The race for the basketball section championship in Red North became a little more complicated as Taft (9-10, 4-2) beat Lane 45-33 last Friday. Lane won the first matchup against Taft in the Frank Lollino tournament.
The Eagles needed a win as defending champ Foreman stunned Mather and Lincoln Park beat Senn.
Foreman, Lincoln Park, and Mather have only one loss with two weeks left of conference play before the Public League’s postseason tournament.
Jon Doss led Taft with 16 points and center Kevin Siudut added 13 points and 15 rebounds for the Eagles who made 14-of-16 free throws while Lane (9-9,3-2) missed 32 shots and nine free throws in the loss.
Lane was led by Mark Brand who had 11 points and ten rebounds.
“They are all must wins,” admitted Taft head coach Brett Nishibayashi who is now coaching his alma mater. “We put ourselves in that position. We don’t have the luxury of taking plays or taking quarters off. We need to win every game. Everybody is fighting for the title.”
“If we have could have made one field goal that would be great,” said Lane head coach Nick Logalbo who was frustrated with his team’s lack of offense and missed layups in this contest. “We couldn’t buy one basket. It’s hard to get momentum going when you can’t make layups.”
Lane had only four baskets in the first half, but Doss scored ten points to help give Taft a 21-15 lead.
The Eagles used their height advantage as they outrebounded Lane 42-27.
The third quarter was difficult for Lane. Lane held Taft to only basket, but the Indians failed to convert on offense as they scored only six points and trailed 27-21.
“Defensively, we’re a very good team,” said Logalbo who played in the Red North at Lane. “The fact we held them under 50 points speaks volumes about our defense.”
The biggest basket of this game might have been made by sophomore Doss. Josh gave his team a six point lead late in the fourth quarter to key a 10-1 burst on offense that sealed the victory.
Lane actually did a nice job of defending Doss on defense. Doss didn’t dominate and missed nine shots while making six free throws in this crucial game for both teams. Doss ran Taft’s offense and contributed with seven points.
“This game meant everything,” said Doss. “I think we played well. We came out tough. We’ve been thinking about this game since the beginning of the season. This is a big game for us. We knew we had to win. We executed pretty well on defense.”
“The younger Doss is a nice guard,” admitted Logalbo. “Doss has a nice game. A strong shooter. He’s going to be tough the next two years. He’s a nice player. He can shoot the basketball.”
Niles North beat Lane 58-34 in nonconference play last Saturday.
Lane’s road to a Red North title will be difficult with matchups against Lincoln Park, Foreman, Mather, and Von Steuben.