Basketball Provides a March to Remember

We've all heard of "March Madness," and perhaps witnessed it via TV. But this time around, hundreds of Seattle Pacific University basketball fans seized the opportunity to join their team in the middle of it.

For those who commuted from campus and the Puget Sound area to the NCAA Division II Men's West Regional in Ellensburg, Washington, March 4-6, the Falcons certainly made the trip worthwhile. Sixth-seeded SPU sent shock waves through the entire national tournament for the second year in a row by knocking off two nationally ranked foes before bowing out in overtime of the regional championship game.

Paced by the scoring exploits of regional MVP Jeff McBroom and the sharp shooting of Ryan Sowards, the Falcons first disposed of Hawaii Pacific, 83-61, by hitting 15 three-pointers. The highlight of the season, however, was a date with defending NCAA champion and No. 4-rated UC Davis in the regional semifinal.

Urged along by SPU fans and some 2,500 Central Washington supporters watching the game in their home gym, the Falcons fought back from 21 points down at halftime. A Kory Leadon basket with 8 seconds remaining, followed by a McBroom steal and free throws, were the final strokes to the 73-68 victory over the Aggies.

A gritty, defensive battle then ensued between SPU and Cal State San Bernardino, with the winner advancing to the Elite Eight. Tied at halftime, at the end of regulation and with two minutes left in overtime, San Bernardino scored the game's last seven points to finally end the Falcons' postseason run, 74-67.

"Someday we'll host this tournament and we'll win it," said Seattle Pacific Coach Ken Bone, whose team has advanced to the regional final four of the past five years. "I guarantee it." Besides the team tying the record for wins by finishing 23-8, McBroom became the school's first All-America selection in 33 years. He was named the PacWest Player of the Year and broke several SPU records, including highest season scoring average (24.3).

While the men stayed close to home, the women's basketball team was in Davis, California, where they made the NCAA playoffs for the third consecutive year. Unfortunately the Falcons fell victim to their arch-nemesis, Western Washington, in an overtime game in the first round.

SPU, which was 19-10 overall, will return three of its five starters next season, including all-conference pick Gus Balogh.

SPU Offers Summer Sports Camps for Youth

Ask any Seattle Pacific University coach and they'll tell you that success stems from attitude, effort and sound fundamental skills. The Falcons offer young people the chance to learn these traits in summer sports camps.

Basketball day camps for both boys and girls are conducted by Seattle Pacific coaches in Brougham Pavilion on campus. Boys ages 7-17 have two sessions - June 21-24 and August 2-5 - from which to choose. The girls camp, June 28-July 2, is geared for those entering grades 5-9 next fall.

Also offered is a resident running camp at the Casey Conference Center on Whidbey Island. Former Olympic runner and legendary SPU Coach Doris Heritage takes campers through their paces July 25-30.

Of course, there are also classes at the Falcon Gymnastics Center on campus and summer-long sessions of resident and day camps offered through Cliff McCrath's Northwest Soccer Camp at Casey.

For more information on SPU summer sports camps, call 206/281-2085. For Northwest Soccer Camp details, call 206/281-2904.

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Copyright © 1999 University Communications, Seattle Pacific University.

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