The Lane Titans and the Umpqua Community College Riverhawks changed leads exactly once in their Feb. 11 matchup.
That lone lead change just happened to come on the last basket of the game.
With three second remaining, Umpqua forward Ashli Payne threw an inbound pass the length of the court to fellow Riverhawk Sawyer Kluge, who acrobatically converted a layup to clinch a 65-63 victory for the Riverhawks.
“They ran a really good play and it’s tough,” Lane head coach Greg Sheley said. “If we make one more free throw in that last minute and don’t turn the ball over twice in that last minute, we have a much better chance of winning the game.”
The Riverhawk’s, owners of a 21-2 overall record and the top ranking in the Northwest Athletic Conference, have defeated the Titans three times this season — each time by eight points or fewer.
The Titans led by as much as 14 at one point, but saw their lead disappear late in the second half. Troubled by turnovers and unnecessary fouls, Lane watched a five point advantage evaporate in the final two minutes.
Freshman forward Jordan Kimbrough led the Titans with 20 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks in her tenth 20-point effort of the season.
Freshman guard Maddie Kiplinger added 13 points and sophomore forward Marikah Wright chipped in 10 points and seven rebounds for the Titans.
Payne, the reigning Most Valuable Player of the NWAC Southern Region, was held to a 2-for-17 shooting performance, but still racked up 13 points due to her ability to get to the foul line. She was 8-for-12 from the charity stripe.
In her two most recent trips to Titan Coliseum, Paine torched Lane for 35 and 38 points, respectively.
The Titans, owners of a 18-7 record, now find themselves in third place and fighting for their playoff lives in the ultra-competitive Southern Region.
With a 4-4 record in regional play, they trail the Southwestern Oregon Lakers (13-9, 4-3) and sit even with the Clackamas Cougars (16-7, 4-4) and Portland Panthers (11-11, 4-4). Umpqua sits atop the region with a flawless 8-0 regional record.
Four games remain in the regular season, and only four teams earn playoff spots.
“We’ve got four games left; if we win four of them we’re definitely in (the playoffs),” Sheley said. “If we win three of them, I think we’re in. Two of them and we’re looking at a tiebreaker situation. So we’ve got to take care of business.”