COOS BAY — The Southwestern Oregon Community College men’s basketball team rallied in overtime after battling back from a late second-half deficit to defeat Linn-Benton in a heated league game Wednesday night.
The 72-64 win propelled the men to third place in the South Region of the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges standings.
The Lakers led for most of game before surrendering the lead in the final minute. With the team down three with under 30 seconds to play, Anthony Heintzman nailed a corner 3-pointer that eventually sent the game to overtime after the Roadrunners failed to get off a shot on the following possession.
“We just had to get a good look,” head coach Trevor Hoppe said of the final play in regulation. “We thought with a little penetration, there would be a kick opportunity. Riley (Grandinetti) delivered to Anthony and he knocked it down.”
The Lakers used the momentum from Heintzman’s shot to go on an 11-0 run in OT and put the game away. The team scored on seven out of its eight possessions in the extra five-minute period.
“We are a family,” Heintzman said. “We have each other’s backs no matter what. It’s a huge win.”
The game was a slugfest that pitted the athletic bigs of Linn-Benton up against a smaller Laker front line that was without starter Dexter Williams Jr., who was out with a foot injury suffered in Saturday’s win over Mount Hood.
The Lakers’ front court went toe-to-toe with the Roadrunners size, using a high-low game to collapse Linn-Benton’s zone and open up shots from the outside. Nick Scott picked up the slack in Williams’ absence, grabbing 11 boards, including timely offensive rebounds, while also adding eight points.
“I am not the biggest guy out there,” Scott said. “It’s about positioning. I got the position and came up with a few big rebounds tonight.”
The Lakers went 10-for-27 from the beyond the arc, including five 3-pointers from Heintzman, who finished with a game-high 19 points. The team also outrebounded Linn-Benton 52-39.
“Everybody came out and rebounded the basketball,” Hoppe said. “They picked up the slack.”
The win moved the team to 4-2 in league play and 9-9 overall. The next time they step on the court will be at first-place Chemeketa on Saturday, where they will have the chance to climb further up in the division standings.
“This took a lot of pressure off,” Scott said. “This was a league game and we knew we needed to buckle down. Now we are focused on Saturday and getting another win on the road.”
Chemeketa suffered its first league loss Wednesday. Mount Hood beat the Storm 87-67 to join Portland and Umpqua a game behind SWOCC in the standings.