Jeff Bair takes over a freshman-heavy squad

After 16 years coaching high school boys basketball, Jeff Bair takes the reins of the Lake Oswego girls program this season.

Bair comes to the Lakers from Clackamas and said that this job is one that has interested him for a while.

“I have two daughters who were starting to lose interest in basketball and I live four miles away from Lake Oswego High School. It was just time for a change,” Bair said.

Bair inherits a program that has undergone a handful of coaching changes since Gary Lavender stepped down and he hopes to get the Lakers back to that level of prominence.

Lake Oswego graduated a large and talented senior class last year and the team is left without much experience.

In the entire program, the team features two seniors, one junior, three sophomores and nearly 30 freshmen, which bodes well for the future.

“We wanted to keep everyone in the program and grow it through participation. But the coaches were joking that we only have three girls with drivers licenses in the program. It's probably the youngest roster in the state,” Bair said.

Ali Binns is back this season with three years of varsity experience and should be one of the top players in the league.

“She's a very good player. We'll probably have her all over the floor. She's versatile and an outstanding playmaker,” Bair said.

Also returning to the Lakers is Laura Nichols who came on strong down the stretch last year.

“She's an impact player because of her work ethic,” Bair said.

Juliana Ramey is another key varsity returner who will join the team after fully recovering from the soccer season where she served as the Lakers' goalie.

Stephanie Dorado is also back for the team this season.

Lake Oswego has athleticism but not much height and the squad will likely see a great amount of improvement from the start of the year to the end.

The team, which last year played a slow half-court style to accommodate its strong post presence, will look to play very up-tempo this year to utilize its speed. Lake Oswego will press on defense and look to cause problems for opposing ball-handlers.

“I'm trying to do what Mark (Shoff) two years ago by playing very quickly. We want to create a soccer game in the gym and to attack the basket as quickly as possible. Hopefully one of our strengths will be that we can create chaos for other teams,” Bair said.

The Lakers open up the season next week against Jefferson. Lake Oswego High School will also host the Interstate Shootout again this year.

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