Away victory gives the Lakers sole possession of first place in the TRL

OREGON CITY - In a game that had major playoff implications, the Lake Oswego boys basketball team responded with one of its best efforts of the season in a 72-50 victory over Oregon City Friday night. The win gives the Lakers the No. 1 spot in the Three Rivers League.

Leading the way was Lake Oswego's 6-foot-10 center, Kevin Love, who scored 39 points, including 21 in the fourth quarter. He hit 16 of 22 shots and seven of them came on dunks. Love also had 20 rebounds, two blocked shots, two steals and two assists.

It wasn't just a dominant performance by Love that spelled the difference, though. The Lakers (5-0 Three Rivers League, 14-1 overall) also benefited from some clutch outside shooting by guards Ernie Spada, Taylor Marr and Landon Ainge.

That trio combined for 32 points, including 12 each by Spada and Ainge. All of Spada's points came on three-pointers while Marr added a pair of threes.

Many people expected this game to be close, and for a while it looked like it would be. Midway through the second quarter, the Lakers led only 23-19. Love had 10 of those points. But Oregon City guard Brad Tinsley was just as productive, scoring nine of his team's first 19 points. Lake Oswego then went a 9-3 run late in the second period and claimed a 34-25 lead at intermission.

The Lakers really began to assert themselves early in the second half, which started with a dunk by Love and a mid-range jumper by Ainge. The host Pioneers responded when Sam Schafer hit a difficult fade-away shot over Love and Tinsley followed with a twisting drive around Love to cut the deficit to 41-29.

But Oregon City wouldn't get any closer the rest of the night. Spada then hit a three-pointer and Marr added another one a short time later, but the margin slipped back to 12 (at 49-37) after Tinsley hit two difficult shots late in the third period.

The rest of the game belonged almost solely to Love. Oregon City was forced to play man-to-man much of the final quarter because of Lake Oswego's outside shooting in the earlier periods, and that made it easy for Love to maneuver inside.

He scored his team's first 13 points in the period and all of them, except for one free throw, came from no more than a foot from the basket. That effort included an emphatic two-handed dunk where Love had to soar over two defenders to complete the play. He followed a short time with another dunk that made the score 62-38.

The teams then traded baskets the rest of the way, and Love scored his team' s last eight points, including three more dunks. He wound up scoring all but two of his team's points in the final period. Love's monster game overshadowed a superb effort by Tinsley, who hit 10 of 18 shots for 24 points. The Pioneers (4-1, 13-3) also got 14 points from center Jared Cunningham, who transferred from Lake Oswego to Oregon City during the off-season.

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