But Elliot Babcock-Krenk erupts for 31 points to rally the Lakers to victory
CLACKAMAS - The unheralded Clackamas Cavaliers gave fifth-ranked Lake Oswego a run for its money in last week's Three Rivers League boys basketball final.
The Lakers prevailed 80-67, but the game was a lot closer than the final score might indicate.
The Cavaliers led through most of the first three quarters of play and it was still a four-point game, at 61-57, with 4:07 to play.
The Lakers claimed their first lead, at 45-44, on a rebound basket by Nick Rulli with 3:20 remaining in the third period.
Lake Oswego pulled away late in the fourth quarter by beating a Cavalier full-court press and with 13-of-18 free throw shooting.
'We played really hard,' said Clackamas team co-captain Jake Mauermann. 'We played our hearts out.'
It was in the third quarter that the Lakers made their move. While the Cavaliers struggled to get the ball to drop, the Lakers attacked the basket for high percentage shots.
Clackamas was only 3-of-10 from the field in the third period, while the Lakers were 8-of-13.
'We came out a little flat [at the start of the game], while Clackamas shot the lights out,' said Lake Oswego coach Mark Shoff. 'In the second half, we came out more on their shooters, and we played with a little more energy on offense.'
In an earlier game with the Lakers, Lake Oswego 6-7 post Max Jacobsen had proved the difference, scoring 26 points in a 51-40 Laker victory.
On last Thursday, it was Elliot Babcock-Krenk who proved the difference. The Laker 6-3 senior guard attacked the basket for a game-high 31 points and hit several key baskets when the Lakers' were making their move.
Thanks to early foul trouble and the defense of Craig Seiler, Jacobsen tallied only 10 points.
Nick Halberg played a major role for the Lakers on defense.
Clackamas junior guard Andrew Earnest sparked the Cavaliers early on, hitting four 3-pointers in the first period. Earnest scored a team-high 20 points on the night. But he scored only three points in the second half, when Halberg stuck to the Cavalier sharpshooter like a wet tee-shirt.
While Babcock-Krenk and Jacobsen were the only Lakers to reach double figures in scoring, four Clackamas players scored in double figures.
Seiler, Curtis Papenfuss and Mauermann scored 16, 15 and 11 points respectively.
For the game, the Lakers converted at a .636 (28-of-44) clip from the field, taking most of their shots from close range.
The Cavaliers made 21-of-43 (.488) field goals and 17-of-20 (.850) free throws.
With the win, the Lakers (20-4, 10-2) earned sole possession of second place in the final Three Rivers League standings.
The Cavaliers (16-7, 8-4) finished third, their only league losses coming at the hands of Lake Oswego and top-ranked Oregon City.
Lake Oswego will host South Salem, the No. 4 seed from the Central Valley League, tonight at 7 in a first round game of the Class 6A state playoffs.
Clackamas travels to North Medford for a 6:30 p.m. playoff game with Southwest Conference runner-up North Medford (18-7).
The Black Tornado are 10-1 in games played at home this season. They defeated Clackamas 85-61 when the two teams met over the Christmas break.
'They're a good team,' said Bair. 'They have a starting five that started together last year and maybe the year before, so they've got a lot of experience. They're fast and pretty long.
'We've got some issues we need to overcome, but I think we're playing our best basketball right now. And if we bring our best game, I think we're playing well enough to win in the playoffs.'
'I feel if we come out and play our best game, we can beat them,' said Mauermann. 'When you get to the playoffs, any team can beat any team on a given night. [After the Lake Oswego game] we know we can play with the best.'
Should the Cavaliers win at North Medford, they'll play the winner of a game between Jesuit and Centennial on Saturday night, with the winner advancing to the eight-team Class 6A State Tournament.