Battle-tested Lakers gear up for potential postseason run
Last Thursday's game meant nothing in the standings. The Lake Oswego girls had already clinched fourth place and, in fact, already knew who their first-round playoff opponent would be. Still, the Lakers would have liked to enter the postseason on a positive note.
Lake Oswego gave a solid effort but couldn't come away with a victory against a determined West Linn squad that played physically all evening long.
The result was a 49-40 loss but, on a positive note, the team got to see a style of basketball very similar to how its first-round playoff opponent, Reynolds, plays.
'They sat in a 2-3 zone and, from what we've seen, that's what Reynolds does all day. They're pretty consistent,' coach Paula Pietrok said.
The Lakers did see some solid guard play from the Lions on Thursday but they did not have to face Rosetta Adzasu, one of the top point guards in the state, as she was nursing a knee injury.
It was a slow start to the game as West Linn struggled to find a rhythm on offense without its floor leader. Lake Oswego had an obvious game plan as the team forced the ball into post Shannon Reader possession after possession.
However, the senior was double and often triple-teamed by the Lions making it difficult to thread passes into the key. The Lions held a 6-5 lead after the first quarter and threatened to pull away early in the second stanza.
'It was very difficult for us to execute offensively and, defensively, I think we shot ourselves in the foot a few times,' Pietrok said.
Emily Wattman-Turner buried a pair of three-pointers to open the quarter but both teams started to heat up from the floor. Becky Luetjen answered for Lake Oswego with two three-pointers of her own.
Wattman-Turner hit one more shot from beyond the arc but the Lakers' rebounding efforts kept them in the game.
Lake Oswego got a very solid outing from sophomore Miranda Babcock-Krenk. In just three quarters of action she posted a double-double, with 10 points and 10 rebounds. The bulk of her points came on put backs.
'Miranda played a nice game. She's a smart player and she can play both inside and outside for us,' Pietrok said.
The Lions had a four-point lead at the half and then Lake Oswego went cold again. The Lakers only hit three of 12 attempts in the quarter as West Linn continued to deny the ball inside and when Reader or Luetjen was able to get the ball close to the hoop, they found it difficult to get off uncontested shots.
West Linn led 36-29 at the end of the third quarter and the Lakers were frustrated at the lack of calls they were getting in a loosely officiated game.
Lake Oswego was never able to get much closer in the fourth quarter. The Lions executed well on offense and the Lakers turned the ball over six times in the quarter.
After a brutal preseason in which virtually every game was against an opponent that has been ranked in the top-10, the Lakers are battle-tested for the playoffs and, with some luck, could surprise a few teams.
'I've always liked the No. 4 seed. We don't have a long bus ride which is nice. There's definitely some good teams (on our side of the bracket) but I think the girls realize they have an opportunity,' Pietrok said.
The Lakers took on Reynolds on Wednesday night but results were not available at press time.
Lake Oswego 5 15 9 11: 40
West Linn 6 18 12 13: 49
Luetjen 11, Childs 11, Babcock-Krenk 10, Reader 8, Blakely, Sullivan, Prince, Reis, Osako, Hogensen.
Wattman-Turner 13, Christensen 10, Maleike 6, Miller 5, Pittenger 5, Dewart 5, Joscelyn 4, May 1, Stuart, Sitton, Schumaker.