Women’s basketball hopes to break 4-year slump

By Keenan Gray

For the last four years, the Whatcom Community College women’s basketball team has been at the bottom of the Northwest Athletic Conference, compiling an overall record of 32-80, with 18 conference wins.

Anthony Slater was hired this year as the team’s new head coach. Slater has already made an impact on the program, because of his prior experience in coaching. This has led multiple high school athletes to play at the collegiate level.

Slater has been coaching competitive basketball for the last seven years, starting with his own club basketball team, Washington Elite.  Most recently he worked as an assistant coach at Lane Community College in Oregon. When he heard there was an opening at Whatcom, he said he “couldn’t pass this up.”

“I had the opportunity to coach at the collegiate level at Lane as an assistant for two years,” said Slater. “When I heard there was an opening at Whatcom Community College for the women’s team, I decided to make that jump and it is probably the best decision I have made in my college coaching career.”

The women’s team had dropped its first two games of the season in exhibition play. They have won their last eight of 10 games going into their first conference game against Olympic College, which they lost 55-51 at Whatcom Pavilion, Wednesday Jan. 9.

Slater’s style of play is up-tempo and what some could consider a “run-and-gun” type of basketball. This include lots of shots taken and quick defensive possessions.

Gabrielle Edison, No. 21, looks to pass to Elisa Kooiman, No. 35, during a Jan. 9 game against Olympic College.
Gabrielle Edison, No. 21, looks to pass to Elisa Kooiman, No. 35, during a Jan. 9 game against Olympic College.

“I coach how I played,” he said. “For many years I played at such a fast pace, and when you look around this conference, all the teams that are successful play up-tempo basketball. I would try to utilize the resources we had on the court and put it all into one bowl. I think tempo basketball is the only way we can play.”

Statistically the team leads the conference in defensive and total rebounds, and field goals attempted per game. They are also second in the conference in points per game, and third in other multiple categories.

Sophomores Allison Hadaway and Elisa Kooiman, are two players on the team who have helped the Orcas this season on the offensive and defensive sides. Both Hadaway and Kooiman are fourth and fifth in the conference in scoring with 20.7 and 19.5 points per game.

According to Slater, both Kooiman and Hadaway’s energy and enthusiasm, coupled with their statistics, “is a big reason for the success they are having so far.”

“These two bring leadership. Besides all the scoring they do, they bring their toughness and are mentally in the game. That’s a coach’s dream, to be able to have two dynamic players on the floor, who can flat-out score in and out of the paint and defend, too. But more so, it’s the leadership they bring to the young players on this team.”

Kooiman, a transfer student from Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho, has returned to Whatcom County this season after having been in Idaho for a year with the Nighthawks as a bench player. Kooiman graduated from Lynden High School in 2017 and was All-Northwest Conference and State selection and a state champion for the Lions.

“I am overall happy with my decision to come back home,” said Kooiman. “Playing here at Whatcom, I have been having a lot of fun and I’ve gained back a lot of confidence that I lost a little bit last year.”

However, Kooiman said her time at Northwest Nazarene “has not only made me a better player, but an even better teammate and person.”

The women’s team is full of familiar faces with whom Kooiman had played against in her youth and in high school. Five women on the team from Whatcom County include Gabby Edison and Carmelita Rodriguez from Ferndale, Rachel Sande from Nooksack Valley, Samantha Hruby from Sehome, and Hannah Larkin from Squalicum.

“It’s really cool to get to know them off the court, since I have played against these girls since fifth grade. I did a little bit of training with them here and there, so I did kind of know them from that, but you really don’t get to know them till you play on the same team,” she said. “They have now become some of my best friends.”

Hruby and Edison are the third and fourth leading scorers on the team, averaging 11.3 and 9.7 points per game. Edison is also second on the team in rebounding averaging 8.1 total rebounds per game.

Slater said he knows his team can do damage to other teams further along in the season because of the confidence he has built into his players heads, which he says can lead to a playoff berth and a potential conference championship.

“I think for us it is just staying together till the end,” Slater said, “We want to keep the mindset on what got us here to this point. It isn’t about individuals here, it’s about a team and togetherness. We speak family and I think it speaks value because we are successful now. So we need to continue to work hard and stay focused, and I think we can accomplish big things.”

