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Pacer girls rally for 5th place

The Lakeridge girls basketball team rebounded from a rough start at the Interstate Shootout to rattle off three straight wins and take fifth place in the Les Schwab Bracket last week.

The Pacers opened the tournament with a tough loss to Tualatin in which nothing would fall on offense.

"The thing was if we had rebounded and played better defense we still could have won even without shooting the ball well," coach Kevin Berry said.

But the Pacers rebounded impressively, taking down Sherwood 69-43 in round two.

In that game, Lakeridge's offense showed up and the team's heavy pressure on defense stymied the Bowmen.

Lakeridge continued its run through the consolation bracket against South Eugene.

It was a back-and-forth contest and the Pacers trailed by one at the half.

Lakeridge was able to tighten up the defense again in the fourth quarter and outscore the South Eugene 15-8 over the final eight minutes to pull out a 64-54 victory.

Throughout the tournament the Pacers got strong contributions from the entire roster and spread the ball around on offense.

"That comes really naturally for this team. Everyone's unselfish and they trust each other," Berry said.

In the consolation finals, Lakeridge took on Grant and, again, was at its best down the stretch.

Lakeridge outplayed the Generals but couldn't shake them until the fourth quarter, pulling out a 65-56 victory.

"Taking fifth place out of 16 teams is always nice. When you're playing four games in four days that's not really conducive to our style of play but the girls responded well," Berry said.

For the tournament, Nicole Blizzard averaged 20 points per game and Kyleigh Young scored 19 per game. Ruby Taylor averaged nearly seven points per game.

Ellee Daskalos also led the Pacers with 8.8 rebounds per game.

"That's been our biggest weakness this year but Ellee has just been a rock for us. She's a natural rebounder," Berry said.

On Tuesday, Lakeridge moved to 9-2 on the season with a 72-35 win over Sandy.

Lakeridge caught fire early in the third quarter, getting three-pointers from Colleen Ellis, Mari Chang, Taylor and Young to build a 22-point lead that the team would go on to extend.

The Pacers will play McKay and Beaverton before opening league play against West Linn.

"I think everyone is going to be battle tested. The biggest issue will be the mental challenge because we're 9-2 but the Three Rivers League is a whole different world," Berry said.




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