The Pacers should be able to score in bunches despite losing a large senior class

The Lakeridge girls basketball team lost an exceptionally talented senior class last year but it will still be business as usual for the Pacers. The team will still play at an extremely fast pace and will look to attack teams with their relentless outside shooting.

“Nothing has changes in terms of Xs and Os. We want to run and gun. Last year we averaged about 30 three-point attempts a game. This year I'd like to even play a little faster,” coach Kevin Berry said.

Lakeridge returns wing Ruby Taylor who should be a major factor for the team on both sides of the ball. Taylor was one of the team's top shooters last winter and, at 5'11” she will be called upon to rebound as well on a team that is lacking in height again.

“We'll definitely look to Ruby for her scoring power. She's a key component for us,” Berry said.

Colleen Ellis is also back for the Pacers, possessing a dangerous outside shot and a quick first step to the basket.

Lakeridge will run at teams in waves again this year, routinely subbing in four or five players at a time to preserve fresh legs.

“Like last year it's a really deep group. We have 13 on the roster and we'll probably go 11 or 12 deep,” Berry said.

The Pacers return two more players with varsity experience in junior Hope Daskalos and senior Christina Mueller.

Lakeridge isn't loaded with experience but has a handful of talented young players who could be primed for big seasons.

The Pacers have two freshmen on the varsity team in soccer standout Natalie Bristol and Sammy Danchok.

While Lakeridge will play at breakneck speed and should have little difficulty putting up points, much of this year's success will depend on how well it can lock down defensively and how well it can rebound against bigger teams.

Rebounding was an issue for Lakeridge last year and has been a focal point of the entire offseason.

“We don't have a single true post player and there's nothing you can do about that. We have a lot of athletes and we're going to have to be aggressive,” Berry said.

The Pacers are optimistic heading into the season and the team has bought into the system. Lakeridge is looking forward to its first game which will be this Friday at home against Wilson. The Pacers will also be playing in the Interstate Shootout again over the break.

The Three Rivers League figures to be tough again this year with Oregon City, West Linn and Clackamas all fielding very strong teams.

“We want to get better year after year. Last season we traveled for a play-in game. This year we'd maybe like to host a play-in game. That's a very realistic goal for us,” Berry said.

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