Convincing win propels LO to Rose Garden
With the memory of last year's heartbreaking loss to West Linn in the second round of the playoffs still in the heads of many of Lake Oswego's players, the Lakers left no doubt in clinching a berth at the Rose Garden this year.
Lake Oswego pounded Sprague, a team that had played the Lakers closer earlier in the year, 67-36 and sent a statement to the rest of the field in the process.
"It took us a long time to work everything out this year. We didn't even start planning for other teams until midway through the season and that makes a difference. Tonight the kids knew exactly what (Sprague) was running and it resulted in a lot of steals," coach Mark Shoff said.
The Lakers virtually put the game away in the first four minutes of play, jumping out to a 17-2 lead in the opening quarter and never letting the Olympians even consider making a dent in that lead.
Lake Oswego hit its first five shots in the contest and never looked back.
Calvin Hermanson was virtually unguardable all game long and erupted for 12 points and four rebounds in the opening quarter alone.
"When Calvin's playing like that it makes it easy on us," Shoff said.
After falling behind early, Sprague inserted its 6'8" junior Tanner Morgan and he gave the Olympians a spark on offense, scoring six points late in the quarter but the Lakers still led 23-10 after eight minutes.
Cory Coombe also had two strong drives for lay-ups to help the Lakers' offense.
"We felt good getting up and down tonight and got some easy baskets in transition," Hermanson said.
That lead would shrink to eight points in the opening minutes of the second quarter but the Laker defense responded and held the Olympians to just one point for the remainder of the half.
Meanwhile Hermanson and Jason Luhnow hit back-to-back three-pointers to swing momentum back in Lake Oswego's favor.
Luhnow would later bury a three-pointer from beyond NBA range to cap a 13-0 run and stretch the lead to 21 points.
Lake Oswego led 40-16 at the half and Luhnow hit another three-pointer to open the third quarter.
"When Jason's hitting those shots and we're able to penetrate and get to the basket it's a pretty great feeling," Hermanson said.
The lead would get as high as 29 points in the quarter but the Lakers got a bit careless with the ball.
After not committing a single turnover in the entire first half, the Lakers gave the ball up six times in the third quarter. Still, the team led 53-27 with one quarter to play.
The Lakers slowed the game down for much of the fourth period.
Hermanson had seven more points in the quarter to cap a 30-point night to go along with eight rebounds.
He only missed three shots in the game, one of which was a half-court heave at the end of the second quarter.
The win followed a first-round victory over Reynolds 65-48.
The Raiders gave the Lakers some trouble and played with Lake Oswego for the majority of the game.
A 17-4 second-quarter by the Lakers was the difference, however.
In a fast-paced opening quarter, Lake Oswego held a slim 19-15 advantage but then cracked down on defense to blow the game open.
"Our defense has really materialized and when you play good defense you're going to be in every game," Shoff said.
Luhnow had a stellar night shooting the ball, knocking down six three-pointers in the game.
He tied for high scoring honors with Blake Quarterman, who turned in his best game of the season.
Quarterman gave the Lakers a big boost of energy on both sides of the quarter, coming up with three steals defensively.
Reynolds would cut the lead to 14 points after the third quarter but never managed to get back in the game.
Lake Oswego opens up the state tournament this evening (Thursday) against Lincoln at 6:30 p.m., a team that it narrowly lost to earlier in the year at the Les Schwab Shootout.
With a win, the Lakers would take on either West Linn or Central Catholic.