LO tops West Albany and hangs with No. 5 West Linn

by: MATTHEW SHERMAN - Lake Oswego's Morgan McKinney was one of her team's top scorers at the Nike Interstate Shootout. The Lake Oswego girls basketball team slid over to the competitive Swoosh bracket for this year's Interstate Shootout and the young Lakers continue to show that they may be fielding their most talented team in a handful of seasons.

In another well-attended and entertaining tournament, Lake Oswego was back playing among some of the state's elite teams and more than held its own against the competition.

The Lakers opened up play against West Albany and controlled the game, fending off a late push to top the Bulldogs 46-41.

Lake Oswego got off to a quick start in the contest, draining a pair of early 3-pointers and building a 12-2 lead. The Lakers' interior defense keyed the early run as West Albany had trouble getting anything going offensively, particularly in the paint.

Gabby Bruno had a strong opening quarter for the Lakers, helping to set up the offense. But Lake Oswego went cold later in the period and West Albany crawled back to make it 15-13 after the first quarter.

The Lakers' defense continued to shine in the second quarter, helping the team build a lead again despite some struggles offensively.

Lake Oswego led 25-18 and then held the ball for the final minute of the half, taking that lead into the locker room.

In the third quarter, Julianna Ramey made her presence known on both ends of the court, knocking away passes and finishing drives, helping key an 8-1 run that saw the Lakers go up 37-23.

A late steal and bucket by Jasmine Brown gave the Lakers a 41-29 lead with one quarter to play.

A pair of early 3-pointers by West Albany helped get the Bulldogs right back in the game until an Emma Heil basket snapped an 8-0 run.

The Lakers got conservative on offense and some late turnovers gave West Albany a chance to tie. However, the Bulldogs missed some big shots and, after going up by five, the Bulldogs couldn't send the Lakers to the foul line, having only committed a single foul in the half and Lake Oswego was able to run out the clock.

In the second round, Lake Oswego took on a fast and talented Beaverton team that is among the best in the state.

The Lakers held their ground against the Beavers, who advanced to the title game, falling 54-33.

In consolation, the Lakers took on West Linn, a team that has had plenty of success against Lake Oswego in recent years and one that is ranked in the top-five this season.

The Lions held a slim advantage for much of the contest but Lake Oswego gave them everything they could handle.

The Lakers never gave an inch and mounted a late rally that nearly erased the deficit. In the end, West Linn held on for a 57-53 victory but it gave the team plenty of confidence heading forward.

Morgan McKinney had 20 points and Ramey added 16 for the Lakers who took on Sheldon Monday but results were not available at press time.

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