Like his jump shot during the game, Joey Ray spoke directly and with purpose afterward. The junior guard's Lewis-Clark State career is now all of 14 games old, but he seems to be a whole-hearted believer in these Warriors.
"I think if we're not playing for a national championship, it will be somewhat of a disappointment," Ray said.
So there -- the bar has been set somewhere around the ozone layer.
Ray's pronouncement came after he scored a season-high 25 points Saturday at Warrior Gym in L-C's 95-51 skewering of Kwantlen University, a vastly overmatched bunch from Canada. Combined with Friday's rout of the Eagles, the Warriors outscored them 197-102 in the doubleheader.
This was L-C's final outing before an eight-day layoff, during which many the players will be visiting their hometowns. So this is something of an epoch in the Warriors' season -- and they seemed to be in the mood to look at the big picture.
"This is a really, really talented team. I don't care what anybody says," LCSC coach George Pfeifer said. "... We will be our own opponent more than our opponent will be our opponent. I really believe that."
Kwantlen -- which came to Lewiston without its two top players and lost leading rebounder Hartej Gill to an injury in Friday's game -- certainly wasn't capable of threatening the Warriors. L-C played a somewhat unfocused first half, but Ray pumped in 16 points and the Warriors led 43-20 at the break.
LCSC stampeded to a quick second-half start, scoring on its first five possessions. Center James Idoko ignited the score with two post buckets, then Ray buried back-to-back 3-pointers. Then, off a deft drive-and-dish maneuver by Dustin Endsley, Idoko dunked to make it 55-21.
At halftime, Pfeifer had challenged his team to take a more by-the-book approach.
"I thought that's what we did," he said. "We got the ball inside, we played with some great defensive pressure. And all of a sudden, I glance up at the clock, and it was a 30-something (margin)."
On L-C's remarkably balanced roster, Ray is the leading scorer with a 13.9 average. In these games with Kwantlen, he went 13 for 20 from 3-point range.
The 5-for-11 Indiana native is one of seven players who wasn't at LCSC last year. But the newcomers seem to have established their roles with little trouble.
"The first practice with these guys felt like I had been playing with them forever," Ray said. "Now, that's not even a factor. We can concentrate on winning and getting to the national championship."
All 12 Warriors who suited up scored, and seven notched eight points or more. Martin Brothers, who just became eligible this weekend, followed up Friday's double-double with an eight-point, five-rebound showing.
"We don't really have subs; we have rotations," Pfeifer said. "If we could start six guys, we would. If we could start nine guys, we would.
"I just think when we get to tournament play (and) road trips back-to-back, won't it be nice to know you've got a fresh group of horses in your stable?"
NOTES -- L-C has one more date left in 2003: a Dec. 28-29 doubleheader with Okanagan at home. The Warriors won't return to practice until the day after Christmas. "I'm looking forward to it, I'll tell you that," Pfeifer said. "I'll put the VCR away for about 72 hours."
Jung 6-10 2-2 18, Cowles 4-8 1-3 10, King 2-5 0-0 4, Dhaliwal 2-9 1-4 6, Moe 3-12 1-1 7, Brar 0-0 0-0 0, Sheung 3-6 0-0 6. Totals 20-50 5-10 51.
LEWIS-CLARK STATE (12-2)
Idoko 6-9 2-2 14, Endsley 1-3 1-2 3, Tikker 1-4 0-0 2, Allen 1-2 1-1 3, Ray 9-12 0-0 25, Frazier 4-5 2-2 12, Young 3-4 0-0 8, Ball 3-6 0-0 8, Hansen 1-4 0-0 2, Brothers 3-3 2-3 8, Pitts 1-2 0-0 2, Trombley 4-10 0-1 8. Totals 37-64 8-11 95.
Halftime score -- LCSC 43, Kwantlen 20. Three-point goals -- Kwantlen 6-13 (Jung 4-6, Cowles 1-3, Dhaliwal 1-2, Moe 0-2); LCSC 13-23 (Allen 0-1, Ray 7-10, Frazier 2-3, Young 2-2, Ball 2-5, Hansen 0-2). Rebounds -- Kwantlen 25 (Jung, Cowles 5); LCSC 36 (Trombley 8). Assists -- Kwantlen 9 (Moe 3); LCSC 25 (Frazier 7). Total fouls -- Kwantlen 12; LCSC 15. Fouled out -- none. Technical fouls -- none.