Big wins for Cougar basketball and postseason aspirations

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Number 23,Alileyon Ford (middle), 30 Jeremiah Cherry (left) and 10 Kalil Irby (right) celebrating the victory. photo by Quinton Pruhdomme

By Quinton Prudhomme

Staff Writer

The Clackamas Community College men’s basketball team played the Portland Panthers on Jan. 29. The Panthers were undefeated coming into the game, but clackamas prepared well.

“We were excited to play, and we were confident we could win if we played well. The team had a lot of energy and focus for this game,” said Coach Clif Wegner in an email.


Wegner also shared specific strategies and preparations for the game. 


“They (Portland)were more difficult to prepare for because they have a lot of kids playing very well and it’s hard to key on any particular player,” said Wegner. “We did have some strategies about how we wanted to guard their best players. We also wanted to be the aggressor and we wanted to mix up our defenses and give them some different looks throughout the game. We also took a look at how they played defensively and picked out particular plays for particular players on our team that we can take advantage of offensive situations.” 


Their preparations paid off with decisive victory over the Panthers with the score 84-78. The Cougars’ ability to draw fouls and make their free throws was a game changer. Student Andre Lawrence was a standout player who executed this extremely well.


The Cougars had a game against Chemeketa on February 3rd that was emotionally important to the team. 


We took a tough loss on the road at their (Chemeketa) place to open the season. We lost Forward Gray Thompson to an injury in the first half of that game and we were without our guard Andre Lawrence, who makes a huge difference for us. It was a bitter loss to be honest with you, and the only way to erase it is to beat them,” Wegner said. 


The Cougars left Chemeketa with a satisfying win with a final score of 77-73.


This is shaping up to be a very exciting season for Cougars basketball and if you talk to anyone on the team these feelings are echoed without


Cougar Player Alilyeon Ford said he and the team are excited about the rest of the season.


“I think the guys are super hyped,” Ford said. “You can kind of tell when you start to win and in practice the guys kind of get bubbly and laugh, so I can definitely tell that the guys are happy and everybody is really ecstatic.”


Wing Payton Meyers said the wins impact his thoughts on playoff hopes.


“The goal is always postseason,” said Meyers. “I feel like everyone in the locker room wants to get to the final four, and especially because we would be returning after we made it last year. You know it’s a great feeling to be there, so going back is definitely a goal for sure.”


Wegner is hopeful about the rest of the season. 


We are excited about this season and trying to just keep it in order and take one game at a time,” he said. “In the end that’s the only thing we really have much control over. Right now we are fighting for a playoff spot and currently in third place.” 


The Cougars have incredible momentum and hopefully they will remain locked in coming into this year’s playoffs.


Quinton Prudhomme

Staff reporter with a love for news, culture and sports.