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Athletic Pacer boys look to take step forward

The versatile team hopes to compete in the difficult Three Rivers League


The Lakeridge boys basketball may take a little while to find its identity this year. Lakeridge returns just two varsity starters but has loads of athleticism as it looks to improve upon last year's fourth-place finish in league.

“We kind of don't know what we're going to look like. We have eight seniors and we expect to compete every night and be in every game,” coach Dane Walker said.

The Pacers return Michael Walker, a three-year varsity player, and Madison Pihl, a two-year varsity player who will each be focal points for the team this year.

Lakeridge is also excited about the play of a junior transfer from Florida, Reggie Oliver, who will be the team's point guard this season.

“He's got the potential to be a very good player for us,” Walker said.

The Pacers should have plenty of speed but are a bit smaller than they have been in years past, a problem that is exacerbated with Eric Dungey expected to be out until at least mid-January with his knee injury.

“We don't have a lot of size so Dungey will be a difference maker for us when he comes back,” Walker said.

Lakeridge also returns a handful of multi-sport athletes. Rick Hiller, Patrick Jaco and Mark Grothe have all played varsity basketball before and rejoin the team following the football season.

Lakeridge should be a versatile team this season with the ability to adapt its style to best suit its personnel.

The team's early practices have been spent trying to jell as a team as the Pacers get ready for Friday's opener at Westview.

“We're just focusing on the process of getting better right now and trying not to look at too big of a picture,” Walker said.

Lakeridge was 3-7 in the TRL last year but played some very close games against both West Linn and Lake Oswego. The league figures to be very strong once again with the Lakers, Lions continuing to field strong squads.

“It's arguably the best league in the state. I don't think any team is a given win on any given day,” Walker said.




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