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Pacer girls top Forest Grove in play-in game


Lakeridge fends off a late rally and moves to to face powerhouse South Medford

The Lakeridge girls basketball team earned a berth in the playoffs last week with an impressive 44-39 road win over Forest Grove.

The Pacers entered the game as slight underdogs but executed their game plan and Lakeridge's brutal league slate made sure the team was battle tested.

Lakeridge's speed and defense keyed the win as the Vikings had a height advantage but matched up poorly with the Pacers' athleticism.

“We knew our advantage was that we were faster. On missed shots we had four girls down the court before they had two which got us some good looks,” coach Kevin Berry said.

The Vikings pressed the Pacers but Lakeridge was well prepared.

“When you've seen Oregon City and Clackamas' press you know you've seen the best in the state so that gives you some confidence,” Berry said.

Lakeridge had early success moving the ball around and hitting mid-range jump shots and, when Forest Grove switched from man defense to a zone, the Pacers continued to go inside, hitting cutters for shots near the hoop.

“We worked on getting the ball inside and we hit a lot of eight to 15 footers,” Berry said.

While the first half was back and forth, Lakeridge slowly started to build a lead in the third quarter, one that swelled to 10 points at one time.

However, Forest Grove battled back, using a 10-0 run to knot the game at 39-39. Lakeridge, a team that relies heavily on its three-point shooting, surprisingly hit just one shot from behind the arc in the game but it came late and at a big time off the hand of Kira Wall.

The Pacers hit a free throw to regain the lead and then played solid defense in the final minutes, keeping Forest Grove off the board and forcing the Viking to foul.

Lakeridge wasn't perfect from the line but did enough to built a two-possession lead in the final seconds to lock down the win. Eleven different players scored for Lakeridge in the game, led by 12 points from Ruby Taylor.

“It was probably out best game in the past six to eight weeks,” Berry said.

With the win, Lakeridge receives a road trip to South Medford where the Pacers will take on the defending state champion Panthers.

“We're in the right mindset going into the game. It's a team bonding experience.The TRL mentally prepares you for playing in a game like South Medford,” Berry said.

The game was played Wednesday evening but results were not available at press time.