Lane men’s basketball team played their second conference game on Jan. 9 against the Clackamas Cougars at Titan Coliseum. The Titans made a run late in the fourth quarter but were ultimately defeated by a last second 3-pointer.
“I think these are two teams that are going to compete for those precious four playoff spots. It’s going to be a good tough ball game,” Clackamas head coach Clif Wegner said in the moment leading up to the matchup.
The Titans’ first conference game resulted in a 92-83 loss to the Clark Penguins which kicked off a seven day stretch between games. However, it did not seem Lane Head Coach Bruce Chavka found the week to be constructive and his frustration leaked through gritted teeth when he spoke.
“We had a really [expletive] week of practice,” Chavka said of his preparations. “I don’t know who’s going to show up … so we’ll see.”
The Cougars won the opening tipoff and quickly sank a 3-pointer from the top of the arc. A 14-4 Clackamas run stoked the Cougars bench and Chavka called his first timeout in response. Clackamas fans had taken over the stands and rose to their feet — filling the gym with bolstering encouragement. “I want a 10 point lead by halftime,” Wegner shouted from the sideline but a
strong Lane defense held the Cougars short of running away with the entire game in the first half.
A Clackamas shot clock violation led to a bucket off the hands of Lane center Jon Adsit. Then, with 4:57 remaining in the half, the Titans wrapped up the ball forcing Clackamas to use a timeout in order to retain possession.
The Titans continued to scrape their way back into contention. A steal by Lane guard Ahmad Jones led to a breakaway play resulting in three points by Lane guard Chase Iwata-Bartelme, bringing the Titans within three points.
Clackamas fought back and, with two seconds remaining in the first half, met their coach’s expectation with a buzzer-beater from an inbound play that froze the score 43-32 at halftime.
Though Clackamas maintained a significant lead through most of the second half, the Titans defense began to turn the game around late in the fourth quarter.
The turnaround play came from Lane guard Raekwon Mingledoff when he stole the ball and heaved it to Lane guard/forward Usama Zaid who brought the Titans within 10 points with a breakaway layup.
The Titans cut the lead to two and forced a jump ball. Wegner called for a timeout with 58.7 seconds left in the game, but not before the whistle that gained the Titans possession of the ball.
The Cougars fouled Zaid while in bonus status to freeze the clock with 49.9 seconds remaining. Zaid knocked down one of the two free throws to bring the Titans within one.
Zaid then intercepted a Clackamas pass and dunked it home to put the Titans up 94-93. Outstanding half-court pressure forced another Clackamas turnover and Zaid scored another easy two points. The Cougars took their final timeout down 97-94 with 34.2 seconds remaining in regulation.
A costly Lane foul from outside the 3-point arc put the Cougars at the free throw line with a chance for a three-point play. Clackamas sank two of the three, cutting the Titans lead to one and they immediately fouled Lane guard Jacob Bigler while in double-bonus status. Bigler missed his first free throw but made the second extending the Titans lead to 98-96 with 16 seconds left.
Clackamas inbounded the ball and drove it across half court. The Titans played on their heels, nervously avoiding a foul. The Cougars passed the ball around looking for the open player. As the final second ticked down, the Titans held their ground and forced a deep 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The sound of the swishing net prompted an explosion of cheers as Clackamas players and fans filled the floor of Titan Coliseum before the ball hit the ground. The Titans took another loss with a final score of 99-98 and remain winless in conference play.
“Our kids showed lots of guts and composure staying with it and playing through the end of the ball game … to Lane’s credit they stepped up their defense, they picked up some steals [and] we didn’t respond to it very well at all. I feel very lucky, fortunate, blessed — born under a lucky star … All the planets lined up to be walking out with a win because Lane’s kids really played hard,” Wegner said following the chaotic celebration.
The Titans only pulled down 29 rebounds throughout the game, shot poorly from the free-throw line and never found rhythm outside the 3-point perimeter.
When asked about his thoughts of the game, Chavka responded with only two brief words: “We lost.”
Lane guard Duce Namazi led the Titans in scoring with 26 points and Zaid recorded 21 points.
Lane guard Davonte Cleveland scored 13 points with six steals and four assists. Mingledoff also had a good day tallying six points, three steals and three assists.
The Titans’ next game is against the Southwestern Oregon Lakers at Titan Coliseum. It’s set to tipoff after the women’s game at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 9. Admission is $3 and all Lane students get in free by providing their L-number.