Panthers score historic win

PCC's men's basketball team clinches its first berth in NWAACC tourney
Feb. 19, 2014 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal
PCC players and coaches celebrate Wednesday.
Photo by Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

PORTLAND - The wait is over for the Portland Community College men's basketball program.

After 29 years of consistent futility, the Panthers finally reached the NWAACC tournament.

A 32-point effort from Josh Turner, and a late-game run capped a 111-106 victory over the visiting Chemeketa Storm Wednesday to clinch at least a tie for first place in the NWAACC Southern Division.

With only a road game at Southwestern Oregon remaining on their schedule, the Panthers can finish no worse than a three-way tie for first. With four teams headed to the 16-team tournament, Portland is in, only two years removed from a winless season.

"It's a great feeling to get the program to the tournament for the first time, especially with a game like this," PCC coach Tony Broadous said. "Our guys put in a lot of hard work to make this happen, and it paid off.

"Now, we'll see about winning the division."

Chemeketa got a stellar performance from guard Bryce White, but couldn't hold off the Panthers, who trailed by nine twice early in the second half.

Portland improved to 19-8 overall and 10-3 in division play, while Chemeketa dropped to 12-13, 8-5. The Storm is still in line for a tournament berth with a game against Linn-Benton Saturday.

Wednesday's game featured a tense second half in which the lead changed 11 times and there were eight ties, the last at 99-all. The Panthers then got a 3-pointer from Turner with 1:38 left, and a basket on their next possession for a 104-99 lead and hit seven of eight free throws in the final minute to close out the win.