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Leopards fall short to Panthers on senior night

La Verne freshman guard Khaneal Mason moves the ball toward Chapman's basket during the first half Saturday”s game, defended by Chapman guards Taylor Hamasaki and Garrett James. Chapman won, 68-65, on La Verne”s senior night. / photo by Helen Arase

La Verne freshman guard Khaneal Mason moves the ball toward Chapman’s basket during the first half Saturday”s game, defended by Chapman guards Taylor Hamasaki and Garrett James. Chapman won, 68-65, on La Verne”s senior night. / photo by Helen Arase

Karleigh Neff
LV Life Editor

The men’s basketball team ended its season Saturday night, losing to Chapman 68-65 in the last seconds of the game at Frantz Athletic Court despite a full home crowd cheering.

The game started by honoring the Leopard seniors – guard Ronn See, guard Eric Becker and forward Alonzo Young – for their last seasons at La Verne. Overall, the Leopards finished 7-9 in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

“I don’t think anything went wrong,” head coach Richard Reed said. “We always have a battle with Chapman. In conference basketball it always comes down to two or three points and they made some plays that we didn’t.”

The game was close throughout both halves, although the Leopards started off slow with a seven-point deficit 11 minutes into the first half.

The Leopards came back defensively with two rebounds by See and Becker, resulting in two Leopard baskets and making the score 25-21, La Verne, with seven minutes left before halftime.

Chapman junior guard Taylor Hamaski was fouled minutes before halftime and made both free throws, making the score 31-30, Panthers, going into the second half.

“We couldn’t stop them in transition,” See said. “But we played together finally and I am proud of my team. This was my last season and it was everything I expected.”

After halftime, the Leopards took the 43-40 advantage. The Panthers answered with back-to-back baskets by senior forward Nick Dragovich. Dragovich scored 12 points with 10 rebounds.

With only 30 seconds left, the Leopards lead 65-62 after See made two free throws. But Chapman junior guard Colin Zavrsnick was able to make two free throws after being fouled as well, making the score 65-64, La Verne.

See was fouled but missed the free throw attempt, and Chapman was able to answer with only seconds left, when Panther sophomore guard Colin Dragovich tipped in a missed three point attempt.

“We just didn’t execute when it came down to it,” Becker said. “This season was fun, we had our ups and downs but we are one big family and I love those guys.”

The game ended when the Leopards fouled Zavrsnick, who made both free throws, making the final score 68-65.

The Leopards led in rebounds with 35. The team also recorded 12 assists. But the Leopards also committed 13 turnovers.

See was also SCIAC’s leader in assists per game, averaging four per game.

See lead the game in points with a total of 14 while Becker had 10 points along with sophomore Weston Newell and junior center Niall Harrison.

Karleigh Neff can be reached at karleigh.neff@laverne.edu.

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