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Storm men’s basketball makes playoff push

Photo of the Chemeketa men's basketball team.

Chemeketa’s men’s basketball team. Photo by Terri Jacobson.

We’re nearing the end of winter, which means playoff season is almost upon us. The Chemeketa Storm Men’s Basketball Team has had a fairly up and down season. However, they are looking to make some noise come playoff time.

The team is led by Head Coach David Abderhalden, who has coached basketball for 28 years, 25 of which have been for Chemeketa.

“It’s high intensity, but it pushes us to be better everyday,” freshman guard Jason Richey said when asked about the team environment under Coach Abderhalden.

With a record of 16-10 overall, 7-7 in division play, the Storm is an average team on the fringe of securing a playoff spot. However, Chemeketa seems to thrive on home turf, winning seven out of ten games held in Salem.

In January of this year, the team began division play against Lane Community College who, at the time, was jockeying for a playoff spot. The game went into a five minute overtime, which resulted in a tough loss for the Storm. Despite the defeat, the Storm had a number of highlights throughout the game. Jack Frazier scored 18 points and gathered 13 rebounds. Eric Mckinstry II came off the bench to score 16 points as well.

The most notable win of the season came against the visiting Portland Community College Panthers, who hold one of the best records in the NWAC (23-5). Behind as much as 15 points in the first half, the Storm went on to outscore the Panthers 38-29 to send the game into overtime. Some key defensive stops helped the Storm come out with the edge, winning the game 89-88. Frazier led the team in scoring once again with a surging 25 points, shooting 2-3 from behind the three point line. Stepan Zavydovskyy was also a key factor in the win. He swatted away eight shots to go along with his 12 points and 11 boards.

It’s clear that the team can compete against anyone, considering they beat one of the best teams in the NWAC. However, there is still room for improvement for a team that’s in the middle of their conference.

“We’ve scored the ball pretty well. We can always improve our defense, keep getting stops,” said Richey.

“Right now our big thing is improving our focus,” said Abderhalden. “We tend to have mental lapses. When we’re focused we play really well.”

Many of the team’s losses, four of which had a six point difference, have been very close.

“We use it [a tough loss] as motivation for the next game,” said Richey, when asked about how the team deals with loss. “So we kinda just forget about it, but keep the steam there and use it as motivation.”

“The big focus is on not dwelling on it but learning from it. That’s kind of where that whole focus piece comes in,” said Abderhalden. “I think every player and every coach goes in to a season wanting to win a championship, but truly the way we get there is by seeing constant daily improvement,

“I learned a long time ago that success isn’t defined by our win-loss record, it’s defined by the growth of the group.”

Bracket placement for the 2018 NWAC men’s basketball playoffs will take place on Sunday, March 4 during the Basketball Tournament Selection Show. Tournament play begins on Saturday, March 10 at Everett Community College in Everett, Washington.

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