Lane’s successful basketball season came to an end March 9 after a 74-72 overtime loss to the Bellevue Community College Bulldogs.
The Titans, advancing past the first round of the Northwest playoffs for the first time since 1999, finished eighth overall in the Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC) men’s basketball tournament in Kennewick, WA, ending with a 19-12 record.
“I was very pleased with our effort,” Lane head coach Bruce Chavka said. “Our guys competed all three nights. Overall, I’m just pleased with the group of guys we had this year … We didn’t have any knuckleheads. We had really good guys who bought into what we were doing.”
Despite 22 points from freshman guard Duce Namazi, Lane was haunted by missed free throws down the stretch. “If we had knocked down our free throws at the end of regulation and overtime, we would have won. Even on the drive home, we were still hurting over that,” Chavka said.
Chavka’s Titans end the season as one of the conferences most pleasant surprises. The Titans were 9-8 in the pre-season and 10-4 in their regional schedule. They captured second place in the Southern Region, their best finish since 2001.
A strong veteran presence from the Titan’s five sophomores helped guide Lane through numerous close victories late in the season. But it was ultimately the emergence of Sophomore forward Tre Clark that turned the Titans from an average squad into a team that was able to make noise in the playoffs.
“You could tell in the last half of the season that [Clark] really flipped a switch and really got it going,” Chavka said.
Clark averaged 18 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.4 blocks over Lane’s final nine games. He was selected to the All-Southern Region first team and defensive team and NWAC All-Tournament second team. He came in second-place for Southern Region player of the year.
Namzi was named to the All-Tournament first team, averaging 17 points, four rebounds and 2.3 steals during tournament play.
Sophomores Dale Baker and Jarred Kelsay were both selected to the All-Southern Region Second Team. Baker, Lane’s team captain, was named to the NWAC All-Academic team — an honor received by athletes who maintain a 3.25 GPA or higher.
For the first time in his career, Chavka was named Southern Region coach of the year.
“It’s definitely a team thing, a family thing. The student athletes are the ones who made that happen,” Chavka said. “It shows that I have really good assistant coaches and really good players, that’s the bottom line.”
TOURNAMENT PLAY STATS
vs Everett Community College: WIN, 98-96
vs Green River Community College: LOSS, 64-55
vs. Bellevue Community College: LOSS, 74-72 in OT