The men’s basketball team was defeated by Pomona-Pitzer after a close game that ended in a 74-63 loss Saturday in the Frantz Athletic Court.
The Leopards held strong defensive positions in the first half – they trailed by one point, 31-30.
However, the Sagehens controlled the game in the last two minutes, surging for 13 points before senior forward guard Trevor Woodland made the last shot with 17.4 seconds left.
“I keep telling them, ‘You need to compete until the clock says zero,’” head coach Richard Reed said. “We needed to stay consistent and get stops.”
The Leopards shot 39.7 percent from the field, whereas the Sagehens shot 51 percent.
Reed knew how the team needed to perform, but they did not manage to focus on the key element: consistency.
“Coach gave us a good defensive plan, but we did not perform enough,” senior forward Jonathan Bastros said. “It was a tough game.”
Woodland scored 18 points overall, making him eight points away of reaching the 1,000 career points along with senior forward Austin Napolitano, who reached this landmark when the Leopards faced Occidental Feb. 8.
While focused on helping the team – with five rebounds, six field goals and three 3-pointers – he admires his teammates for setting him in position to be in the 1,000 point club.
“These guys are incredibly selfless,” Woodland said. “They do the hard job holding the ball while I just shoot it.”
During the second half with 13:51 left, junior point guard Jake Veith made a 3-pointer and increased the Leopard’s lead, 42-38.
Forty-four seconds later, Woodland was down on the court after colliding with multiple players.
The stadium was nervous as they saw Woodland, grudging and holding his ankle.
Athletic trainer Keith Savage assisted him off the court; Woodland suffered from a sprained ankle.
When senior point-guard John Leggett made a free throw and increased the lead, 44-41, Woodland returned with 11:40 left.
The crowd cheered as Woodland got back on court.
“This is my last year and I wanted to be on the court with my teammates,” Woodland said.
With therapy and proper ice treatment, Woodland said his ankle will heal by Wednesday.
Woodland admired Veith’s effort during the game. Veith scored 10 points and grabbed one rebound.
The crowd was pumped as Veith made a 3-pointer with 5:30 left to play, increasing the Leopard’s lead 61-57.
“We played together in high school,” Woodland said. “Veith has improved so much this season.”
While the game may not have gone as planned, the audience gave recognition to the Leopards. Seniors such as Bastros, Napolitano and Leggett were the key to the Leopards’ aggressive defense, let alone offense.
Whenever Leggett grabbed the ball, he gave every effort to avert the Sagehens from stealing it.
One of his highlights, besides scoring seven points and grabbing three rebounds, was making a layup with 10 minutes left – the lead increased, 52-48.
“I figured if I played aggressive enough, we would eventually control the game,” Leggett said.
Following the loss, the Leopards lost another game Wednesday in overtime to Redlands, 91-86.
The loss extends the Leopards losing streak to six.
Woodland scored 25 points and reached the 1,000 career point milestone.
La Verne will try to snap their losing streak at 7 p.m. this Saturday against Caltech, a team that they beat early this season, at the Frantz Athletic Court.
Alex Forbess can be reached at email@example.com.
The story, “Men’s basketball drops another to Sagehens,” which ran on page 10 of the Feb. 10 Campus Times, contained an inaccuracy in attribution. Athletic trainer Keith Savage did not say that Trevor Woodland suffered a sprained ankle. The Campus Times regrets the error.