Laker boys win in Red Bluff, lose Griffin
The Lake Oswego boys basketball team is already flexing its muscles early in the season, recently winning the Red Bluff tournament in California convincingly and following it up with a victory over David Douglas.
However, the Lakers have also been dealt a rough blow early in the year, losing guard Connor Griffin for the season with a torn ACL.
Griffin had recently joined the team after winning a state title in football and blew out his knee in a freak accident, participating in a slam dunk contest in Red Bluff.
Lake Oswego got the news shortly before its semifinal game against Enterprise but managed to rally to pull out the victory and then knock off South Medford in the championship.
"The kids really felt terribly. It's such a sad thing to have an injury like that," coach Mark Shoff said.
Lake Oswego got off to a strong start in the tournament, hammering Pleasant Valley 76-44.
The Lakers jumped out to a 22-4 lead after the first quarter and never looked back.
Lake Oswego was keyed by the hot shooting of Jason Luhnow.
Luhnow led four Lake Oswego players in double digits with 20 points as the Lakers were able to clear the bench and coast to a victory.
In the semifinals, the Lakers faced a scrappy team from Enterprise and held on for a 69-61 victory.
After learning about Griffin's fate prior to tip-off, Lake Oswego got off to a slow start, falling behind 23-16 after the first quarter.
But Lake Oswego battled back, picking up its intensity in the second quarter to take the lead 38-34 at the half.
"We did well to hang in there and I was proud of the guys. We have a lot of depth this year and we just told the team that everyone is going to have to step up to try and fill a hole now," Shoff said.
Calvin Hermanson proved to be a nearly impossible match-up for Enterprise, exploding for 34 points in the game.
"He knows he has to take over a little more. He just needs to play within himself. He's so talented he doesn't really need to try and make things happen," Shoff said.
Lake Oswego extended its lead in the third quarter and managed to stave off Enterprise to reach the finals.
In the championship game the Lakers took on a familiar opponent in South Medford.
"I think we've seen them more in the last few years than some of our league opponents," Shoff said.
South Medford has been impressive early in the season and started off well against the Lakers.
Lake Oswego trailed 30-25 at the half as Hermanson was saddled with two early fouls.
But the Lakers regrouped admirably, outscoring the Panthers 26-11 in the third quarter to seize control of the game.
"We lost our rhythm a little with guys trying to do too much individually. We just came out a lot more aggressive in the second half," Shoff said.
Hermanson scored 27 points to lead the Lakers and Luhnow added 17. Blake Quarterman also got into double figures with 10.
Lake Oswego also got a nice boost at point guard from T.J. Dorado in the tournament.
After coming back home, Lake Oswego capped off a whirlwind slate of games with an easy 67-48 win over David Douglas.
The Lakers started a bit slowly, missing a handful of easy shots near the hoop but pulled away in the second half again.
"I'm extremely pleased with the way we're playing. It's a great group of kids. We still have to get into shape and defense is going to be a key for us this year but it's been a good start," Shoff said.
Lake Oswego will now gear up for the Les Schwab Invitational and opens the tournament on Dec. 26 against Benson.