Linn-Benton’s Activity Center was the site of a hard-fought battle for a run towards playoff contention in the Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC) on Saturday Feb. 11.
Linn-Benton Roadrunners played the Portland Panthers in a game that proved both these teams are deserving of a playoff spot. The score was 31-28 in favor of the Panthers at halftime, where both teams only scored 15 points in the second quarter.
Starting the third quarter, the crowd was getting into the game. The Panthers were able to extend the halftime deficit by six going into the fourth quarter outscoring the Roadrunners 12-6, en route to a 43-34 lead. Freshman Sara Henderson lead LBCC at the foul line, hitting six of her 13 attempts and finishing with eight points and five rebounds.
“I really struggled this game especially at the free throw line,” said Henderson.
They also got a healthy amount of production from Freshman Kasey Anderson who had six points as well as eight rebounds as they entered the fourth quarter. Roadrunners went on a 7-2 run to trim the lead down to 45-41 before Portland called a timeout with about five minutes left in the game. After the timeout Portland extended their lead back up to six after hitting a clutch shot with two minutes to go left in the game.
“The team has been working on camaraderie as the season starts to end, and we push for the playoffs,” said Henderson.
LBCC then called a timeout, and were able to make two three-point field goals to tie it up at 47-47. With one minute to go Portland was able to hit a clutch field goal, and the foul shot to give them the lead 50-47. The team struggled in the closing moments at the free throw line missing four attempts in the span of 20 seconds. In response, Portland hit a three pointer to extend the lead six with 15 seconds left to go. LBCC called another timeout, and Courteney Landis hit a three pointer to trim the lead to three with eight seconds left. In the final moments of the game LBCC went for a steal and couldn’t come up with it, leaving a final score of 53-50 in a Panthers win.
“The game was tight the whole time we just fell short at the end,” said Anderson.
The team has an important game coming up against Southwestern Oregon at home on Feb.15 at 5:30 p.m. Then they travel out to Clackamas on Feb. 18 to continue their race for a spot in the NWAC playoffs.
Story and Photo by Joshua Knight