Outside of the Oregon City girls basketball team, it's a good bet that no team in the state will play a tougher schedule than Lake Oswego.
So far this season, the Lakers have taken on Lincoln, a pair of tough teams in Eugene and the fourth-ranked team in Washington. Then there's Friday night's game against fourth-ranked Jesuit and a contest against sixth-ranked Tualatin in the first round of the Laker Interstate Shootout later this month.
It's the kind of schedule that would leave a lesser team with a bunch of bruised egos. But first-year coach Jason Fawcett wants to make sure his third-ranked Lakers are battled tested by the time they hit the stretch run of the season.
'We've got to get ready for the state tournament,' Fawcett said.
Last Saturday's game against Roosevelt, which is located near the University of Washington, was just like a tournament game. It was a low-scoring, defensive game that could have gone either way. As it turned out, Lake Oswego wound up losing the contest 36-35.
'It was a very competitive game but both teams were a little sluggish,' Fawcett said, after each squad had played the night before.
In that game, Lake Oswego managed to hold highly touted center Mackenzie Argens to three points. Arens, who has already signed a letter of intent to play for the University of Washington next season, is possibly the most sought-after girls player in that state.
Fawcett was certainly pleased with the way his players shut down Argens. But he's more worried about the progress of the entire team, and the coach is reserving judgment on that matter, at least for now.
'At this point in the season, we're still trying to figure out who we are and where we are,' Fawcett said.
The Lakers had only one player, Margaret Johnson, score in double figures against Roosevelt. She had 11 points while Emily Hatch added seven. Roosevelt was led by Ariel Evans with 12 points.
Fawcett also thought the Lakers would be severely tested by Kennedy the night before.
'We kind of expected them to be like a (fast-running) Tualatin team. But if they were like Tualatin, they didn't stick with it very long,' the coach said.
In fact, Kennedy never got untracked as the Lakers held a 15-0 lead after one quarter.
'We came out with a good defensive effort,' Fawcett said of the rare one-quarter shutout.
'I hope that happens a few times this year,' he added.
On offense, Kennedy was simply no match for the Lakers, who were led by Hatch with 12 points and Johnson with 10. In what was a balanced scoring effort for the Lakers, point guard Sarah Griffin chipped in eight points while Jill Shoquist and Ali Lomax each had seven and Avery Lee added six.
'We have nice athleticism across the board,' Fawcett said of his team. 'We don't end up on the negative end of a lot of match-ups … And we were able to take away a couple of their players (on defense).'
The only problem Fawcett had with his team's effort was the fact that the Lakers gave up four three-pointers to a team that had trouble scoring. However, aside from the three-pointers, Kennedy managed only four other field goals.
The Lakers now seem ready to take on a strong Jesuit team, but Fawcett is proceeding cautiously.
'It's still early in the year,' he said. 'We just want to be ready when the conference starts.'
According to the pollsters, the Lakers seem to be ready now. But the players haven't put much stock in the polls.
'I've never heard them talk about it,' the coach said.