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LO boys look to clinch 2nd

The Lake Oswego boys basketball team wants to make sure that its playoff fate is not sealed by something as arbitrary as a coin flip. And to do that, the Lakers will need a victory over Clackamas on the road tonight (Thursday).

A win over the Cavaliers clinches the league's second seed and would put the finishing touches on an impressive 10-2 run through one of the most balanced leagues in the state.

A loss would drop the team into a tie with Clackamas for No. 2 and if the Lakers were then to find out that they lost a pre-determined coin flip, the road to the state tournament would look much tougher.

'We know that the No. 2 seed is definitely better than No. 3 and we've told that to the kids. Before we start even thinking about the playoffs we're giving all our attention to Clackamas,' coach Mark Shoff said.

One thing Lake Oswego has going for it, however, is that it is currently playing some of its best basketball of the season.

That was evidenced last week when the Lakers pounded West Linn 60-40.

The Lions were upset-minded entering the contest and needed a victory to dramatically improve their own playoff chances.

However, after just a few minutes, Lake Oswego quickly put an end to those hopes.

'What I like is that we're playing with a lot of energy right now,' Shoff said.

The team executed well on both sides of the ball and virtually put the game away in the second quarter.

In that period, Lake Oswego only yielded six points and took a 33-16 lead into the locker room.

Max Jacobsen was nearly unstoppable all game long. The junior, who struggled in an earlier game against the Lions, had 18 of his game-high 28 points in the first half.

Meanwhile, Elliot Babcock-Krenk played stingy defense on West Linn's leading scorer, holding him to just five points in the contest.

Babcock-Krenk, who torched West Linn earlier in the season, took just four shots in the game, deferring to his teammates on offense.

'Elliot's one of the leading scorers in the league and he didn't complain at all about not getting his points. That's what I love about this team. There's no egos,' Shoff said.

In the second half, the Lakers never let West Linn make a run to get back in the game, playing solid defense and continuing to get the ball to Jacobsen in the post.

'The guys realized Max had it going and they kept feeding him,' Shoff said.

And the Lakers held on for the important win that set-up tonight's showdown against Clackamas.

When the two teams squared off previously, Lake Oswego won 51-40.

No matter what the outcome is tonight, however, the Lakers will start preparing to make another run toward Eugene.

It has been a terrific year for Lake Oswego as the team has been ranked in the top-10 for much of the season despite losing the bulk of last year's starting roster.

Babcock-Krenk is the only player on the roster with significant playoff minutes but Shoff feels that the rest of the team will be well-prepared for whatever obstacles it faces.

'Elliot's played in two finals in a row and the other guys know what it takes. You still get something out of just being at the tournament and seeing it firsthand,' Shoff said.

The Lakers will either take on the Central Valley league's No. 4 team at home on Wednesday or they will travel to face the Southwest Leagues' No. 2 team.