LBCC Men’s Basketball kicked off 2019 on a good note, securing two very convincing wins after trudging through a brutal four-game stretch that ended 2018, which saw the Roadrunners losing three in a row by more than 10 points. This was followed by a heartbreaker against the Walla Walla Warriors (7-8 Overall, 1-1 Conference) that ended 69-66 to cap off 2018.
The team has had a specific plan for fixing their mistakes and Head Coach Everett Hartman keeps his eyes on the process throughout each game.
“We spent some time focusing on that, watching film, and identifying our mistakes defensively as a priority,” said Hartman.
After the two tough losses, the Roadrunners (8-5 Overall, 2-0 Conference) started off the new year by having some massive success on both sides of the court. LBCC kicked off the month at home against the Clark Penguins (7-5 Overall, 0-2 Conference) and won 71-50. Clark is no pushover and it serves as a quality win against a quality opponent. Taylor Jensen had a stellar night, leading the team in points with 22 and shooting for 6-7 beyond the arch and nabbing eight rebounds. Matthew Ismay and Riley Davis were a big part of moving the ball around and getting things going on offense, nailing 13 combined assists on the day.
After the stellar game against Clark, LBCC went on the road to play the Portland Community College Panthers (3-10 Overall, 0-2 Conference) and blew the roof off, nabbing a 107-73 victory on the road. The success for the team was all over the board. From the starting lineup to the bench, each player got their time to play and made the most of it. Seven total players scored more than ten points. One player that made the most of his playing time was forward Everett Brandt, who, in 21 minutes of playing time, nabbed 15 points and eight total rebounds. The focus and quality of the team has been fantastic at the start of 2019 and their level of play should only increase as the year goes on.
“We need to continue to play defense individually and as a unit focus on verbal communication. Everyone needs to be on the same page and dialed into what they’re doing on the court,” said Hartman.
The Roadrunners can celebrate the quick start to the season, but the competition heats up in the next few weeks. Next up is Umpqua on Jan. 9 (8-6 Overall, 1-0 Conference), Mt. Hood on Jan. 12 (6-8, Overall 1-1 Conference), and then a duel on Jan. 16 with one of the best teams in the conference, the Clackamas Cougars (12-2 Overall, 2-0 Conference). The Cougars are averaging 94 points per game and are on a five-game win streak. The Roadrunners are no strangers to these challenges, and when Coach Hartman was asked if he had any new year’s resolutions for the team, he simply replied:
“Not really, other than understanding the level of play in Southern Region games, knowing that every game is significant and that the next eight weeks are a physical, mental and emotional grind that you must preserve in.”