Titans bracing for South Region play

01/03/2018 11:10

By Jarrid Denney | For The Register-Guard

Injuries and inexperience have left the Lane men’s basketball team short-handed at times this season, but that hasn’t stopped it from finding early season success.

The Titans ended December with a win over College of the Siskiyous to cap off a tough nonleague schedule and are 8-4 on the season, sitting just outside the top 10 of the most recent Northwest Athletic Conference coaches’ poll.

Lane will kick off South Region play at Chemeketa on Wednesday and coach Bruce Chavka said he believes that the Titans are clicking just in time to compete in one of the toughest leagues in the conference.

“We had eight sophomores last year and only have one guy back, so we’ve hit the reset button,” Chavka said. “There’s been some growing pains for sure. It’s been a ‘some good, some bad, some ugly’ sort of thing. But I’m excited for us to finally start league.”

The Titans will try to navigate a South Region slate that features three of the top eight teams in the NWAC, including No. 1 Portland.

“I don’t want to sound like Lou Holtz here, but our league is amazing,” Chavka said. “There’s only two teams out of the eight that are below .500. It will be a fun journey in league, for sure.”

Freshman guard Keiron Goodwin has shouldered much of the offensive load for a Lane team that is seventh in the conference in scoring. The Seattle native is averaging 24.8 points per game, good for second in the conference, and scored 46 points in a Dec. 14 victory over South Puget Sound.

Freshman guard Keaton McKay has served as Lane’s main threat from beyond the arc and is shooting 41 percent from three-point range on nearly 10 attempts per game. Tre’Var Holland won a state title with Nathan Hale High School in Washington last winter, playing for former NBA All-Star Brandon Roy, and has settled in as Lane’s floor general this season.

Lane’s X-factor this season could be sophomore big-man Kylor Kelley. The 7-footer has signed a National Letter of Intent to play at Oregon State next season, and was averaging four blocks per game before he suffered a foot injury early in the year. Chavka said he should be back on the floor for the Titans within the next few weeks.

“He could be that guy for us,” Chavka said. “We’ve just got to keep him injury-free and he’s got to be consistent.”