Basketball is played slightly differently in every part of the area and on every side of the city. The Red-North/West, primarily made up of West Side teams, is a league where sending one or two guys to the glass to rebound isn’t going to get it done.
It took Lane, newly elevated to the Red this season, a few games to learn just what kind of rebounding effort it would take to succeed.
“In this league you see five guys go to the glass and that is a little different,” Lane coach Nick LoGalbo said. “A couple of our losses in conference came down to that. We just got out-scrapped and out-clawed in the late game situations.”
If the Indians’ 68-52 win against Prosser on the road on Wednesday is any indication, they have adapted.
Lane out-rebounded Prosser 52-32. Vuk Djuric, a 6-6 senior, had 11 points and 13 rebounds. Junior Louis Perona had eight points and 11 rebounds and senior Johnny Colombo added 13 points and nine rebounds.
“This whole season rebounding has been our weakness,” Lane senior Michael Molloy said. “Rebounding drills have been our focus. We have centered whole practices around rebounding and everyone just wants it now. That is everything about rebounding, you have to want it.”
Molloy led the Indians (12-4, 3-2 Red-North/West) with 17 points and four rebounds. Molloy, Colombo and Djuric are the core group that has led a basketball resurgence at Lane.
The Indians are attracting crowds at home and in December they made their first appearance in the Super 25 in more than 15 years.
“We were scraping to get there and now the standard has been established thanks to Vuk and Johnny and Malloy, the four-year varsity guys,” LoGalbo said. “The guys coming up see what it should look like.”
The success is starting to bring in some better players as well. Lane is a solid eight deep this season, it had 11 rebounds off the bench.
“Having a little success has started to attract some players that are high academic that want to give Lane a shot instead of some of the other schools they were perennially going to,” LoGalbo said. “It’s exciting.”
Prosser (8-10, 1-4) is also on the rise. Perrick “Moon” Robinson, a former Falcons star, returned two years ago to take over the program. He’s quickly made Prosser a factor. The Falcons lost to Young by one point and to Orr in overtime this season.
Sophomore Norvell Meadows is a very promising guard. He had 22 points and five steals against Lane.
“The sky is the limit for Meadows,” Robinson said. “He’s one of the most active guards in the city and he’s just a sophomore. We’re just so young right now, only playing one senior. That has made it tough to close out games.”
The Falcons cut Lane’s lead to 55-47 with six minutes left but then didn’t score for a stretch of 4:30 and saw the game slip away.
The Red-North/West is clearly the best conference in the area. Each of the ten teams plays each other once, so losing a home game hurts. Especially with relegation to the White looming.
“Everyone gets caught up in the big name teams in our league but it started early where everyone was beating everyone and games are close that you didn’t think would be close,” LoGalbo said. Every game is big and that third win is a big one. Especially a road win.”