The Titans host annual Dale J. Bates tournament
Team finishes second place to a team of professionals
Alan K. Fox THE TORCH
LCC hosted the 20th annual Dale J. Bates Tournament on Dec. 10-12 at the LCC gym and made it to the championship game for the first time since 2004 and came up short to the champions, Northwest Elite, 98-87.
The tournament is named after Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges' Hall of Fame coach and former LCC coach Dale J. Bates. Bates, who is also a LCC Hall of Fame member, is the tops in NWAACC history with his 306 victories and was named to the NWAACC Hall of Fame in 1991.
The Titans (3-3) starting forward, Kyle Warner, was named to All-Tournament team. He averaged 20.6 points and six rebounds for the tournament.
LCC started the championship game strong and played a back-and-forth game in the first half against the NW Elite team that was formed with group of professional players from across seas and some NCAA Division I players.
"The thing is they know how to play, they're men, they're men and they know how to finish," head coach Bruce Chavka said when asked about the NW Elite team. "That's where our guys will be in about years."
There was seven lead changes in the first half and the Titans were able to keep the game close and worked to a 29-27 lead and then the NW Elite went on a 20-10 run to end the half leaving the Titans down 51-39 at halftime.
Warner led the way for LCC in the first half with 10 points and three rebounds.
Tournament MVP, Paul Hafford, led the way for the champions with 15 points, three rebounds and four assists by halftime, and he finished with a double-double 27 points and 10 rebounds.
Hafford averaged 30 points and seven rebounds a game in the tournament.
"It was a good tournament and well put together," Hafford said. "The teams here played hard and I really liked the fact that it was Lane and us in the championship game, because it was their tournament and we got to play them for the championship."
In the second half, the Titans started with a 28-15 run and began to trade leads with NW Elite, but foul trouble cost LCC down the stretch, which caused the Elite to pull away at the end of the game.
"I think we did a good job at taking a punch and receiving a blow and fighting back, so I'm real happy about that," Chavka said. "Down the stretch we couldn't make stops and turned the ball over. It just ended up being to many mistakes and ended up a loss."
In the first round of the tournament the Titans played Linfield College on Dec. 10 and jumped out to an early 20 point lead in the first half and finished with a 83-55 victory over the Wildcats.
The Titans had five players score in double figures and were led by Warner who finished the game with 18 points.
The second round match-up on Dec. 11, LCC played Southwestern Oregon (3-5) and had a 40-38 lead at halftime over the Lakers.
In the second half, the Titans used its depth in the roster to pull ahead and finished with a 88-70 victory.
Sophomore forward, Kirk Forstrom lead the way for LCC with his 23 points, including shooting 5 for 7 from three-pointers, and he added seven rebounds.
Robby Allen, a sophomore forward, added a big spark off of the bench with a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Titan players were very happy with their performance and to see the growth that has already happened through the first few games
"I feel like this weekend helped us gain a lot of chemistry and we're figuring out who we are as a team," freshman point guard Darrell Breazell said. "But we still have a lot to work on."
"I feel that the team as a whole played our best basketball yet in this tournament and I think the way we shared the ball and helped out one another on defense made the game easier and fun for us, we started off slow in previous games did not have to much chemistry," freshman shooting guard DeShawn Washington said.
The Titans will travel to Gresham to play in the Mt. Hood Crossover tournament on Dec. 17 and they will play Tacoma in the first round at 4 pm.