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South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC) celebrated Sophomore Night on Saturday, March 5, honoring Mekhi Speller-Hale of the Clippers’ men’s basketball team and Tracy Abesamis of the women’s squad.

Mekhi Speller-Hale, a 6-foot-8 forward out of Brooklyn, New York, posted a double-double in the final home game of his career, scoring a team-high 19 points and 10 rebounds in SPSCC’s 89-77 loss to Northwest Athletic Conference West Region champions Lower Columbia College.

The Clippers (3-21 overall, 1-12 conference) also received 17 points from Black Hills High School graduate Justin Hicks and 13 points off the bench from Jason Montes, while O’Shae Barquet dished out five assists.

The Red Devils (19-5, 11-2) led 40-20 with just under 5 minutes remaining in the first half before SPSCC rallied, highlighted by Speller-Hale’s buzzer-beating 3 to end the opening 20 minutes, to cut the deficit to 48-39 at the intermission.

The Clippers parlayed the momentum over into the next frame as they opened the second half on a 9-1 run to pull within a point at 49-48. Lower Columbia, however, was able to gradually pull away in the final 10 minutes to score the victory.

The Lower Columbia women notched its 12th consecutive victory with a 73-62 win over SPSCC.

The Clippers, who clinched a postseason berth with their win earlier in the week against Green River College, received 21 points from Sharay Trotter and 14 from Brandie Tobin with Payten Foster coming off the bench to add 13 points.

SPSCC, which finished their home schedule with a 7-3 record, trailed by 17 points late in the third quarter. A Tobin bucket with 8 minutes left in the contest cut the Red Devil’s lead to 53-47, but the Clippers were unable to get any closer the rest of the game.

Both South Puget Sound Community College basketball programs will close out its regular season slate on Wednesday, March 9 at Pierce College. The women will tipoff at 5:30 p.m. followed by the men’s game at 7:30 p.m.

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