EUGENE, Ore.– Lane Community College had a way to ward off Southwestern Oregon Community College during the first half of Wednesday’s NWAC South Region battle.
With the Titans needing a win to stay in the playoff hunt in the region and the Lakers in front of them a win was nesscary with seven games to go in the season and they played like they wanted it jumping out 9-2 to start the game.
But, like SWOCC did for much of the remaining of the half, they charged back by cutting the lead to 20-17 before cutting it to 26-25 after Lane pushed their lead back out to eight thanks to some mental miscues like fouls.
The Titans answered however as they took a 14-9 advantage to the locker room and leading 44-34 on the Lakers.
“For us, we’ve been losing a lot. We’ve been winning the first half, but giving it up in the second half, so we’re trying to pick up the energy, even out the energy but be explosive on defense for sure,” said Kylor Kelley, who scored 11 of his 19 points and four of his 11 rebounds in the first half as the Titan Big Man set the tone from the opening tip.
Defense played an important part to start the second half as their lead reached it’s peak at 53-36 as it transited into offensive points on the other end of the court.
“We felt really good because we knew we had that 10-point lead in the first half, we knew they were going to come out strong and come out shooting the ball really well so we just had to get on them early and try to make some shots and some stops and just extending the lead,” said Keiron Goodwin.
They needed that explosive start to the second half because what they knew the Lakers were capable of, slowly came to fruition as the 17 point lead quickly dwindled to 74-69 with 90 seconds remaining in the game and momentum slowly going the way of Southwestern Oregon Community College.
Goodwin though, who’s second in all of the NWAC in points-per-game with 24.6, scored four of his 13 second half points and 25 total off a lay-in and taking a deep pass that led to another lay to force the Lakers to call timeout with 1:04 remaining with Lane up 78-69.
“It was really crucial, we needed those buckets. The lead started to shrink so I knew I had to be aggressive and score,” said Goodwin, who finished with 25 points, seven rebounds and three assist. “So I knew once I got those buckets, it really helped us as a team. We got that momentum and it felt really good.”
That eight point cushion helped the Titans ease their nerves as they ended up just trading points in the final few seconds of the game in the 83-76 win over SWOCC for their second-straight win after a six-game losing streak during the early-to-middle part of league play.
The win was crucial for the squad trying to stay in the playoff-talk in the South Region as they are in a three-way tie with Southwestern Oregon Community College and Mt. Hood Community College and are mere percentage points behind their next opponent in Chemeketa for fifth-place.
“This win is big, but I think after this win I think we’ll need one more to stay playoff position,” said Kelley who finished with 19 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks as they take each game one at a time.
Their next one versus the Storm, is at 4pm in Salem at Chemeketa Community College.