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Pacer girls split a pair with McNairy out

The Lakeridge girls basketball team is looking forward to being at full strength again.

The Pacers had to play two games last week without the services of their top inside player, Kiersten McNairy, and her absence was very apparent at times.

An undisclosed medical condition kept to 6-foot senior post on the sidelines for last Wednesday's home game against McMinnville and for last Friday's game at McNary. The Pacers couldn't make up for McNairy's absence against McMinnville as Lakeridge turned in one of its worst games of the season and wound up losing 38-35.

The Pacers did manage to rebound nicely from that loss to beat McNary 55-46 two days later, but it took a number of other players to step up and fill the void that McNairy left.

Fortunately, McNairy got a clean bill of health from her doctors and is expected to be back in action for next week's Interstate Shootout at Lake Oswego High School.

'Kiersten is kind of a calming force for us and we really missed her against McMinnville,' Lakeridge coach Mike Melin said.

It was a nightmare of a game for the Paces last Wednesday, and it wasn't just because McNairy was missing. Everything seemed to go wrong for the Pacers in that game, and it didn't help that Lakeridge attempted just eight free throws while McMinnville had more than 30 attempts from the charity line.

Melin couldn't believe his team managed to stay within striking distance the entire way. In fact, the Pacers even had a chance to tie the game at the end with a three-pointer but it wouldn't fall.

Maybe the Pacers just needed to get away from home, because they raised their level of play dramatically against McNary, which was one of the better teams Lakeridge has played this year.

'It was just a really good team effort,' Melin said of his team's victory. 'I was proud of how the kids hung in there.'

The Pacers had three players score in double figures that night. Kai Schmidt led the way with 19 points and Kayla Glanville had 11 in one of her best outings of the year. And Lauren Joyce chipped in 13 points with some hot shooting from the outside.

Meanwhile, the Lake Oswego girls team will return to the court for the first time in more than week when the Lakers host Jesuit tonight (Thursday) as part of a doubleheader. The girls will take the court at 5:30 p.m. and will be followed a boys game featuring the same two schools.