After defeating the Clackamas Cougars 83-62, Lane women’s basketball team played their second consecutive home game against the Southwestern Oregon Lakers on Jan. 13.
Before the game, Lane head coach Greg Sheley said his team could have performed much better in their win over Clackamas four days prior.
“We’re going to work on trying to clean it up a little bit tonight — take a little bit better care of the ball [and], hopefully, we’ll shoot a little higher percentage,” Sheley said before the game. “If we can do those things, we can cruise to a nice little victory.”
While excitably awaiting the tip off, student-athlete parent and Lane fan VJ Snook anticipated a competitive and well-played game.
“I like the [team’s] depth,” she said of the Titans. “They play hard and they’re fun to watch.”
The Titans struck first with a 3-pointer off the hands of Lane guard/forward Mallory Shields and never looked back.
Lane guard Shelby Snook forced a Southwestern turnover and added two points with a layup off a sweet spin move. The basket put the Titans up by six points, and put Southwestern up against the ropes.
Outstanding Lane defense forced a handful of missed shots from the Lakers. Then, a blast of Lane scoring coerced a Southwestern timeout with 2:16 left in the first quarter and the Titans ahead 23-10.
Southwestern’s timeout adjustments did little to slow Lane down and the Titans finished the quarter with a 10-point advantage. Southwestern head coach Jeff Johnson had expected this to be a tough game. Before the game, Johnson stated he planned on keeping the score close and outlasting the Titans. “We don’t quit — we hussle,” Johnson said.
The Titans continued to stretch their lead in the second quarter and, with 34 seconds left, a Snook free throw put Lane up by 21 points. By halftime they logged a commendable 50-29 lead, matching their largest lead of the half.
Though falling short of pacifying Sheley, the fans found the Titans’ performance sublime.
“We were shooting lights out,” Lane student and Snook fan Hannah Bolton exclaimed during the midway intermission.
Spectator and basketball fan Rich Iverson speculated whether the Titans’ energy would last. “Lane might get a little tired at the end of the fourth quarter if SWOCC keeps running the way they do,” Iverson said.
The Lakers made a short run early in the third quarter before a huge block from Snook resulted in a 3-point basket from Lane guard Leila Petewon that put the Titans up 57-34.
Snook ignited the scoring with a steal and an assist. Lane guard Gabby Heehn knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers before delivering a sharp pass to Lane forward Jordan Kimbrough that resulted in two points and a Clackamas timeout with 2:33 left in the third.
Two Lane steals and and four baskets later, the Titans went into the final quarter with an 80-44 lead.
The fourth quarter was an opportunity for the Titans’ bench to get valuable game time, and a lesson in hanging tough for the Lakers.
The Titans’ earned their largest lead from back-to-back baskets by Kimbrough that put the Titans up 88-49 early in the final quarter and finished the night with a 92-60 victory over the Lakers, remaing undefeated with an overall record of 3-0.
The Titans had six players score in double-digit figures. They also tallied 41 points off turnovers and dominated the paint.
After the game, Heehn said though she was proud of her team and their performance, there is still a lot work ahead.
“People are always going to play their best games against us,” she said.
Heehn led the Titans in scoring with 17 points and Shields was second with 16 points. Shields also registered six rebounds, five steals and three assists.
“We knew their players and what they were going to do so we decided to execute the gameplan,” Shields said. “We need to keep getting better every game. We can clean it up a bit so we’ll look to do that.”
With an attitude that matches their work ethic, there is really no telling how good this team can actually get.
One thing is for certain, Lane fans have a lot to look forward to this season.