The Lamar Community College Men's Basketball team collected two Region IX wins last week: an 86-63 win over McCook Community College on Wednesday and an 83-70 win over Otero Junior College on Saturday.
The Runnin' Lopes easily topped the MCC Indians on Wednesday, November 30, with five players in double figures in scoring.
Wayne Stewart paced the Lopes' attack with 23 points and five rebounds as the Lopes protected the home court and moved to 7-0 at home this season.
The first half was a dog fight, with the teams knotted at 33 going into the halftime, but the second half began with two great runs (7-0, 6-1) for the Lopes that gave them a comfortable lead in the first five minutes. After those runs and a couple of time outs by MCC, the Indians kept it together and did not let the Lopes to create a bigger lead until a steal and a breakaway dunk by sophomore Wayne Stewart. The dunk energized the team, who kept pushing the lead to as high as 25 points and finished the game up by 23 points, 86-63.
LCC had plethora of scorers on the night as the team shot 41% from the field and 74% from the free throw line.
Freshman Richard Caldwell followed Stewart with 14 points, while Andre Hardy added 12. Michael Skinner and Devon Jacobs both registered 11 points. Sophomore Jerome LaNeir was a field goal shy of a double double on the night with eight points and team-high 14 rebounds.
"We came out flat and tried to figure out our match ups against McCook, and they made us pay for it during the first half," said head coach Serg Fenerci. "However, after discussing our game plan during the half-time one more time, helped us come out with lots of intensity on both ends of the floor in the second."
"We knew that we just had to keep the intensity and keep executing our plays and we would be fine. The guys just did that in the second to secure the win."
For the second game of the week, the Lopes traveled to Otero Junior College in La Junta for a classic rivalry game in front of a very big crowd.
"I would like to thank our fans for supporting our team on the road, they were amazing," said Fenerci.
Lopes began the game with lots of energy and execution on both ends of the floor and were up 12-0 in the first few minutes, causing OJC to burn a couple of time outs early in the game.
"Our guys knew how important this game was to not only us but also to our community in Lamar," said Fenerci.
The Rattlers calmed the Lopes' storm the majority of the first half, cutting the lead to as low as five points, but LCC made another run at the end to go to the locker room up 43-27.
"We talked about the importance of the first five to six minutes of the second half and how we need to keep swinging and not let them back in the game," said Fenerci, and the Lopes did just that by starting the second half with 6-0 run which caused another time out by the OJC.
The LCC team stretched the lead to as high as 21 points with less than seven minutes left in the game. Then OJC made a run and cut LCC's lead to 7 points with three minutes left in the game.
"OJC is a good team, they play real hard and hustle on every play. They did not want to go out without swinging, and we knew that. Our guys began to relax too soon and let the OJC back in the game," said Coach Fenerci.
However, Lopes hit several clutch free throws at the end to stretch their lead to double digits and finished on top, 83-70.
"The region wins on the road are always very important, but getting this win at our rivals' home court made it a lot sweeter for us," said Fenerci.
LCC had four players in double figures: Michael Skinner led the team in both scoring (18) and rebounding (11), while Wayne Stewart added 16 points and 5 rebounds, Andre Hardy had 13 points, and Richard Caldwell finished with 12 points. Jerome LaNeir and Isaiah Martin had strong outings on the glass with LaNeir getting eight rebounds and Martin adding seven rebounds and three blocks.
With these two wins, LCC improves to 13-1 on the season and 2-0 in Region IX.
The team will host two more games before going into the semester break.
On Saturday, December 10, the LCC women's team will face off against Adams State JV starting at 2:00pm, followed by the men's team versus North Platte Community College at 4:00pm in Wellness Center. This will be an important Region IX match up for the men's team as NPCC is currently undefeated.
The men's team will then welcome Adams State University-JV team on Monday, December 12, in Wellness Center. Tip-off is set for 3:00pm. This game will be followed by a men's JV game against Northwest Kansas Technical College JV at 5:00pm.