Time is beginning to run short for a Lakeridge girls basketball team that is hoping to battle its way into the TRL's final playoff spot.
Tuesday's home game against West Linn presented a perfect opportunity for Lakeidge to make its move. However, despite a determined effort by the Pacers, West Linn still prevailed by a 53-49 score.
The Pacers found themselves in an almost identical situation last year when they traveled to West Linn at this point in the season. Needing a win to get back into the playoff race, the Pacers delivered that night. But this time they fell just short.
Lakeridge trailed most of the way in Tuesday's game but always stayed within striking distance. It seemed every time the Lions needed a clutch defensive play or a big basket, they got it.
In some respects, the game actually favored Lakeridge. The Pacers had a better shooting percentage, hitting 43.2 percent of their field-goal attempts to 35.6 percent for West Linn. Lakeridge also had a 22-20 edge in rebounding and outscored West Linn 24-20 in the paint.
But West Linn gained its edge by hitting four three-pointers, to just two for the Pacers, and by canning two more free throws than Lakeridge.
The Pacers were actually superb from the foul line, hitting 15 of 20 attempts, a 75-percent clip. But West Linn was even better from the charity stripe, making 17 of 21 for 81 percent.
The loss spoiled a brilliant game by Lakeridge's sophomore forward, Lexi Ross. She scored a team-high 16 points (on 7-of-9 shooting), grabbed six rebounds, blocked three shots and committed no turnovers.
Senior post Kiersten McNairy also scored in double figures with 12 points (on 4-of-6 shooting), but she was limited to just 19 minutes of action because of foul trouble.
Fouls were an issue all night as McNairy and teammate Courtney Bird both finished with four personals.
That was due to the physical nature of the game as 37 total fouls (including 19 on Lakeridge) were called during the game.
The Lions also had their share of foul troubles. Emily Wattman-Turner, who scored a game-high 18 points (including a trio of three-pointers), was limited to 23 minutes of action while also being saddled with four fouls.
West Linn point guard Rosetta Adzasu had to sit out most of the second quarter after picking up two early fouls.
She then committed a foul on the inbounds play to start the second half and wound up sitting out for the majority of the third quarter.
But Adzasu came back to score six crucial points in the fourth quarter, and Wattman-Turner led the way with eight points in the third quarter.
Despite West Linn's clutch shooting down the stretch, the Pacers managed to stay in the game until the bitter end.
The outcome might have been different if Lakeridge had been able to use a full compliment of players.
The Pacers suited down just eight players. All of them played, but only six of them saw significant action.
To compensate, some players were forced to play extended minutes - like Bird and Kai Schmidt, both of whom saw 30 minutes of playing time.
Bird had five points while Schmidt had seven (all from the foul line).
Kayla Glanville was the only other Pacer to score. She had nine points in 27 minutes. Lakeridge will take on Oregon City on Thursday.