Last-second win sends Lopes to semis

Last-second win sends Lopes to semis

The LCC men's basketball team opened the quarterfinal of the Region IX Tournament with a 60-57 win over Central Wyoming College on March 9 at Gillette College in Gillette, Wyoming.

Michael Skinner and Richard Caldwell led the way in scoring with 13 each for the Lopes. Caldwell also led the team with seven rebounds while Skinner added six of his own. Another big contributor for the Lopes was Isaiah Martin. The 7-foot sophomore had an all-around performance with six points and four rebounds while adding game-high five blocks. The win placed the Runnin' Lopes (26-6) in the semifinal game on March 10.

Central Wyoming was in control early thanks to an 11-2 run in the first seven minutes of the game. After a time out, the Lopes began looking like themselves again and finished the first half on a 28-12 run to lead 30-23 at the break. Lamar maintained control the majority of the half and held at least a two-possession lead until the last few minutes of the game. The Rustlers made a run and tied the game at 57-57 with 35 seconds to go. The Lopes called a time out to draw up a play to win the game and it worked. Sophomore Taylor Shepard hit the game-winning three-point shot on the assist from Skinner.

"When you play at this stage in the tournament every game is going to be tough. Every possession matters. Taylor may not have had a great scoring night for us, but he was huge on the defensive end throughout the game. Taylor is one of our most experienced players on the court. He knocked his shot down with a confidence at the end. I am very proud of the team effort tonight," said head coach Sercan Fenerci.

Lamar faced Laramie County Community College on Friday night in the regional semi-finals. That game story to be published early next week.