The top-ranked Lakers fire up early from downtown, and coast to a 72-55 victory

LAKE OSWEGO - The top-ranked Lake Oswego Lakers used sharp shooting from downtown in the early going to put Oregon City away 72-55 in a Three Rivers League boys basketball game played here Feb. 20.

The sixth-ranked Pioneers played the Lakers straight up for the final three quarters. But the Lakers used a hot hand to build a 27-13 lead in the first period, forcing the Pioneers to play catch-up the rest of the way.

'I think we had a decent game plan,' said Oregon City coach Mike Doherty. 'But it didn't work because we didn't shoot very well early on, while they were hitting 3's.'

While Jared Cunningham and Sammy Schafer held Laker big man Kevin Love to just 2 points in the first period, Laker guards Ernie Spada and Taylor Marr hit five 3-pointers, to stake Lake Oswego to its early advantage.

The Pioneers cut the first-quarter gap to 11 points in the third period, but they couldn't get any closer.

Love finished with 28 points to lead all scorers.

Brad Tinsley (23 points), Kamal Smith (14 points) and Schafer (10 points) reached double figures in scoring in the losing effort. Smith was 5-of-7 from the field; Tinsley was 8-of-15 - with three treys.

Cunningham had an off-night for Oregon City. The Pioneer big man scored just 2 points, 17 below his average.

The Lakers were a hot-handed 30-of-48 (.625) from the field for the game.

Pioneers take care of business

The Pioneers took care of business in their league final with Putnam last Thursday, winning 73-54. They put the came away in the first period, when they out-scored the visiting Kingsmen 27-14.

Tinsley had a big night for the Pioneers, scoring 26 points and hauling down 12 rebounds.

'Six of his rebounds were offensive, and we scored on five of them,' said Doherty.

Tinsley and Schafer (11 rebounds) led the Pioneers to a 44-22 domination of the backboards. Schafer also blocked three shots.

Cunningham got back in the grove with 16 points. He was 3-of-5 from 3-point land.

Oregon City (19-6, 9-3), the No. 2 seed from the TRL, hosts Tualatin tonight at 7 in the first round of the Class 6A state playoffs. The Timberwolves (9-15) finished fourth in the Pacific Conference.

With a win over the Wolves, the Pioneers will likely meet second-ranked South Medford on the road in Saturday's second round, with the winner advancing to the Class 6A State Tournament. South Medford hosts Aloha (12-12), the No. 4 team from the Metro League, in tonight's first round.

'It's a tough draw if we go to South Medford,' said Doherty. 'But like I told our players, even though they will have a packed house and everyone will be rooting for South Medford, none of those guys can come inside the lines. It's 5-on-5 basketball.

'I think our chances [of an upset] could be pretty good, if we can get five guys clicking on the same night. But we'll have to do that.'

South Medford (23-2) has only two losses entering the state playoffs. The Panthers got upset by fifth-ranked Sheldon 65-61 in a Southwest Conference game on Feb. 13, and they fell to Oak Hill Academy of Virginia 99-90 in a Dec. 30 game of the Les Schwab Invitational.

Oregon City lost to Oak Hill 98-71 in the same tournament. Oak Hill Academy was ranked the No. 1 high school boys team in the nation at the time.

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