With a stinging loss earlier in the season to Highline weighing heavy on his mind, Titans head coach Carl Howell wondered which team would show up on Feb. 11 at home – the one that took the court in Burien that night, or the one that is now at full health with point guard Josh Lord back from a seven-game stint on the injured list. He got his answer early. Lord led the way with 13 points, nine assists and six rebounds as TCC ran away and hid from the Thunderbirds 90-51 to improve their record to 8-3 in league play, two games behind first-place Pierce College.
“This was one of our best games of the year,” said Howell. “It definitely was our best defensive game of the year. We’ll need more games with this defensive mentality down the stretch.”
While Lord did a masterful job of directing the offense, he was not alone in contributing to this dominating win, with Damani Coley leading the Titans with 17 points, including a 4-for-5 performance from beyond the arc. Ex-Wilson Ram Jibreel Stevens chipped in with 13 points on the night, and Curtis grad Julian Vaughn added 10 points for TCC.
“Highline is a tough team, although you would not know it by the score tonight,” Lord said. “That first game was weighing heavily on our mind, but we went out and took care of business early.”
The Titans got off to a quick start, with Coley hitting early treys and punctuating his performance with a soaring, driving dunk inside the last two minutes of the first half to help take a commanding 49-28 lead at the break.
“We got to put our transition game on full display tonight,” Howell said. “It was a far cry from our worst game of the year, (which was) our loss to them in Burien.”
With early-season worries about his team’s consistency behind him, Howell will now get his team to focus on the upcoming five games to close the season and the NWAACC tournament.
“We’re going to need this effort on a nightly basis and with Josh’s return, that certainly will aid our cause, needless to say,” Howell said.
Lord, whose play resembles his All-Narrows League days at Mount Tahoma, is looking forward to the rest of the season. “This league has such a wealth of talent on a night-in, night-out basis, but we feel we can play with anyone, and we’ll definitely have to maintain our consistency through the NWAACC tournament.”