshall (Issaquah, Wash./Issaquah H.S.) has filled the shoes of last year's utility man Devon Jones. At 6'6" and 230 lbs, Marshall holds his own in the paint and tenaciously fights for every rebound. Against Saint Martin's last week he opened the season with a 10 rebound performance. Tonight, he reeled in 4 rebounds, 3 offensive and 1 defensive, against a much bigger and bulker Lewis-Clark team.

With a team full of athletic forwards, Evergreen is difficult to defend outside the three-point arc. All nine Geoducks players, who have seen more than 10 minutes of playing time, have already made a three-point basket. But if you have been to a game, you know that the team looks to senior Ben Riipi (Puyallup, Wash./Puyallup H.S.) and junior transfer Josh Peterson (Winlock, Wash./Winlock H.S.) as their go-to three point threats.

The player that has improved his game the most from last season is senior Tygann Billow (Bellevue, Wash./Sammamish H.S.). Last season he was primary a stand-still three point shooter. This season he has repeatedly left his defender standing flat-footed on the perimeter, as he drives to the basket for a lay-up. Tonight, Billow has a very solid game, with 7 points, 5 rebounds, a game high 6 assists, and no turnovers.

Evergreen's next game will be on the road, as they travel to Lewiston, Idaho, to play in the KOZE Clearwater River Casino Classic. This four-team event, hosted by Lewis-Clark State College, will also be attended by Pacific Lutheran University and Vancouver, B.C. based Malaspina University.