COOS BAY — Ryan Bell was asked to assess Wednesday’s 84-63 win by the Southwestern Oregon Community College men’s basketball team over visiting Linn-Benton and he paused to come up with something the Lakers didn’t do well.
Finally, he settled on the team not blocking out a couple of times to give the Roadrunners a few offensive rebounds.
Aside from that, Bell could just about check the boxes for the necessary elements for a win.
“That was the best defensive game we’ve played the whole season,” he said, adding that the team was moving and communicating better than other games, especially losses to Clackamas on Saturday and Portland on Monday.
“We shared the ball on offense as well,” Bell said. “We were taking good shots.
“We crashed the boards.”
The Lakers shot better than 50 percent for the game. They also had balanced scoring. Bell led the way with 16 points, but five of his teammates finished in double figures.
The result was a much-needed win.
“Those last two games were rough games,” Bell said. “We looked past it.
“We’ve got to keep moving forward."
The Lakers improved to 3-3 nearing the midway point of the NWAC South Region season. They will go for win No. 4 on Saturday when Chemeketa visits.
SWOCC coach Trevor Hoppe said a big key will be having another game with great energy, something he constantly reminded his players during timeouts.
“We had great energy in warm-ups and it carried over to the game,” he said. “It was our best defensive game, in terms of intensity.”
The Lakers were active in denying the Roadrunners good shots and in forcing turnovers — 27 in all. Point guards Jael Vaughn and Myles Youngblood combined for 10 steals.
They also combined for nine assists, and Mack Tarver Jr. and Terryn Mosley added three more assists each.
Bell said Hoppe preaches passing up a good shot for a great shot. The Lakers did that while shooting 54 percent in each half.
And it was a mix of inside and outside shots. SWOCC hit nine 3-pointers in the game.
It started on the first possession, when Kinnon Finder hit a 3-pointer from the wing. Tarver got to the hoop on the next possession and the Lakers led 5-0 on the way to being in front the entire game.
By the 10-minute mark in the opening half, five different Lakers had scored, and by the end, Bell was joined in double figures by Tarver, Mosley and De’Shawn Kepperling with 12 points each. Vaughn and Finder each added 10 points.
Bell added 10 rebounds for a double-double and scored SWOCC’s first eight points of the second half to keep the Lakers comfortably in front, including one contested 3-pointer from the corner as the shot clock expired.
Kyree Davis led Linn-Benton with 25 points, all but four in the second half. Kadeem Nelson added 16, all but three in the first half.
The Lakers are tied for fourth place in the loss column in the South Region. Portland is technically in front of SWOCC because the Panthers have played one more game, sitting 4-3. A win Saturday would be big because Chemeketa is 4-2.
The Lakers know the recipe for getting that win, especially bringing the energy.
“We practice how we play,” Bell said. “We had great practices this week.”
Hoppe echoed those thoughts.
“Hopefully, we can keep it going,” he said.