COOS BAY — The Southwestern Oregon Community College men’s basketball team is going through struggles as it tries to find success in the NWAC South Region.
The Lakers fell to 0-4 in league play when visiting Umpqua won 91-79 at Prosper Hall on Wednesday.
The loss came a day after SWOCC dropped a tough overtime decision 98-94 to Mount Hood in a game that had earlier been postponed.
“We’re improving,” first-year SWOCC coach Riley Grandinetti said. “A lot of guys out there need to realize we have five great players on the court all the time and they don’t have to do it all themselves.
“It’s growing pains.”
But Grandinetti is confident the Lakers can be successful.
“They’re great kids,” he said.
SWOCC wasn’t able to hand the Riverhawks their first loss of the season because every time SWOCC started to cut into the deficit, Umpqua went on a run.
“They’re well-coached,” Grandinetti said. “They run their sets extremely well.”
Umpqua was able to quickly generate baskets or hit clutch 3-pointers any time the Lakers dipped into the lead.
And SWOCC didn’t help itself with four missed free throws when they had a chance to surge back into contention.
That hurt the Lakers against Mount Hood on Tuesday night, too, Grandinetti said.
SWOCC led that game for 38 minutes, but missed 10 free throws, including some late in the contest.
“It was a tough turnaround from last night,” he said, noting that most of the players also had their first COVID-19 vaccine shot before the game Wednesday.
“We thought that was more important,” Grandinetti said.
Kareem Rowe and Kase Peterson had 18 points each for the Lakers on Wednesday. Cade Baker had 15 points and De’Shawn Keperling 11.
Umpqua put six players in double figures, including 15 each by Nathan Webb and Marcus Sherwood.
Coquille graduate Ean Smith played a couple of minutes late for the Riverhawks, grabbing a rebound.
In Tuesday’s loss, Rowe had 32 points and Peterson had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Lakers.
Grandinetti hopes the Lakers can rebound to beat the Riverhawks on Saturday in Roseburg, but he has the bigger picture in mind.
“”Yes we want a win — we want to learn on wins,” he said. “The biggest thing is we need to compete and get better every day.”
He remains confident.
“I like this group,” he said. “They are still coming with good attitudes every day.”
The Lakers will be home each of the next two Wednesdays with the same one-team schedule as this week. Next Wednesday, they host Chemeketa on Wednesday and visit the Storm on Saturday. The following week, it’s Linn-Benton on Wednesday and a trip to Albany to face the Roadrunners on Saturday.