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Men’s basketball reaches new heights

By Keenan Gray

Whatcom’s men’s basketball program is known for recruiting tall, post players from local high schools around Whatcom County.

The men’s basketball team lacked the size last season and were unable to qualify for the conference tournament, finishing fifth in the North Division with an overall record of 13-15.

Head coach Tom Rawlings, who is in his third season, decided to keep his eyes on taller post players this offseason, due to the lack of the recruits in his first couple of seasons given they weren’t taller than 6 feet, 6 inches.

“The first couple of years, we really limited the size in the paint,” said Rawlings, “so, having somebody who can not only score on the block, but rebound as well. We got three kids now who are 6’7” and 6’8” and all of them have different skill sets, which is balancing things out well for us.”

Of those three post players, Dominik Oliveri, a 6-foot, 8-inch transfer from Western Washington University, has been a big presence on the court for Whatcom, putting up 12.9 points per game and leading the Northwest Athletic Conference in rebounds per game with 13.6.

Before Oliveri came to Whatcom County, the sophomore center started his basketball career in Spokane where he attended Lewis and Clark High School and was First Team All-Greater Spokane League his senior season, averaging 11.8 points, 10.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game.

“I wanted to look for a best-fit program,” Oliveri said. “I already began my education at Western and I wanted to continue that, so currently I am a dual-enrollment student. Instead of going home, I came to Whatcom and I have really enjoyed playing for Coach Rawlings. I wanted to go somewhere new away from Spokane and it has been great.”

It certainly has been a great start for both Oliveri and his team as they began their season with a 5-1 record, starting off with a 156-67 blowout over Northwest Indian College. Sophomore Grant Balvanz led all scorers with 44 points and broke a Whatcom men’s basketball record, making 14 three-point shots in a single game.

Oliveri says he comes from a city where basketball is considered a religion, as nearby Gonzaga University has been a dominating powerhouse at the NCAA Division I level the last 20 years, and the world’s largest 3-on-3 street basketball tournament is hosted in downtown Spokane every summer.

“I had season tickets to Gonzaga basketball games growing up, so I was strongly influenced by a lot of players that went through GU like J.P. Batista, Rob Sacre, and all other Gonzaga ‘bigs,’” Oliveri said. “I tried to take bits and pieces from how they played and began using them.”

Following the hot start of the season, the men’s team lost to Bellevue College 104-79 before hosting the Northwest Athletic Conference Tournament at Whatcom Pavilion, in which they consequently lost three games in three days.

After the Christmas break, Whatcom began the new year with a victory over Tacoma Community College 81-76. Sophomore Trazil Lane returned to the team for the first time all season because, according to Rawlings, he was not eligible at the beginning of the season. Lane scored a game high 21 points in that victory.

Lane was Second Team All-Northern Region in the Northwest Athletic conference last season averaging 18 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game as a freshman.

This season, Lane leads the team in scoring, putting up 22 points per game, and is second in rebounds per game with 8.

“Trazil is kind of a manchild,” Rawlings said, laughing, “He is a very athletic kid and is someone who played very well last season for us, so it is nice to get him back at this time of the year.”

Other returning players this season for the men’s team are guards Donovan Sellgren and Kenneth Savo, and forward Tevin Bayne. Both Bayne and Savo come from Alaska. Also from Alaska are forward Luke Beiser and center Garrett Fitt.

This is one of the most interesting things about this team as coach Rawlings just doesn’t recruit the local flavor around Whatcom County, but is willing to go out of state to recruit some top-notch players.

“Whatcom County has had a lot of talent through the years, we have chosen to go to Alaska specifically and have gotten numerous great players,” Rawlings said. “Many teams in the NWAC like to recruit all over the country, so what we do is nothing special. I have found for us that Alaska has been a good place for us and there is a lot of tough players from there.”

Whatcom opened conference play last week at home versus Olympic College and won 92-80. Three days later, they traveled down to Everett Community College where they lost 80-75, and in their most recent conference game, they beat Bellevue 93-85 on Jan. 16.

Currently the Orcas are 8-7 overall, 2-1 in conference play and are sitting in third place in the Northwest Athletic Conference North Division, behind Everett and Edmonds Community College.

