Palmer College’s West Campus defeated Life Chiropractic College West (LCCW), 85-81, in the inaugural Bay Area Classic basketball game on Friday, May 31, at the LCCW campus in Hayward.
The West Campus team showed composure from start to finish, with clutch contributions from all 12 players, as the teams exchanged leads throughout the first half.
Life West led 54-53 early in the second half. Paced by steady play at both ends of the court, Palmer recaptured the lead, and was able to stave off a fierce last-minute rally by Life West, to secure the victory. West Campus players included Brian Banman, Ryan Biddinger, Nate Bunce, Daniel Demien, Daniel Herman, Derek Murray, Brian Oldroyd, Kale Ptacek, Jordan Thaanum, Tuan Tran, Shane Walton, and Ranvier Sahota.
“Although we never had a full team practice before the game, several guys on the team have been playing together at the gym at NorthPark, where many of us live, so we were fortunate to have a real sense of ‘team chemistry’ without ever having a full practice,” said Kale Ptacek, West Campus basketball team captain. “We had a solid squad, from one end of the bench to the other. Every player on the team got in the game, gave it their best, and contributed in one way or another.”
The Life West crowd packed their industrial-sized gym, and responding to LCCW cheerleaders and a pep squad of “face-painters” was boisterous from start to finish. Although smaller in number, the West Campus fans who braved the Friday afternoon rush-hour traffic to make the trek from San Jose to Hayward were equally vocal in showing their Palmer pride.
“We want to thank our immediate classmates, and other students, for their support; it absolutely helped the team,” said Ptacek. “It was a little intimidating at first, to walk into the gym, and only see Life West students cheering on their team. But as our fans arrived, and showed they weren’t afraid to step into a foreign gym and show 100-percent support for their team, it definitely gave us a boost of adrenaline!”
The idea for the Bay Area Classic basketball game was proposed by a member of the Life West team earlier this year. Ptacek says he expects the Classic to become a biannual contest, perhaps scheduling games around the time of each school’s Homecoming. However, for now, he says the Palmer team is proud to have won the inaugural contest -- which means the perpetual gold-basketball trophy that is awarded to the winning team will reside on the western side of the bay until the next “classic” contest.
“We heard a few days before how serious Life was treating the game, with the team having morning practices, and with cheerleaders, and really getting their entire school into the event,” said Ptacek. “I think it’s only natural to feel a sense of ‘rivalry' because of the proximity of the two schools. At the end of the game, however, there was no feeling of rivalry. It was just two teams who had fun playing a heartfelt, competitive game, and who share another common goal – becoming doctors of chiropractic to make a difference in the quality of life for our future patients.”
The West Campus community celebrated the team’s Bay Area Classic victory at a special reception held in the cafeteria on Wednesday, June 5, where the team thanked students and ASG for their support, and shared the Classic trophy with West Campus President Dr. Bill Meeker.