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Skyhawks push Lakers to the limit in quarterfinals

Southridge trails just 34-32 with 3:55 left, but falls short 44-34


by: MILES VANCE - SOAR AND SCORE - Southridge senior Caleb Herzberg flies in to score against Lake Oswego on March 6 at the Rose Garden.

PORTLAND — The Southridge boys basketball team got the full state tournament experience in 2013 and got it right from the get-go.

The Skyhawks kicked off the Class 6A state tournament with a big-time challenge, facing top-ranked and unbeaten Lake Oswego in the quarterfinals on March 7 at the Rose Garden. And while Southridge didn’t overcome the Lakers — LO won 44-34 — the Skyhawks hung around for a very long time and gave Lake Oswego all it wanted.

“I definitely felt like we executed our game plan. We just couldn’t pull out the win,” said Southridge senior guard Caleb Herzberg, who finished with 10 points and three steals in the loss. “We definitely had the shots to get back in the game and win the game. We just couldn’t hit them.”

“We came out hard and knew we were going to take it at them from the beginning,” said Southridge senior wing Caleb Dozier, who added eight points, 10 rebounds, three blocked shots and two steals. “We knew we could get this win, we just had some calls that didn’t go our way.”

The ninth-ranked Skyhawks, the Metro League runners-up, went on to win their last two games against Grant and Sunset to finish fourth with an overall record of 17-11. For more on those other two games, see the story above and the story on Page A12. The Three Rivers League-champion Lakers, meanwhile, dropped their semifinal game to West Linn, then beat Jesuit to finish third with a season record of 28-1.

Southridge started its quarterfinal determined to spread the taller Lakers out, to use its quickness to get to the basket, and to play tough defense. They were successful in all three of those areas, but just didn’t make enough shots to grab the lead, holding the Lakers to just 4-of-12 shooting from the field but making just 3-of-9 themselves and trailing 8-6 at the end of the first quarter.

Scoring, or lack of it, continued to plague the Skyhawks in the second period and opened the door for the Lakers to push ahead 18-10 late in the quarter. Southridge made just three more shots from the floor in the frame, turned the ball over seven times and saw LO extend its edge to 18-10 when Calvin Hermanson scored inside and converted a three-point play with 1:07 to go in the half.

Caleb Dozier hit late in the half for Southridge to make it 18-12 at the break, and the Skyhawks moved even closer in the third. There, after the Lakers pushed their lead to 23-14 on five quick Hermanson points, Southridge answered with an 8-2 run and moved within 25-22 on a Herzberg layin midway through the quarter.

LO tried to run away again at the end of the third quarter and start of the fourth, extending its lead to 33-23 on three-pointers by Daniel Verburg and Colin Caslick, with Caslick’s bomb coming less than a minute into the final stanza.

Southridge answered once more, getting a layup by Dozier, two Kevin McClean free throws, a Herzberg “three” and then a McClean jumpshot to close within 34-32 with 3:55 left in the clock. The Lakers stepped up there, though, posted a 10-2 scoring edge in the final 2:40 and pulled away to win, with Hermanson collecting six of those points for LO.

“Even though there were big lights (at the Rose Garden), we were prepared and we had great focus on the game and what we were trying to do,” Herzberg said. “We knew how good they were, but we wanted to come out on defense and make a statement that they couldn’t just score on us.”

“We tried to throw them off and make some misses and try to keep them from getting in rhythm of getting in their sets and scoring on us and it seemed to work,” Dozier added. “We were just a couple missed free throws and a couple bad calls from being in the semifinals.”

For the game, McClean added 12 points for Southridge, while Hermanson led all scorers with 22 points and eight rebounds, and Caslick had 10 points, six rebounds and three steals.

To see a complete photo gallery from this game, please go to milesvance.exposuremanager.com.




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