The Roadrunners have lived up to their namesake during the 2017-18 men’s basketball season.
Entering Wednesday’s Northwest Athletic Conference South opener against Clark, Linn-Benton’s fast-paced offense was putting up a division-leading 95.9 points per game. The Roadrunners were held below 70 for the first time all season but still escaped with a 67-66 home victory.
“I think it’s just the style you’re seeing in modern basketball,” second-year LBCC coach Everett Hartman said. “There are still people who want to walk it up and keep the game in the 60s and 70s. But I wouldn’t want to play that way and I don’t want to coach that way.”
Sophomore post Cooper Getsfrid, a West Albany High graduate, led the Roadrunners (11-3, 1-0) with 17 points. Adam Harvey added 16 and Matt Ismay came off the bench to score 12, including two big free throws that helped seal the win.
Tyler Fernstrom had a team-high 15 points for Clark (4-8, 0-1).
The Roadrunners, who played at a slower-than-usual pace Wednesday night, strive for 90 possessions per game. The goal is to reach 100 points.
To speed up the pace, LBCC will press and encourage the opposition to join the track meet.
“We are trying to tire down teams,” Getsfrid said. “It’s a little bit harder of a system because you have to run a lot more in practice, and I wasn’t really used to that from high school. But I like it a lot and we get a lot of shots up.”
And there are plenty of shots to go around.
Getsfrid leads the balanced attack with 14.8 points per game. Teammates Bailey Evers (14.2 per game), Taylor Jensen (12.1), Trey Ecker (11.4) and Harvey (10.5) also average double figures.
The Roadrunners take 26.4 3-pointers per game and make nine (34.1 percent). Evers, who played in a similar system at Forest Grove High, shoots north of 40 percent from beyond the arc.
“Running like this is what most players dream of,” Evers said. “There are a lot of opportunities to score. Everyone loves scoring.”
Unlike many NWAC teams, LBCC regularly uses up to 12 players in games. Nearly everyone is a threat to fire from the 3-point line.
“Out rule is if you’re open, on balance and within your range, shoot it,” Hartman said. “We want to push the ball every single time down the floor. It’s turning into positionless basketball.”
The Roadrunners have a distinct local flair with Getsfrid and Philomath High’s Ecker and Riley Davis.
Evers and Jensen battled Getsfrid in Greater Valley Conference play during their time at Forest Grove, as did former McNary standouts Trent Van Cleave, Ismay and Harvey.
“I’m super competitive so at first it was just like ‘ah, I remember this time when you beat us at this place,’” Getsfrid said. “But now all of us GVC guys have a good bond because we know how to play with each other.”
Added Hartman: “When I was hired, I told the dean, president and athletic director that I wanted to recruit local. I felt like that was an area that was kind of under-recruited and I wanted to bring in local kids. That way you get more interest in your games and hopefully a few more fans come to the games.”
A season ago, LBCC dropped its finale against Clark to miss the NWAC Championship. The Roadrunners finished 14-13 overall.
LBCC is expecting to take that next step this winter.
“It’s huge for us and we think we can,” Evers said. “We have to take it game by game, but we feel like we should be in there for sure.”
The Roadrunners, who have won eight of their last nine games, return to action Saturday at Portland Community College.