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Giving up 60 points is a pretty good defensive outing for the Lower Columbia College women’s basketball team.

It’s scoring only 54 points which hurt the Red Devils in a 60-54 setback to Centralia in NWAC West Region women’s basketball on Saturday at Truman Myklebust Gymnasium.

“We won’t win games making only 54 points,” LCC coach Lucas Myers said. “We have to get the ball in the basket, and that’s on me. I have to go back and watch film and see what we’re missing and not getting the shots we need.”

The Red Devils (9-8, 1-1 region) made 32 percent (18-56) of their shots. The poor shooting included making 5-25 shots from outside the arc.

“The shooting woes continue to plague us,” Myers said. “We didn’t do a good getting the ball inside. We had some issues there and were passive in the first half. We made 3-15 3s in the first half, and some of them were bad 3s. We need to get back in the gym and work on shooting.”

Defensively, LCC held Centralia to 35 percent (20-56) shooting. Both teams packed in their respective zone defenses, which resulted in both teams settling for taking outside shots.

“There was a lot of contact inside, and our bigs have to do a better job not letting it get into their heads,” Myers said.

The Red Devils, who trailed 37-30 at halftime, cut their deficit to 40-36 midway through the third quarter following a 3-ball from Nizhoni Wheeler, and a jumper from Emily Packham. Centralia countered with a 6-1 run to close out the period with a 46-37 lead.

The Trailblazers continued to build on their advantage in the fourth quarter, taking a 57-44 lead with a Rachel Wilkerson layup with five minutes left.

LCC scored the next five points via free throws, including four from Kenya Lorton, to trail 57-49 with 2:05 left.

Centralia ran its lead to 59-49 with a pair of freebies from Caitlin Yenne, but Packham drilled a trey to bring the Devils to 59-52 with 50 seconds left. Centralia added a free throw six seconds later, and the Devils missed their next four shots before Packham made two free throws with a second remaining.

“Defensively we had some breakdowns in the second half,” Myers said. “We had cut it close, and they had some shots fall. We didn’t give up a ton of points, but have to score more points.”

Lorton had 19 points and six rebounds, and Packham added 14 points, five assists and three stetals. Wheeler was a rebound shy of a double-double with 11 points and nine caroms, Shasta Lofgren had nine rebounds and dished five assists, and Madison Mosier grabbed seven rebounds.

The Red Devils visit Pierce on Wednesday.

POOR SHOOTING DOOMS LCC MEN

Three-pointers. Short jump shots in the paint and layups. These are the shots the Lower Columbia College Red Devils struggled with in their 66-49 loss to Centralia in NWAC West Region men’s basketball on Saturday at Truman Myklebust Gymnasium.

“The ball didn’t go in for us,” LCC coach Mickey Polis said. “When you play a good team like Centralia, you have to put the ball in the hoop. Unfortunately for us we couldn’t. We got in some good spots, but couldn’t take advantage of them.”

LCC (10-6, 0-2 region) made an ice-cold 23 percent of its first half shots (7-30), and was a little warmer in the final 20 minutes at 42 percent (11-26). The Devils’ defense was solid, holding Centralia to 43 percent shooting in the first half (14-32), and 35 percent in the second half, 13-37.

Turnovers also plagued the Red Devils in the first half, as they committed 10 of their 17 in the opening 20 minutes. Centralia took advantage of LCC’s first half miscues by scoring nine points, and 12 points off the Devils’ seven mistakes in the second half.

“We were going a little too fast in the first half,” Polis said. “We were trying to make something out of nothing in a lot of cases instead of being fundamentally sound. We tried to make home run plays when we didn’t need to. We didn’t play solid tonight.”

Trailing 33-19 at halftime, LCC cut its deficit to 35-25 3 ½ minutes into the second half following a layup from Alec Canete-Hall. Unfortunately for the Devils, they missed their next four shots while Centralia’s LaBrandon Price and Marqus Gilson drilled three consecutive three-pointers for a 44-25 lead. The Trailblazers later grabbed a 52-29 advantage following a steal and layup by Dionte’ Dixon with 9:30 left.

The Devils pecked away at Centralia’s lead, and got to within 62-49 after a pair of Louden Wardius free throws with 2:09 left. LCC missed its next three shots, while Centralia added a pair of layups for a 66-49 advantage with 1:15 left.

“We have to do a better job taking our time and going up and scoring when we get the ball close to the rim,” Polis added. “We’re trying to get more contact, but the way the game is officiated these days, as long as you go straight up and straight down, it won’t be a foul.”

Seth Hall led the Red Devils with 11 points, and Samaad Hector had 10 points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots. Bricin Ford had 10 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots, Martis Johnson grabbed eight rebounds, and Devonte Dennis pulled four rebounds.

Toutle Lake’s Nathan Hoff came off the bench for three points and two steals for Centralia.

The Red Devils visit Pierce on Wednesday.

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Sports Reporter

Rick is a 29-year veteran of The Daily News, and the lead Lower Columbia College athletics reporter. In addition, he tracks former area prep athletes and assists several other beats. He is a Mark Morris grad with a business management degree from LCC.

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