The last time the Otero Junior College men’s basketball team played rival Lamar Community College, the Rattlers saw the lead vanish at halftime, resulting in a 72-67 loss at Lamar on March 10.
The teams met for the second time at the McDivitt Center on Tuesday, and the Rattlers beat the Runnin ‘Lopes 105-83.
“We went down to her seat there and were up at eight o’clock at halftime,” said OJC coach Ted Crass. “It was a common thing for this team to try to play 40 minutes. I’m very proud of them. They finally did it and hopefully we will keep the regional tournament going.”
Three Rattlers achieved double-digit results, with Ryan Stowers leading with 26 points. Tommy Kamarad scored 18 points, including 4 on 4 from the 3-point range, and Lonnell Martin scored 11.
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Stowers is an all-purpose goalscorer. He will drive to the basket and is not afraid of a 3 point shot.
In fact, he made 12 of 14 attempts to shoot Lamar from the ground.
“Ryan is an incredible high-level goalscorer,” said Crass. “He’s become a good defender for us. He’s been doing that from the day he arrived here in August. He scores at a high level and you can’t really protect him. He shoots the ball with a high clearance behind the head . “”
“I like the middle class,” said Stowers. “I prefer to go to the basket.”
Stowers came to La Junta from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
“Coach Crass called me and I thought it was a good opportunity so I got out of here,” said Stowers.
According to Stowers, there are many differences between a metropolis like Pittsburgh and a rural community like La Junta.
“Pittsburgh is a busy city,” said Stowers. “There are a lot of open fields and a different lifestyle here. But it’s good because I can play with a lot of tires.”
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Otero (10-4, 5-3 NJCAA Region IX South) will have four street games to end the regular season. The Rattlers play on Friday in North Platte (Neb.), On Saturday in McCook (Neb.), On Sunday in Western Nebraska and on Tuesday in the state of Trinidad.
“Because of COVID, we played this game (Tuesday) instead of the end of the year because Trinidad had to postpone it,” said Crass. “So we’re going to end this thing with four games in five days. We’re going to make the most of it. I told these guys that it’s like going to the regional tournament. If you want to win the regional tournament, you have to win three games in three days. “
“We are definitely ready for this,” said Stowers.
Tribune Democrat reporter Ken Hamrick can be reached by email atKHamrick1@gannett.com. Support local journalism by subscribing to the La Junta Tribune-Democrat.