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Loss tempers PCC's tourney victory

Forward plays for his father, who was killed in January accident


by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP PHOTO: JOHN HOWARD - Angelo Tupper hugs a PCC teammate after the Panthers won last weeks NWAACC tournament in Kennewich, Wash. Tupper played in memory of his father, who was killed in a Jan. 30 accident in Portland.It meant something special to one Portland Community College basketball player when the unheralded Panthers became regional champions March 4 at Kennewick, Wash.

“I know he’s watching over me right now,” Angelo Tupper, a 6-4 forward from Madison High, said of his late father, 46-year-old Angelo Elton Tupper, who was struck by a car and killed on Southeast Division Street in late January.

Angelo Elton Tupper died Jan. 30 when he was struck by a car at about 8:30 p.m., while he was lying in the road at Southeast 173rd Avenue and Division Street. Police said they don’t know why Tupper was in the road. They were told he had been in a nearby lounge, but they said he wasn’t intoxicated.

Angelo Elton Tupper was struck by a white 2013 Mercedes C250 driven by 43-year-old Ted Chu, who was driving east on Division Street in the right lane. Chu immediately stopped and cooperated with police in the investigation.

On Tuesday, March 4, his son scored 17 points as PCC capped its 4-0 run at the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges tournament with a 92-86 finals victory over Pierce CC of Lakewood, Wash.

PCC completed both a Cinderella season and a remarkable turnaround under second-year coach Tony Broadous. The Panthers went 0-24 in 2011-12, the year before Broadous, formerly head boys basketball coach at Grant High, took over the program.

The loss of Tupper’s father became a rallying cry for the Panthers, who posted one upset after another en route to the title.

“Guys have hung in there and battled for him to bring this home,” Broadous said.

Tupper was at the center of the postgame celebrations on Tuesday. “I’m speechless,” he said. “I’m just thankful I’m here.”

The beefy Tupper was an all-league defensive lineman for Madison football and a Senators team captain in football and basketball.

This season, he played in every game for PCC and gained more playing time during the Panthers’ stretch run, even after the death of his father.

“He’d be proud of me. I came here to play for him,” Tupper said. “Ever since I lost him, I’ve been playing for him, and I dedicated this tournament to him. I just thank God for everything.”

Not a one-time thing

It was the first title for PCC basketball, and the team posted its first winning record (23-9) in its 28-year history.

The NWAACC has 33 teams, and PCC advanced through the tournament with victories of 56-54 over Lower Columbia, 77-76 against Bellevue, 96-82 versus Skagit Valley, before the six-point triumph over Pierce (23-7). The Panthers made 10 of 12 free throws in the final two minutes to hold off the Raiders in the championship match.

Tupper was one several local products on the PCC roster, and he predicted that the Panthers will become even more of a destination for former Portland-area prep players.

“More players from local (high schools) are going to start coming because we won a championship, and that will draw people in,” he said. “I’m just excited. We’re the pioneers of that.”

The Panthers play their home games at the Cascade campus in North Portland, next door to Jefferson and a few minutes’ drive from Madison, Grant, Benson, Roosevelt and the rest of the Portland Interscholastic League.

“Portland is a big city,” Broadous said. “You’ve got talent, you’ve got good kids, good players. This isn’t a one-time thing. We plan to be here for quite a while.”