The Linn-Benton men’s basketball team fell just short of making it to the Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC) playoffs, after losing a hard-fought game against Clark on Saturday, March 4. The Roadrunners came back from a near insurmountable lead to lose by a score of 81-78. The team was needing a win to clinch a top-four spot in the Southern division and make it to the NWAC playoffs in Everett, Washington.
The men came out slow in the first half, shooting only 31 percent from the field (8-26) and falling to a 41-26 deficit. However, they came alive in the second half, outscoring Clark 52-40 but falling just short. The victory would’ve put them at an overall record of 9-7, which would’ve tied Portland, Mt. Hood, and would’ve also dropped Clark to the same record. Linn-Benton defeated Portland twice earlier this year which would’ve likely given them the edge to slide into the top four of the region, granting them a playoff berth.
The Roadrunners were led by Jesse and Brodie Marchant, who had 21 and 20 points respectively. Jesse Marchant also had nine rebounds, one assist, and two steals in the loss. Kaj Bansen also contributed 15 points while Kendrick Abraham finished with 11 points himself.
While the season could be seen as a disappointment due to not making the playoffs, the team as a whole built on their last season and overcame a lot of bumps in the road to even come this close to the playoffs. The team started out 1-4, after winning their league-opener against Clackamas, and even sniffing the playoffs seemed like an afterthought. The team was able to regroup and finished the season by winning seven out a possible 11 games but it just wasn’t enough. First year Head Coach Everett Hartman was able to make promising adjustments to the program and this season will just add more experience that the coaches and returning players will be able to build on for next season.
Story by Nick Fields
Photo by Elliot Pond