Determined Pioneers harbor tourney hopes
- jason vondersmith
- Portland Tribune - Sports
On College Hoops
By the end of the season, Lewis and Clark hopes to be in contention to make the NCAA Division III national tournament.
'We have a nice bull's-eye on us,' 19th-year coach Bob Gaillard says. 'And we don't have a good inside presence, a cause for concern. We don't get hands on the glass and defend the post well.'
The Pioneers (7-3) rely on 6-4 Geno Rivera and 6-3 Josh Kollasch to do a lot of the rebounding, and both players missed last week's loss to Pacific Lutheran. Kollasch has a strained knee ligament, and Rivera had a bout of flulike symptoms. Joey Toboni pulled his hamstring against the Lutes, who won 108-95.
'We have to get healthy,' Gaillard adds.
The Pioneers figured they would be a Northwest Conference contender, and the addition of Tyson Papenfuss has added to the expectations. Papenfuss prepped at Clackamas High, went on his two-year Mormon mission and then played two years at Mt. Hood Community College. A 6-5 perimeter player, he is averaging 15 points, while shooting .614 from the field.
Gaillard knew Papenfuss was considering Lewis and Clark last spring.
'He was so strong academically, we knew we had a chance,' Gaillard says, noting that Papenfuss has not received less than an A grade in high school or college. 'We've been waiting many years for Tyson.'
'He's a finesse player,' the coach adds. 'Great ball skills. Makes an array of midrange shots, draws fouls.'
The Pioneers have to start shooting better, though, to be at the top of the NWC. Their 3-point percentage is at .313 going into this weekend's games at Whitworth and Whitman; with limited height, it always helps if a team can shoot a decent 3-point percentage.
'Our kids can bounce the ball and make plays. We're hard to play against,' Gaillard says. 'But we've been shooting it poorly - Corey Allen and David Berggren are at 22 percent between them. So far, we've survived.'
Ex-Lincoln High standout Mark Robinowitz also averages 15 points, with Toboni at 11.1 and Thomas Tillery, formerly of Benson, at 10.6.
nMultnomah Bible College, a nondenominational Christian college at Northeast 84th Avenue and Glisan Street, has restarted its women's basketball program, which was shut down in 2002 for lack of interest.
Amy Thomas, a former coach and athletic director at Heritage Christian High School in Hillsboro, heads the program. The administration has given her a $20,000 annual budget and three years to build competitiveness and interest - 'to see if the program goes somewhere,' Thomas says.
The team is 2-15 with eight games left, with both victories over Northwest Indian College of Bellingham, Wash. The teams will play two more times.
Apparently, some girls at Multnomah approached Athletic Director Lois Vos about why the school didn't have women's basketball. The men's team, under the direction of coach Curt Bickley, plays a competitive schedule as a member of the Pacific Christian Athletic Association and National Christian College Athletic Association.
Thomas' team started with eight players, and two dropped out of hoops because of grades. The lack of bodies makes her coaching philosophy - push the ball, run, transition - hard to sustain. 'I've had to change it,' she says.
Thomas wants to have eight to 10 players on next year's team. One catch to recruiting is that players must declare Bible studies as one of their majors and participate in ministry. Plus, tuition and room and board, Thomas says, adds up to nearly $20,000 per year - and the school doesn't offer athletic scholarships.
Staff members, she says, get to pay discounted fees, though, and some of them have daughters who play basketball.
'I have a tough recruiting route,' Thomas says. 'I have to find really unique kids.'
It's been tough to lose games, the coach adds, but 'as far as the girls, and how they get along … in women's basketball, there can be cattiness, but these girls love each other. We don't have any drama, which is nice.'