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Pacers lose shootout to OC

by: Vern Uyetake, 
Lakeridge’s Brett Klitz glides past Oregon City’s Jared Cunningham for a scoop shot during last Friday’s TRL game, which the Pioneers won 77-62.

In a fast-paced game that ebbed and flowed for the better part of three quarters, Oregon City's 'Big Two' proved to be too much for Lakeridge to handle as the Pioneers rolled to a 77-62 victory.

Oregon City jumped out to a lead it wouldn't surrender midway through the first quarter as 6-foot-9 Jared Cunningham knocked down a pair of three-pointers. He and guard Brad Tinsley each had eight points in the period and post Sam Schafer pulled down five rebounds to give the Pioneers a 20-10 lead.

For the Pacers, Graham Moredock was virtually unstoppable all night when he was able to get his hands on the ball. Moredock had eight of his team's first 10 points and had all six of Lakeridge's rebounds in the opening stanza but the Pioneers' zone did an effective job of denying him the ball. A late three-pointer by the Pacers' Joe Cramer cut the lead to 20-13 after one quarter.

Oregon City spent much of the remainder of the game building up a sizeable lead and then watched Lakeridge respond, getting itself back into the contest.

'Every time we got stops we were able to close the gap a little bit but they've got a lot of offensive firepower,' Pacer coach Dave Nuss said.

To open the second quarter, Cunningham knocked down another three-point shot and was fouled in the process. Meanwhile the Pacers were ice cold from beyond the arc. Oregon City's zone gave Lakeridge a number of opportunities from long distance but the Pacers simply couldn't convert.

'We just missed shots that we really needed to make tonight. When you're going against a team like this you don't have a lot of margin for error,' Nuss said.

Oregon City got to the line 15 times in the second quarter alone and converted 11 of those free throws. Cunningham also took over the bulk of the rebounding duties, pulling down seven boards in the period to go along with eight points. The Pioneers held a 14-point lead midway through the quarter but a late surge by Lakeridge, including a lay-up at the buzzer by Brett Klitz, cut the deficit to 10 points at the break.

Lakeridge was able to cut the lead to six early in the third quarter after a pair of assists from Klitz to Kenan Ozgur, but that was as close as the Pacers would get for the rest of the contest.

After a time-out, Oregon City responded with a big run. Cunningham got things started by knocking down another back-breaking three-pointer and the lead quickly swelled to 17 points.

But, once again, Lakeridge wasn't done. The Pacers closed the quarter on an 8-0 run, capped off by a steal and a three-pointer from Moredock just before the buzzer.

'I knew we could score inside against that zone if we were just patient enough. That proved to be true. They didn't have an answer for Graham,' Nuss said.

The teams traded baskets early in the fourth quarter. Tinsley knocked down a three-pointer and was quickly answered by Lakeridge's Joe Cramer. Then Tinsley took over the game.

The Pioneers' leading scorer and floor leader got to the line five times in the quarter and had nine points to all but put the Pacers away. Matt Hollands also had nine points in the final quarter for Oregon City.

'We just needed to find ways to try and get Tinsley under control,' Nuss said.

He went to the line 14 times and I'm not sure we shot 14 free throws as a team,' Nuss said.

For the game, Tinsley led all scorers with 29 points, 13 of which came on free throws, and he also had seven rebounds. Cunningham had 21 points and 12 rebounds while Moredock had 23 points and 15 rebounds.

Lakeridge's game against Putnam scheduled for Tuesday was cancelled due to the weather.