There are a total of eight sophomores on this year’s team, and some of them will continue their basketball careers at the next level, while others will focus on their academics and pursue their intended majors.

Rawlings said he has grown to like this group and believes out of the teams he has coached in three years; this team has the potential to not only clinch a playoff spot but potentially make a deep run in postseason.

“Putting an NWAC banner up in our gym has been a goal for the last three years,” Rawlings said.

“I think this team has a great chance to do that, but the reality is that junior college is here for these guys to be able to move on to next level of college basketball,” Rawlings said. “Giving them the exposure at the conference tournament, extending their season and getting college coaches to look at them from the higher levels – I think we have been successful doing that the last three years, as we have six guys who are playing at the next level.”

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Film club expands its focus

By Sydney Mitchell

In the past, film club only focused on filmmaking, but this year Noah Pierce, this quarter’s club president, wanted to introduce a new concept in order to draw in a larger variety of students.

Pierce said, “Two teams to devote to two types of projects.”

The film club will alternate the new subgroups between two weeks.

In no particular order, the club will use one week to make films, and the following week will be used to introduce Film Appreciation.

Alden Nagel, president of Film Appreciation, and his vice president is Madison Roper.

Nagel started Film Appreciation due to his interest and appreciation for cinema. He tends to diverge from mainstream directors, preferring films written by a diverse group of writers, such as people in the LGBTQ+ community, and women.

Nagel is passionate about film because he believes that it’s, “the highest tangible form of social change and has the most affect in the mass.”

The club is getting discounted movie tickets, on planned dates, to see new films in neighboring theaters.

The films will be short, so that the club members are able to openly discuss their views and opinions on the film.

Noah Pierce has been involved in the club for the past two years. Pierce is now the president of the Filmmaking component, and his vice president is Kenny Mendez.

Nagel and Pierce work together in tandem as co-presidents, bringing their respective topics together.

The filmmaking portion is currently working on a film from last year and they plan to keep it going with this years’ group.

Pierce wants to “keep everyone working consistently on a project.” In order to do that the film clubs projects will be as long as the quarter. This allows old and new members to able to contribute their ideas for new projects.

Mendez said, “We want to try and give everyone a chance to do what they want to do.” The members pick what jobs they want for the film, but if certain jobs aren’t filled, they will be assigned.

The club has a grant that will be divided up between the two parts of the group, but the filmmaking part will self-fund if needed.

Mendez says he wants the club to be a “beacon for likeminded individuals.”

The leaders plan to attend film classes, and spread the word through the class and posters.

Pierce says, “This year we are looking for more membership and interaction between members.”

The club meets from 2-5 p.m. on Fridays, in Syre 104.

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US government in time-out until Trump says so


Apple Parry
Apple Parry

By Apple Parry

This story initially ran in Issue 6, published January 22, 2019.

Today marks the 32nd day of the longest government shutdown yet, and there is no end in sight.

Federal employees will not be paid until after appropriation bills, which allow government spending, are passed into law.

In September, all funding requests for the next calendar year were either approved or declined by the House and Senate. If a request is not approved by the New Year, a shutdown is a possibility.

The shutdown will last until the House and Senate agree on a solution. When it’s over, employees are entitled to back pay.

In the meantime, workers will be scrambling to pay for necessities.

Nearly 800,000 government workers, including our military, did not receive a paycheck for their most recent pay period.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders recently tweeted: “President Trump said that ‘nobody has been better at the military’ than him. So why is he keeping the government shutdown and leaving 42,000 service members without paychecks for the first time in history?”

Not only is Trump making employees work without pay, but he’s asking soldiers to continue to risk their lives – without pay.

While I’m not in the military, nor a federal employee, I do attend a federally funded school. Although I’m not personally affected by this, there are a plethora of concerns I have for the long-term outcome this will have across America.

For example, 70% of the 7.3 million students enrolled in the districts that are part of the council are signed up for free and reduced lunch.

Students who rely on schools for food might be in trouble if the shutdown lasts through March.

After March, the schools will have to use their “rainy day” savings or pull funding from extracurricular activities in order to accommodate food prices.

