Lakeridge ties for third in the TRL and looks to play itself into the tournament

by: VERN UYETAKE - Lake Oswego Daniel Verbrug pulls down a rebound between Lakeridge's Reggie Oliver and Madison Pihl in Tuesday's victory.The Lake Oswego boys basketball team wrapped up a perfect regular season with a dominant defensive performance against Lakeridge on Tuesday, topping the Pacers 69-26.

Playing without starting point guard Chrisitan Macdonald, who missed the game after having his knee drained, the Lakers withstood an early spurt from Lakeridge and then held the Pacers to just 13 points in the final three quarters.

The Pacers got off to a strong start offensively, finding a few gaps in the Laker defense and only trailing 15-13 after the opening period.

But Lake Oswego tightened up its defense significantly from that point on and caught fire from the field.

Colin Caslick had perhaps his best game of the season, draining threes against Lakeridge's zone and finishing with a game-high 21 points.

After putting up 13 points in the first quarter, Lakeridge could only muster that amount for the remainder of the game.

“We've been saying all along that we haven't played out best basketball yet but I think that's about as close as we've come,” Shoff said.

Point guard Reggie Oliver finished with 17 of his team's 26 points and Michael Walker added seven more and the Pacers struggled to find success in the paint.

Connor Griffin had a big game for the Lakers defensively, tallying a handful of steals and crashing the boards hard.

The win followed a 52-32 victory over Oregon City last week. The Lakers got off to a slow start offensively, leading 23-14 at the half and didn't put the Pioneers away until the fourth quarter.

But the Lakers held Oregon City to just four points in the final eight minutes to seal the win.

Griffin, Caslick and Calvin Hermanson all scored in double figures for the Lakers.

“It's the time of year where you have to take a step up. There's two weeks left in the season and it could all be over next week,” Shoff said.

Lakeridge, meanwhile, fell out of the No. 3 spot in the league with a tough loss to Clackamas on Friday.

After leading 12-9 through the first quarter, Clackamas opened up its advantage by hitting its first three shots of the second period.

The Pacers hurt themselves with a handful of turnovers and, when the Cavaliers banked in a three-pointer, they led by 12.

Lakeridge tried to claw its way back into the game but a lay-up at the buzzer put Clackamas up 34-23 at the break.

But the Pacers came out inspired in the third quarter. Lakeridge got strong play from Eric Dungey on both sides of the quarter and quickly cut the lead to six points.

Just a few minutes later, a seal and lay-up by Oliver tied the game at 40-40.

A deep three-pointer from Walker gave Lakeridge a 43-42 and another bomb from beyond the arc gave the Pacers a 48-46 edge with one quarter to play.

Lakeridge opened the fourth quarter with two quick hoops but Clackamas answered with a 7-0 run to take the lead 55-54.

Mark Grothe scored a big basket and was fouled to give the Pacers a three-point advantage again but Lakeridge was done in at the foul line once again.

Lakeridge missed four straight free throws and one point and Clackamas hit a big three-pointer to tie the game with two minutes to play.

Nursing a two-point lead, Clackamas had a bad turnover but the Pacers couldn't take advantage.

Lakeridge had an opportunity to tie, trailing by three points but turned the ball over itself and Clackamas hit one of two free throws to seal the game.

On Tuesday, Canby did Lakeridge a favor by knocking off the Cavaliers, sending Clackamas into a tie for third place with the Pacer, but Clackamas holds a slim advantage in the OSAA rankings over the Pacers, which earned them the first-round bye.

Lakeridge will have a play-in game later this week.

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