It took an additional five minutes beyond regulation to decide the victor of the Lane men’s basketball game against the Southwestern Oregon Lakers at Titan Coliseum Jan. 13. The extra time extended a burst of late energy that narrowly won the game for the Titans.
Lane head coach Bruce Chavka had more questions than answers before the game. One major question still loomed over his head: what level of effort was he to expect, and from whom?
“It’s really a challenge to get us to play for 40 minutes right now and we’ve tried everything in our bag of tricks,” Chavka said. “[But] we got a few more to try and we’ll see what happens.”
Southwestern head coach Trevor Hoppe anticipated the Titans were well prepared — an expectation he holds for all teams in the South Conference.
“We’re just hoping to play good here — it’s always a tough place to play,” Hoppe said.
The Lakers won the tipoff and claimed the first two points of the game. A foul during a successful 3-pointer by Lane guard Duce Namazi resulted in four points and the first Lane lead of the game. The Titans could never extend that lead and exchanged the advantage throughout the first half.
With the score tied at 22, Lane guard Chase Iwata-Bartelme stole the ball and finished with a breakaway slam dunk. On the next possession, he extended the lead by two and Southwestern called a timeout with 11:25 in the half, 26-33 in favor of Lane.
Southwestern got back out in front and held the lead until Lane guard Raekwon Mingledoff scored two points off an assist from Lane guard/forward Usama Zaid, tying the score with less than four minutes remaining.
Lane guard Mitch Franz recaptured the lead with a 3-pointer, but the Titans were not able to hold on and trailed the Lakers 55-49 at halftime.
“Hopefully Lane wins,” Lane fan Hannah McCarthy said during halftime. “They kept it pretty close last game we went to — up until the last quarter [when] they lost by a buzzer shot, but it’s usually pretty entertaining to watch.”
Lane assistant coach Tyler Hollingsworth said the Titans would have to do a better job getting back on defense and recovering loose balls if they were to come out victorious. “[When] Loose balls [are] on the ground they’re winning. We gotta win fifty-fifty balls,” Hollingsworth said.
There were three Lane players with four fouls nine minutes into the half. With 8:11 remaining and the Lakers up 79-74, Zaid joined the list and shortly after that, the Titans had their first player foul out of the game.
With 6:13 left and the Titans behind by six, Chavka called a timeout. He put all his chips on the table — rotating players in foul trouble back into the game and it paid off.
A huge basket from Lane guard Jacob Bigler gave the Titans a one-point advantage. Two minutes later, Bigler gave the Titans a two possession lead with a score of 96-90 and 1:56 left on the clock.
Thirty seconds before the end of regulation, the Lakers tied the score up 96-96.
An offensive rebound led to a foul that put Lane guard Davonte Cleveland at the free-throw line, freezing the clock at 3.9 seconds with a tied score.
He missed both. Lane would have to win in overtime.
Three of Lane’s players had fouled out at this point — two of whom were starters, leaving Chavka with one eligible player on the bench.
The Titans won the tipoff to the first five-minute overtime and Bigler started Lane off with the lead after a clean 3-pointer.
Franz took a hard charge on the other side of the court forcing a Southwestern turnover. Cleveland capitalized with a shot that put the Titans up early 101-96.
“One stop, man. Dig in,” Hoppe commanded from the sidelines.
Franz knocked down a 3-pointer to put the Titans up by five before Southwestern got to the free-throw line with 11.5 seconds left in the first overtime.
The Lakers made both free throws bringing the score to 108-105 in favor of Lane and fouled Franz with 11.5 seconds.
Franz hit both but, with 5.9 remaining, the Lakers responded with a 3-pointer and a timeout down by only two points.
The nail in the coffin came from two successful free throws from none other than Franz, giving the Titans their first win of the season with a final score of 110-108 over Southwestern.
“We didn’t want to go 0-3,” said Franz following the game. “Let’s go from here [and] get more wins.”
Franz shot 78 percent for the night and was Lane’s second highest scorer with 20 points.
Namazi led scoring for the Titans with 30 points but fully credited his team for the win. “We needed it and came together and we won,” Namazi said.
Zaid notched a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. He also recorded five blocks and five assists.
After the game Chavka said he was glad they won but can’t help but feel disappointed with the way they began the season.
“We’re not playing for our team and I told our guys that at halftime […] our expectation I think is really high and maybe we need to drop that expectation a little bit,” Chavka confessed following the game. “We’re a little bit at a crossroads right now […] we gotta come together fast.”