Lakeridge is hot and cold at the tournament, going 1-3

The Lakeridge girls continued to progress in the preseason at the Interstate Shootout last week. The Pacers were shorthanded for much of the tournament but still had a solid showing, going 1-3 with a tough loss in the finale.

Lakeridge opened the tournament with a touch game against a big Hermiston squad which gave the Pacers match-up problems.

“For a team without size, it's tough to be without one of your post players and Hermiston's a very solid team,” coach Kevin Berry said.

Hermiston had success inside all game, taking an 18-4 lead after the first quarter. The Pacers never recovered and would fall 63-32.

But Lakeridge rebounded quickly and played one of its better games of the year against Salt River from Arizona.

The Pacers found their rhythm shooting the ball early and that carried over for the entirety of the game.

Salt River also had hot hands early in the contest, going up 18-15 after the opening period. But Lakeridge quickly righted the ship, outscoring its opponent 19-9 in the second quarter to take control.

Ruby Taylor had her shot working early and her teammates continued to feed her the ball.

Taylor finished the game with 27 points, carrying the scoring load for the team.

“Ruby's embraced what we need her to be and, offensively, we go as she goes at times,” Berry said.

Still, Salt River was able to close the gap to just two points heading into the final period. But Lakeridge hung tough and stayed aggressive down the stretch, closing Salt River out 60-53. Susan Irving was a bright spot for Lakeridge in the game and for much of the tournament with her energy and toughness, particularly on defense.

Unfortunately for the Pacers, the team's shooting touch didn't carry over to its next game with McNary.

The Pacers fell behind early again, trailing 16-5 after the first quarter and never recovered in a 65-39 loss.

“The girls understand with what we have that we have to be different. We live and die by the three-pointer,” Berry said.

Taylor and Kira Wall each had eight points to lead Lakeridge.

Lakeridge would lose its last game of the tournament as well to Camas, but Berry was pleased with his team's energy in the game.

The Pacers had a slow first quarter again, falling behind by double digits but stayed within striking distance from that point on.

“We spotted them a 12-0 lead to start the game but it was even from that point on. These girls want it so badly and they keep fighting. It would have been easy just to pack it in with our fourth game in four days,” Berry said.

Lakeridge cut the lead to 10 points at the half but a dry spell in the third quarter doomed the team. Lakeridge scored just one point in the third quarter and would lose 46-30.

Next up for the Pacers is a home game against Sprague on Saturday.

“We feel like we've underachieved a little to this point but we've beaten ourselves a lot. The x-factor going forward is going to be how much we progress on the defensive side,” Berry said.

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