Laker girls unable to hold back
Jason Fawcett felt bad, almost embarrassed, when his Lake Oswego girls basketball team trounced Putnam 89-17 last Friday night.
Everybody wants to win games by wide margins. It provides proof of a team's prowess. But last Friday's game got out of hand so quickly that Fawcett wasn't able to do much about it.
'Obviously our girls came out to play, but we tried not to let it get out of hand,' Fawcett said.
The biggest contributing factor to the lopsided score was the fact that Lake Oswego has a much deeper and considerably more talented team that Putnam. But Fawcett has only eight full-time varsity players (which is his regular rotation) and then he uses junior varsity players to fill in as needed.
However, for the game against Putnam, two of Lake Oswego's top JV players were unavailable. One was out with a broken nose and other suffered a back spasm during the proceeding JV game that night.
So, Fawcett was forced to play his regular rotation for a majority of the game.
To try to keep things from getting out of hand, 'we tried to play as vanilla we could on both ends,' Fawcett said.
But it still didn't help Putnam's cause very much.
'I feel bad that it happened,' Fawcett said of his team's blowout. 'But it's tough to tell them not to shoot a lay-in when they're wide open.'
It was somewhat ironic, maybe even surprising, that Putnam scored the first basket of the game. Unfortunately for the visiting Kingsmen, it was the last basket they scored in the opening period.
After giving up the early lead, Lake Oswego then scored the game's next 33 points - a run that stretched into the second quarter. By halftime, Lake Oswego had pushed its lead to 50-10.
Things got even worse in the third quarter as the Lakers outscored the visitors 20-1. The final period was a little more respectable for Putnam but Lake Oswego still had a 19-6 advantage.
That fourth quarter wound up being Lake Oswego's least productive quarter of the game, but it still represented more points than Putnam scored for the entire game.
Aside from the lopsided final margin, the thing that stood out the most was Lake Oswego's balanced scoring. The Lakers had eight players who scored at least eight points but none of them scored more than 13.
Becky Luetjen and Ali Lomax shared the high-point honors while Margaret Johnson and Emily Hatch had 11 points each. Avery Lee, Shannon Reader and Sarah Griffin had nine points each while Jill Shoquist added another eight to the cause.
Fawcett was excited to see Luetjen and Lomax at the top of the scoring column. Typically, they play the same position - on the wing - so it's sometimes hard to get them both on the floor together. But they're a good compliment to each other with Luetjen at her best on the offensive end and Lomax shining on the defensive end.
'When you combine their (skills), you probably have the best player in the state,' Fawcett said.
Lately, though, Lomax has shown that she's not just a standout on defense. In a non-league game against Redmond last week, Lomax led the Lakers in scoring with 19 points.
'It was her most complete game of the season,' Fawcett said.
Another player who has stepped up her all-around game is Shoquist, who willing accepted the back-up role at point guard, even though she's more talented than most of the other point guards in the state.
'Jill Shoquist is really buying into what we're doing,' Fawcett said. 'She's really turned into a bona fide leader. She's just been tremendous … and I think there will be games this year where she will be our leading scorer.'
Because of her quickness and her ability to break a full-court press almost single-handedly, Shoquist has drawn a considerable amount of attention from college coaches and scouts. Her biggest fans might be the coaches at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. The team's head coach recently offered a Shoquist a scholarship to play basketball there, Fawcett said. But Shoquist is already to committed to Arizona State University, where she will play soccer next fall.
Fawcett said he could see Shoquist playing both sports in college.
'She's wired like a D-I athlete,' the coach said.
As a team, the Lakers have been on a roll since losing to Tualatin in the opening round of the Interstate Shootout. Their solid play has the Lakers ranked fifth in the latest statewide coaches poll.
But Fawcett doesn't care much about rankings. He's only worried about his team's next opponent. And the Lakers will play one of their most important games of the season on Friday when they meet cross-town rival Lakeridge.
That game was originally scheduled for Thursday, but the recent inclement weather pushed that contest back to Friday, which will make it part of a doubleheader with the boys game.
The girls game will now be played on Friday at 5:30 p.m. while the boys will play at 7:15 p.m. Both games will be held at Lakeridge.