LO boys eye return to state tournament

by:  DAN BROOD, 
Michael Brady, right, battles with a Tualatin defender for a rebound in last week’s game. The Lakers won 41-35 over the No. 6 Timberwolves.

Last year, the Lake Oswego boys basketball team missed out a on a trip to the state tournament by the slimmest of margins, losing a playoff game in the round of 16 in the final seconds against Tualatin.

This year, coach Mark Shoff thinks his team could very easily be even better.

The Lakers return post Max Jacobsen who has already committed to Portland State University next year.

Jacobsen, a first-team all-league selection last year, will play a huge role for Lake Oswego again this year as one of the state premier big men but the success of the team may lie with how well its other role players perform.

'Max is definitely our guy but we can't rely solely on him,' Shoff said.

The Lakers are blessed with loads of experience and depth.

'We have 10 or 11 guys who can come in and contribute for us. I think we're going to use different people at different times depending on who's playing well,' Shoff said.

The team has a trio of talented guards in Scott Leedy, Marcus Anthony and Catlin Blyth.

Blyth saw plenty of time on the floor last season and is one of the team's quickest players of the dribble but he has also dramatically improved his outside shot.

Anthony missed much of last season with injuries and illness but can score and distribute the ball well while Leedy has gotten bigger in the offseason and is playing with increased confidence according to Shoff.

Sophomore Tyson Coleman, who has just recently joined the team after the football team, is also expected to make big contributions this year.

To go along with being one of the most experienced teams in the league, Lake Oswego is also one of the biggest.

Obviously Jacobsen will provide match-up problems for most teams but Michael Brady and 6'9 Billy Reader will also combined to make up a formidable front line.

'With Billy we need to get him to believe that he's actually 6'9. They sky's the limit for him,' Shoff said.

Sophomore Andrew Batiuk has also impressed his coaches in early practices.

The Lakers got their first win under their belts last week in a 41-35 victory over Tualatin.

It was a defensive struggle for both teams but, despite some troubles executing on offense, Shoff was pleased with the team's effort against a talented team that had been ranked No. 6 in the state.

'It wasn't a really well-played game by both teams but the defense played very well,' the coach said.

Jacobsen led all scorers with 13 points while Leedy added 10.

The team has a tough preseason schedule and will face Grant this Friday. It will also play in the Les Schwab Tournament after Christmas.

The Lakers are early favorites in the Three Rivers League but could receive challenges from Oregon City, West Linn and Clackamas.

'I like the character of the team. The kids just have to earn it,' Shoff said.