published by Chris Hansen in Register Guard 2/26/12
The Titans saved their best performance of the season for last. It just didn’t come soon enough to extend their season.
The Lane Community College men’s basketball team capped its up-and-down year by crushing visiting Portland on Saturday night, 88-30.
It was by far the largest margin of victory this season for the Titans, whose previous best had been an 89-46 win against the Linfield JV team Dec. 9.
But the win also snapped a four game losing streak for Lane (11-15) — which had also lost 5-of-6 games coming into the night — a slide that killed any hopes the Titans had of making the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges postseason tournament.
Instead, Lane finished 5-9 and in sixth place in the South Region of the NWAACC. Only the top four teams from the region make the tournament.
“We would have obviously loved to win more games and make the playoffs; that’s the goal every year,” Lane coach Bruce Chavka said. “We were in it there for a while. If we could’ve got some key victories and taken care of business, we could’ve made it.”
The Titans were 9-10 overall, 3-4 in the region and winners of three straight when their descent began with an 86-73 loss to South Region champion Mount Hood on Feb. 4.
After a victory over Linn-Benton, the Titans dropped their next four, including devastating losses to Southwestern Oregon and Umpqua, the two teams directly in front of them and behind them, respectively, in the standings.
But Saturday’s win offered the type of performances that supported Chavka’s excitement for the future.
Four of the night’s top five scorers were freshmen expected back, including forward Levi Stranberg, who scored 11, and forward Tyree Newman, who had nine points and a team-high seven rebounds.
And that doesn’t count freshman guard Tyler Coleman, who led the team this season in scoring (17.4), assists (3.3) and steals (2.4), but scored six points on Saturday in only nine minutes of playing time.
“We had a great group of guys, and I’m fired up about the future. … I’m excited for next year,” Chavka said. “We were lacking maybe one other scorer to take the pressure off Tyler Coleman and (sophomore forward) Nick Lindsey. If we could’ve somehow got another guy to step up, that would’ve been a fun thing.”
Instead, he’ll settle for an exciting end to the season and the vision of what lies ahead.