By MATT SCHUCKMAN
Herald-Whig Sports Editor
James Lane let the adrenalin rush of being back in the John Wood Community College Student Activity Center get the better of him.
"I was too excited," Lane said. "I couldn't really catch the ball."
So three minutes into Wednesday's MidWest Athletic Conference men's basketball game against Lincoln, the JWCC sophomore forward found himself back on the bench.
"Coach (Brad Hoyt) sat me down and said, ‘Calm down. You'll be all right,'" Lane said. "Once I kind of got my confidence back up, it was time to play."
In the second half, it was time to shine, too.
Lane scored 10 points in an 18-8 run that turned the Trail Blazers' two-point halftime lead into a 53-41 advantage and propelled them to an 85-75 victory.
"Being back at home and having the fans out here was really fun," said Lane, who finished with 18 points. "It was all about executing. Coach told us when we run our stuff, we can get layups and we can get open looks. If we try to do our own stuff, it's not going to work. We have to execute."
The first five minutes of the second half were almost flawless.
John Wood (13-6, 1-1 MWAC) scored on seven consecutive possessions with 10 of the 14 points coming within 5 feet of the basket and two more coming off free throws by A'Darius Porter, who was fouled at the rim.
The easy baskets and high shooting percentage -- JWCC made 6 of 7 field-goal attempts in that stretch and shot 59.3 percent from the field in the second half -- are a byproduct of quality entry passes. Sophomore guard Brad Hamilton finished with four assists, while sophomore point guard Michael Roy and Lane had three each.
"We work on it in practice and Coach gets on us if we have tipped passes and stuff," said Hamilton, who had 10 points and was one of six JWCC players in double figures. "Mike does a good job controlling the game and getting guys open."
Roy also spearheaded the Trail Blazer's press break, which led to six baskets in transition in the second half.
"They did a really good job of handling our pressure, stayed composed and got down and executed their offense," said Lincoln coach Pat Lepper, a former JWCC player and an assistant coach on last year's team. "You have to give credit to them. They did some nice things."
That includes pounding the boards.
JWCC outrebounded Lincoln 38-32 with Lane snaring 11 rebounds. The Trail Blazers had six offensive rebounds and eight second-chance points in the second half alone. Lane had three of those offensive boards.
"In the pre-game, we talked about James and his ability to go to the offensive glass," Lepper said. "He did that. He was just a warrior on the offensive glass."
The Trail Blazers have come to expect it.
"James is that guy," Hamilton said. "He's the kind of guy you don't have to run the offense through because he's such a high-energy guy. You throw up a couple bricks and he's going to get seven or eight offensive rebounds."
He does that because he gets excited to be in the gym.
"That's the way he plays," Hoyt said. "He's an excited kid. He's on his toes. He's smiling all the darn time. Sometimes, that looseness early can get you off track. But he gets it back, and he makes plays. He chases basketballs and makes those effort plays. He doesn't allow the last play to affect the next play.
"He's a huge part of our development and will continue to be."