By Jeremy McDonald
EUGENE, Ore.– It’s been an unique start to the season for Bruce Chavka and the Lane Community College Men’s Basketball season.
With one returner from their team last season this year and a new assistant coach coming in with Joe White, it was going to be interesting to see how the season was going to start.
“You know it’s just bringing in a whole new team together and only having one returner back, we had to figure out who our leaders were,” said Chavka. “At the Community College level, you have a big transient business. You have turnover a lot every year, but you usually have 3-5 guys back every year. This year, we literally have one from last year’s team, so there were times that it felt like we had to teach our guys how to tie their shoes because they were all new, they’ve never experience this before.
“All they knew really was High School basketball, so that’s been a challenge for us. And adding Coach White to our coaching staff, he’s new to our family and our culture so it’s been a challenge in trying to make sure we’re on the same page. We’ve had some injuries, some other things so it’s been nice to get to know each other and all that stuff and grow.”
Well, with their second double-digit win Monday night versus the JV squad from Willamette University, it seems like the question marks Chavka had entering the season are slowly being answered as the season starts.
To get to 2-0, they had to bounce back from a one-possession deficit to the Bearcats entering the second half thanks to some halftime adjustments that led to the emergence of the three-ball.
Slowly, the Titans tied it at 40 off a three-pointer by Keaton McKay, the freshman had six three’s in the 85-66 win Monday night and had a team-high 23 points. McKay then put Lane up two on the next offensive possession and stayed in front of Willamette University’s early second-half run that got it to one-possession six minutes into the second half.
But the Titans flexed their muscle by outscoring the Bearcats 52-30 in the final 20 minutes thanks to a defensive output that produced eight total steals and nabbing 20 of their 30 total rebounds from the defensive side of the rock Monday.
“I think we grew up in the second half, at halftime I think it was more about the individuals, it was more about the, ‘Me, Me, Me’ instead of the team and I think the second-half,” said Chavka on his team. “We were worried at halftime for sure and they came out and grew up a little bit tonight which is good because we’ve trying to preach, ‘hey grow up, let’s make it about our team instead about you’.
“And they did that tonight so that’s pretty cool.”
With nine-days off until their next game versus New Hope University on the road in Eugene, it’ll give the men of Lane an opportunity to heal up and continue to heal up in terms of seven-footer Kylor Kelly before their next game.
“I think that’s the thing, we’ll have some time to heal up and sort of get our studies right, spend some time with family and decompress a little bit and then right back at it,” said Chavka. “It’ll be a challenge, it’s sort of weird having so much time off, but this Fall has been a challenging Fall for the coaching staff, for the players so I think we’re sort of glad to decompress a little bit with some down time.”
As they enter the mini-Turkey Day break, some other notables from Monday’s win was Keiron Goodwin and Tayler Marteliz having team-highs in rebounds with eight. Marteliz too led the team in assist with nine. Marteliz and Gabe Sorber both led the team in steals with three.
Micah Flemming led Willamette with 16 points, nine rebounds and seven assist. Ryan Peterson had a team-high 10 rebounds and three blocks for the Bearcats.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald