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LO stars own Battle of Bothell

The talent pipeline for boys lacrosse in the city of Lake Oswego seems to be never-ending.

The city's youth lacrosse program has always been one of the best in the state. But the program may have reached its pinnacle when its seventh and eighth-grade all-star team won the Battle of Bothell last month in Washington.

Regarded as the best youth tournament in the Northwest, the Battle of Bothell is usually ruled each year by the top team in Washington, which lately has been a Mercer Island squad.

But this year, no one could beat the team from Lake Oswego. In fact, most of the games weren't even close.

The LO team, which featured players who will eventually be divided between the Lakeridge and Lake Oswego high school teams, won all six of the games it played and four of them were blowouts. The most impressive victory might have been a 6-2 decision over Mercer Island in the preliminary round.

The following day, Lake Oswego beat Issaquah by a pair of goals in the quarterfinals, and then dominated its foes in the semifinals and final.

Lake Oswego varsity head coach Peter Lamb, who shared the all-star coaching duties with Ian Lamont of Lakeridge, fell in love with all of the talent he saw on the team.

'Every year we have talented players that come from that (youth) program,' Lamb said. 'But this year, there are some eighth graders that are going to be vying for varsity spots next year.'

After last year's all-star team turned in a solid showing in the Bothell tourney, seemingly everyone wanted to play on this year's team. So many kids turned out for tryouts that an extra day of workouts and evaluations had to be added to the tryout schedule, Lamb said. Lamb and Lamont ended up with a 22-player squad that was as good as anyone could have expected.

'We wanted to put together a true select team,' Lamb said.

It also seemed a perfect choice to have Lamont and Lamb share the head coaching duties. Lamont is widely considered as one of the top offensive strategists in the state while Lamb is a mastermind on defense.

'Ian's offensive mind is great and all of the (offensive) players really got what he was doing,' Lamb said.

'And team defense is a pretty hard concept but that's my background … and the players bought into the concept right away,' the Lake Oswego coach added.

Lake Oswego youth lacrosse has always been a blended program, rather than dividing the players according to the high school boundary lines. So, it's not too surprising that players from opposite sides of the lake played so well together. But it was nice to see two rival coaches work so well together.

'Ian is still a rival but I respect him,' Lamb said. 'I believe he and I mesh together unbelievably well.'

Lamont, who was unavailable for comment, has been somewhat of a veteran with his participation on the all-star staff. This was Lamb's first year with the all-star team and he participated despite a demanding job in the medical field and a newborn baby in his family. After what happened on the lacrosse field this year, Lamb said he wants to do it again next year.

'Seeing all of the talent was the hook to keep me coming back,' Lamb said.

'I'm incredibly excited to see these kids in high school,' he added. 'I'll welcome them with open arms.'