By Mitchel Guy, Sports Reporter
The Challengers Men’s basketball team fell to the conference leading Lakeland Lakers 72-59 last Wednesday in Kirtland. This was the second meeting between the two teams and once again The Lakers walked away victorious. The first game was clouded by the controversy of an altercation on the court that would lead to a series of technical fouls called, which would eventually lead to the Challengers losing.
Those circumstances made this game mean more than the typical contest to each team. The Challengers let the first one get away from them due to a lack of self-restraint by starting guard Isaiah Bennet who threw a punch at Lakeland’s Montell Goodwin. However, before the altercation, The Challengers held a considerable lead for most of the game. They came out with a chip on their shoulder the second time around to say the least. “Guys came out, giving a maximum defensive effort,” said Coach Duncan. It was a battle in the first half as the teams looked evenly matched.
The second half though, was a completely different story. All of the things that had been working for the Challengers all season simply could not happen. The 3-point shot has been one of the strongest areas for this team this year but on this night they would not fall. The Challengers shot less than 15 percent from deep.
The Lakers were able to take Tri-C’s leading scorer Robert Fomby almost entirely out of the game. Fomby was being defended primarily by Lakeland star Mike Davis. This was a letdown for the boys heading into the end of the season. Despite the score, Duncan felt his team was on the cusp of overcoming the conference’s best team. “It was almost there, if we could have taken it up two more notches, it was almost there.
The Challengers were able to follow up that loss with a 70-64 win at Sinclair. There is one game remaining in the regular season before conference tournament play begins. The Challengers will host Sinclair in the first round of the tournament on March 3rd.
All stats courtesy of OCCAC.org