Sometimes, history has a habit of repeating itself. That was certainly the case when the Lake Oswego girls basketball team lost a 57-43 decision to Clackamas last Friday. It was a game that was almost a mirror image of the contest the two teams played four weeks earlier.
In both cases, the Lakers more than held their own against the highly-ranked Cavaliers through most of the first half before settling for a small deficit at halftime. Then, in each instance, the Cavs used some intense full-court pressure to blow the game wide open in the third quarter. Both times, the Lakers were able to stem the tide in the fourth. But it was too late by then.
'It was a repeat of our home game (against Clackamas),' Lake Oswego coach Paula Pietrok noted after last Friday's contest.
'We had a great first half, but in the third quarter we just stopped playing team basketball,' the coach added. 'We just got caught making poor decisions, and they're a good team that will make you pay for it.'
Aside from that ill-fated move away from a team-oriented style of play, Lake Oswego's biggest Achilles heel was the turnover - make that 35 turnovers.
It's hard to beat anyone, let alone a good team, when you turn the ball over 35 times. Yet, the Lakers seemed destined, at least for a while, to overcome their propensity for charity.
After a rugged start, when they turned the ball over eight times in the first four minutes of the game, the Lakers managed to settle down and play some solid basketball. After spotting Clackamas a 7-2 lead, Lake Oswego came roaring back to score 15 unanswered points, which put the visiting Lakers in front 17-7 early in the second quarter.
Like Pietrok noted, it was a total team effort during that spurt. Shannon Reader had four of those 15 points while Kendall Prince, Becky Luetjen and Kate Childs had three each and Lisa Blakely added a deuce.
And suddenly, everyone on Lake Oswego's side went away from what was working and Clackamas took advantage by going on a 17-1 run that put the Cavaliers in front 24-18. Lake Oswego did recover a bit late in the period when Childs canned a pair of free throws and Brandy Herald converted a lay-in against the press to cut Clackamas' lead to 24-22 at the break.
At that point, Laker fans had to be optimistic considering the fact that their team had committed 19 first-half turnovers and still only trailed by two points against an excellent team.
Unfortunately, the third quarter turned into a virtual nightmare as Lake Oswego rarely managed to move the ball past half-court. Even when they did advance the ball into the front court, shot attempts were few and far between because of a lack of patience on offense.
'We stopped executing (the offense), and we tried to do too much one-on-one, and we were leaving teammates hanging out to dry,' Pietrok said. 'We kind of shot ourselves in the foot again.'
The Lakers went the first 6:49 of the third quarter without a point. During that time, Clackamas scored 15 straight to push its lead to 39-22. Lake Oswego wound up scoring just two points in that period, when Herald scored another lay-up against the press.
Then, after that disheartening third quarter, the Lakers went back to holding their own with Clackamas for the remainder of the game. In fact, Lake Oswego out-scored the Cavs 19-16 in the final stanza.
The good news is that Lake Oswego proved it could play with an excellent team for three quarters. But it was hard for the Lakers' young, inexperienced team to keep up with Clackamas' seasoned squad for an entire 32 minutes.
'This team needs to just settle down and understand the pressure and make good decisions,' Pietrok said.
Through it all, Reader managed to score a game-high 15 points. But the production dropped off after that as Prince was the second-leading scorer with six points.
The Cavs had four players in double figures, led by Becky Buehler with 12.
Lake Oswego 12 10 2 19: 43
Clackamas 7 17 17 16: 57
Reader 15, Prince 6, Luetjen 6, Childs 5,Herald 4, Sullivan 3, Reis 2, Blakely 2, Babcock-Krenk 1, Fagan, Guthrie, Hogensen.
Buhler 12, Calhoun 11, Griggs 11, Reese 10, Mo. Strous 4, Schaffer 4, Baker 4, Myers 1, Yates, Bieker, Ma. Strous.