ASHLAND, Ore. – The 2022-23 LC State Men’s Basketball season came to a close on Tuesday night at the hands of the Southern Oregon Raiders in the quarterfinal round of the Cascade Conference Men’s Basketball Championship, presented by U.S. Bank. The sixth-seeded Warriors and third-seeded Raiders battled through a back-and-forth 40 minutes before SOU finished on top 77-75.
Oreon Courtney put together his best game of the season with a team-high 21 points and eight rebounds.
LC State finishes the season with a record of 14-15.
“Proud of our guys for their fight and belief,” Head Coach Austin Johnson said. “They were awesome tonight and played their hearts out for each other. Thankful for our seniors. I should have done a better job getting us a good look towards the end but super proud of this group and all they gave this year. Oreon finished great and was steady all night. Davian and John were electric on the perimeter. This one stings but this was a group that had been through so much and kept battling which I couldn’t be prouder of.”
Courtney scored the first five LC State points before Davian Brown hit a 3 to bring the Warriors within one, 9-8, at 14:52. He added another basket shortly after, but SOU rallied to pull ahead 18-10 by 12:52.
Silas Bennion and John Lustig hit back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the deficit to two, 18-16, at 12:15. Grayson Hunt fought his way to the basket after two offensive boards to help LC keep pace with the Raiders midway through the half.
A jumper by Courtney and 3 by Lustig gave the Warriors a 23-22 lead with nine minutes left in the first half, but SOU regained the lead a minute later. The back-and-forth continued with buckets by Anthony Peoples Jr. and Lustig to keep the score tied 29-29 with just under five minutes to play.
The Raiders took advantage of free throws to gain momentum in the final three minutes of the half, and a layup by Lustig kept the score within four, 40-36, at the half.
Hunt put up the first basket of the second half and Brown made it a one-point game, 41-40, two minutes in. Courtney and Lustig went back-to-back, with Lustig’s being an and-one, to put the Warriors ahead 49-48 at 14:44. SOU answered on the next possession, and LC did the same with a basket by Courtney to keep the one-point lead a minute later.
A Raider free throw evened the score 51-51 before a jumper by Hunt gave the Warriors a slim 53-51 advantage. Another basket by Hunt and a triple by Brown kept things knotted 58-58 at the halfway point of the frame.
Bennion hit a 3 and Courtney added a pair of layups to keep LC State within three points, 72-69, in the final four minutes. Consecutive buckets by Courtney and Lustig had the Warriors trailing by one, 74-73, in the final minute, but SOU hung on to win 77-75.
Courtney led all scorers with 21 points on a 10-for-15 night from the field. Lustig added 19 points and Brown scored 15. Courtney also led the defense with eight rebounds, while Lustig and Bennion each grabbed six.
Both teams shots over 50-percent. LC State made 51.6 percent of its shots to edge SOU’s 50.9 percent. The Raiders grabbed one more rebound (31-30).