Lake Oswego loses a tight one to No. 2 Clackamas

by: VERN UYETAKE - Lake Oswego guard Leo Spada drives past West Linn's Kevin Edwards during the Lakers' road game Tuesday.After another near-miss at knocking off No. 2 Clackamas Friday, the Lake Oswego boys basketball couldn't rebound from a first-quarter blitz from No. 1 West Linn, dropping the Lakers to 3-5 in league play.

Lake Oswego is still in contention for a top-three finish in the Three Rivers League but will almost assuredly need wins in its final two regular season games against Oregon City and Lakeridge to earn a first-round bye.

The Lakers proved to be a difficult match-up for the second-ranked Cavaliers once again last week, coming up just shy of completing a double-digit comeback in a 43-42 loss.

It was a defensive struggle from the start, which is a style that Lake Oswego is comfortable playing.

However, the Laker offense didn't wake up until late in the game when it simply ran out of time.

Clackamas pulled ahead by 10 points in the second quarter but Lake Oswego narrowed the gap and only trailed 25-19 at the break.

Each possession came at a premium in the third quarter as the pace of the game slowed down even further.

Lake Oswego bottled up Clacakamas' athletic front-court, which on paper, was a mismatch for the Lakers and held the Cavaliers to just four points in the period. However, the Lakers only mustered six points of their own, cutting the lead to 29-25.

The Cavaliers continued to maintain their advantage in the fourth quarter but the teams began trading baskets as the intensity of the game picked up.

Late in the contest, Jazz Johnson knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers, cutting the lead to just one point.

The Cavaliers hit a pair of free throws but Lake Oswego had a chance to tie. Johnson couldn't come up with a third deep shot and time ran out following a quick tip-in.

Johnson finished the game with 17 points.

That was followed by a 68-45 loss to West Linn Tuesday. The Lions got off to a blistering start and Lake Oswego never fully recovered despite a fantastic outing from Max Dinesen.

West Linn drained six 3-pointers in the first quarter, four off the hand of Anthony Mathis, who didn't miss in the period.

The Lakers struggled to match the Lions's pace but got eight first-quarter points from Dinesen, including a hoop off a steal at the buzzer to cut the deficit to 25-12.

Lake Oswego opened the second quarter on an 8-2 run and did well to limit the damage. The Lakers played much better perimeter defense and had the lead down to single digits late before West Linn closed the half by hitting an off-balance 3-pointer.

Turnovers hampered Lake Oswego early in the third quarter. The Lakers succeeded in slowing West Linn down on offense but threw the ball away five times. Lake Oswego was a perfect 6-for-6 from the field in the period, getting seven more points from Dinesen who was difficult to stop when he got the ball in the post. However, Dinesen picked up his fourth foul in the quarter and was saddled for much of the second half.

Trailing 50-35 with one quarter to play, the Lakers couldn't find the firepower to mount a comeback. The West Linn defense forced six more turnovers as Lake Oswego dropped to 3-5 in league.

Dinesen finished the game with 22 points and seven rebounds.

Lake Oswego currently sits just one game behind Lakeridge for third place and wraps up the regular season at Oregon City, then home for the Pacers.

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