Imagine telling these children that they can no longer go to their favorite after school activity, because the school has to use that money to feed them now.

Trump recently tweeted, “Great being with the National Champion Clemson Tigers last night at the White House. Because of the Shutdown I served them massive amounts of Fast Food (I paid), over 1000 hamburgers etc. Within one hour, it was all gone. Great guys and big eaters!”

Well Trump, since you’re feeling generous, why don’t you buy lunch for the 30 million children signed up for free and reduced lunch that you’ve screwed over?

Rapper Cardi B chimed in on the situation on her Instagram, posting a video in which she voiced her profanity-ridden opinion, bringing up the length of time the shutdown has dragged on, and stressing that this needs to be taken care of and handled.

Cardi B would like to stress that she isn’t weighing in on political subjects for “clout,” she is genuinely interested in political science, and is concerned for the citizens of America.

Cardi also mentioned former President Barack Obama’s shutdown, not using it to excuse Trump, but rather to call him out. After all it is such a stupid and illogical reason.

When Obama shut the government down in 2013, it only lasted 16 days. Obama had two appropriation bills on the table.

His goals were to acquire enough funding for Obamacare, which was already a law, which requires everyone to have health insurance, and raise the debt limit, which is the amount of money the government can spend.

The shutdown ended when the House and Senate compromised, regarding the debt raise, which in turn allowed funding for Obamacare.

Let’s compare, shall we?

Trump has said he intends to stick with the shutdown for however long it takes to get his way. He only had one issue, this issue is not a law, and it benefits absolutely no one. In fact it could be genuinely damaging to the surrounding ecosystems.

The butterfly effect that this will cause could be completely detrimental to the economy alone. Not having a constant flow of paying and spending will damage all kinds of businesses, and everyone involved.

This not a presidential action. It is not an act of patriotism. It’s an immature act of exclusion, which proves the president doesn’t even take the citizens of this country into account. Well, if they were rich he might at least blink an eye.

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Visions and Voices highlights women in film

By Eva Mo

Film is indispensable in this visual media society, no matter in this generation or in the past. However, in the ever-augmenting filmmaker’s world, women haven’t been seen during the age of silent film, and not many people are aware of women filmmakers.

The CASCADIA International Women’s Film Festival is a local platform for women filmmakers to show their works to the public. They are currently holding Visions & Voices: Forgotten Films from Cinema’s Women Directors in Bellingham through March.

The organization has also been holding the Women’s Film Festival since 2015. This year it will be held on April 11-14, at the Pickford Film Center and the Mt. Baker Theatre.

Dr. Susan Lonac is an advisory member of CASCADIA and English and Film professor at Whatcom Community College. As a professor, she specializes in American women filmmakers, American LGBTQ+ filmmakers, and film adaptation. Lonac is helping to organize the Visions and Voices event this year.

“Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers” is a collection of historical films, produced by the Kino Lorber distribution company and the Library of Congress, released last November. The films are directed by seven different early women filmmakers: Alice Guy-Blaché, Lois Weber, Helen Holmes, Mabel Normand, Grace Cunard and Dorothy Davenport Reid.

“The inspiration of this event was the release of a six-disc set of early women filmmakers’ movies,” Lonac said. “On that set are some films that have not been seen by the public since they were first released, during the age of silent film.”

According to the CASCADIA website, the four-part series includes a variety of features and short films ranging from slapstick comedies to melodramas and thrillers from female directors.

The first two events have already been shown Dec. 2, and Jan. 6. For these events, they showed influential director Lois Weber’s “The Blot” (1921), and “Salome” (1923), starring Alla Nazimova, a pioneering lesbian actress.

Lonac mentioned many of the films were over 100 years old, but that not many people are aware of those films or other work from early women filmmakers. Also, it is too often that women in history are erased, she said.

“The purpose of the event is to help people discover the work of early women directors in America,” Lonac said.

The remaining shows will be held Sunday, Feb. 10 at 2 p.m. at Mt. Baker Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St., and Friday, March 8 at 7 p.m. at Firehouse Café, 1315 Harris Ave.

Tickets are available through brownpapertickets.com. More information about the festival is available at cascadiafilmfest.org.

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The official student newspaper of Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Washington