It has all seemed so easy for the Tacoma Community College Titans under coach Carl Howell.
With him at the helm, TCC has not only made the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges’ men’s basketball tournament for an entire decade, the Titans have also advanced at least to the final eight every year.
That streak was extended to 11 years after the defending NWAACC champions beat Peninsula College, 73-60, in the opening round at the Toyota Center in Kennewick on Saturday.
Julian Vaughn led four Titans in double figures with 16 points and seven rebounds.
Demetrius Smith added 15 points for TCC, Darius Johnson-Wilson had 13, and Josh Lord scored 12.
“I really think we have seven or eight guys who can score in double figures,” Howell said. “We just need to get four or five of them going like that.”
Fifth-ranked TCC (20-8) got a bit of an unexpected boost, as well. Injured starter Darnell Williams (foot) played four minutes – and could see more playing time as the tournament unfolds.
TCC plays Chemeketa in a rematch of last year’s championship game at 2 p.m. today.
Bellevue 80, Tacoma 53: The Titans were buried by an opening 17-1 run in the first seven minutes, and lost their morning opener in Kennewick.
Alexus Grant led the Titans (15-10) with 24 points.
TCC made just five of 28 shots in the first half.