In essence Tuesday's game was a must-win for the Lakeridge boys basketball team. If things had fallen perfectly for the Pacers, they would have found themselves in a messy four-way tie for fourth place in league. But the opposite happened. Lakeridge dropped a 59-55 decision to West Linn and Putnam survived a scare from Milwaukie.
Now it will take a minor miracle for the Pacers to rebound and make a run at the playoffs.
'We needed this one. Mathematically we're not out yet but it's a very difficult road,' coach Dave Nuss said.
It was a frustrating game for Lakeridge as the Pacers rallied from a 14-point deficit but couldn't get over the hump to take the lead and in the end 'there was just too much Justin Monahan,' Nuss said.
West Linn's leading scorer had 34 points, nearly all of which came on shots in the paint or off of free throws. Lakeridge played admirable defense against the Lions' larger front court players but whenever West Linn needed a big play, it got it from Monahan.
The Pacers took an early lead in the first quarter. Tyler Larsen scored eight consecutive points for Lakeridge including a deep three-pointer which gave his team a 13-9 lead.
But Monahan came off the bench and had eight points in the final minutes of the quarter to knot the score at 15.
Lakeridge opened the second quarter with a three-point play by Ben Nelson but then West Linn started to take over. The Lions went on a 7-0 run and, after trading baskets, the Pacers got sloppy with the ball late in the half.
'At times our effort was there tonight and other times it wasn't. We just didn't make enough plays to get us over the hump,' Nuss said.
A pair of turnovers allowed West Linn to extend its lead, going up by 10 at the half.
The Lions were on the verge of running away with the game coming out of the locker room. Monahan scored two quick baskets to up the lead to 14 but Lakeridge buckled down quickly.
The Pacers frustrated the Lions in the paint and then picked up their intensity on defense, hounding West Linn's ball handlers. The result was a string of careless turnovers by the Lions and a 10-0 Lakeridge run to close the quarter.
'We got a lot of good contributions from kids to get us back in the game,' Nuss said.
The Pacers cut the lead to two early in the fourth period, continuing to build momentum but a pair of nice passes from Jeff Bush to Monahan allowed West Linn to build a seven-point lead.
Lakeridge chipped away at the lead, getting it to three points again but couldn't come up with a key stop, which would allow the team a chance to tie the game. The Pacers also missed five free throws in the fourth quarter and gave up an offensive rebound after the Lions missed a pair of foul shots.
Next up for Lakeridge is No. 1 Oregon City tonight (Thursday).
Lakeridge 15 10 16 14: 59
West Linn 15 20 10 14: 50
Larsen 14, M. Hoch 12, Hertz 9, Nelson 7, Little 5, Wippert 2, Breedlove 2, C. Hoch 2, Maurer 2, Trumbull.
Monahan 34, Flores 8, Cathcart 7, Barnes 5, Bush 5, Baker, Reavely, Patrick, Pyrch, Underriner.