Second Place ...again
Lake Oswego steamrolls into the state title game with a pair of double-digit victories before running into Jesuit's juggernaut and falling 52-42.
Lake Oswego played two fantastic games and one pretty good one at this year's state tournament and made its fourth appearance in the 6A state title game in the past decade.
But the machine that is the Jesuit boys basketball program was running on all cylinders again in the championship game and the Lakers came up just shy of cutting down the nets.
The Crusaders were calm and effective and held off a second-half rally from the Lakers to win 52-42 and claim their fourth straight state championship.
Jesuit led for nearly the entire contest but Lake Oswego was never out of the game until the closing minutes.
The Crusaders bolted to a 9-4 lead and played tight defense to force Lake Oswego into some tough shots.
"We came out and we weren't quite the same team that we were on the other two nights. And Jesuit was prepared. When the game's on the line you can tell they've been there before," coach Mark Shoff said.
The Lakers trailed by three after the first quarter and Jesuit slowly started to increase its advantage.
The Crusaders were able to do what neither Lincoln or West Linn could which was to contain Calvin Hermanson.
Hermanson would finish with 20 points to lead the Lakers but had to work hard to get good shots, something that hadn't been an issue in his previous two games.
Jesuit hit all five of its shots from the field in the second quarter to go up 26-17 at the half.
Hermanson picked up his third foul early in the third quarter and Jesuit extended its lead to 12 points but the Lakers started to make a run.
Lake Oswego picked up its intensity on defense and forced Jesuit into turnovers and ran off an 11-0 run, getting solid play from Blake Quarterman to make it a 32-31 game with one minute to play in the period.
However, Jesuit hit a pair of three-pointers in the final 40 seconds, including a contested shot at the buzzer to make it 38-33.
"We had a chance and they hit some tough shots. They deserved to win tonight," Shoff said.
Lake Oswego continued to play stellar defense early in the fourth period and had a number of opportunities to cut into the lead.
Hermanson knocked down an early jumper but Lake Oswego then went cold for the next five minutes of play.
The Lakers had four early turnovers and the Crusaders' Collin Spickerman turned away multiple shots in the paint.
Jesuit struggled on offense as well and only led by six with just over three minutes to go.
Ultimately Lake Oswego was forced to start fouling and Jesuit went 15-for-17 from the line in the game.
Free throws doomed the Lakers as they shot just 9-for-17 from the stripe.
Hermanson had a late dunk and a three-pointer but Jesuit had already clinched the win.
"To do what these guys did after losing Connor is pretty remarkable. These guys bought into everything we asked them to do and they really cared about each other. They stuck with it all year and it was one of the best teams I've ever coached," Shoff said.
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Lake Oswego opened its tournament run with a solid win over a Lincoln team that beat the Lakers in the preseason.
It was a back-and-forth battle but the Lakers scored the game's final 13 points to pull away for a 62-46 victory.
Hermanson scored eight straight points early in the opening quarter to pace the Lakers' offense.
Quarterman also provided a nice boost off the bench with a pair of late buckets that gave Lake Oswego a 19-13 lead after the first quarter.
Lake Oswego was in control for most of the game but could never shake the Cardinals either.
Cory Coombe had a pair of nice finishes at the hoop as Lake Oswego went up by seven midway through the second quarter.
"We were really confident and believed in ourselves. It was a total team win," Coombe said.
But Lincoln knocked down a late three-pointer and cut the gap to 31-27 at halftime.
The Cardinals got nearly all of their production from J.T. Flowers and Alex Sattley, who combined for 32 points in the game.
In the teams' previous meeting, Flowers won the match-up with Hermanson but he couldn't stop him this time around.
Hermanson played with confidence and had 32 points and nine rebounds.
"I think J.T. got into his head a little when they played earlier. But Calvin can score on anyone and when he's hitting his shot it makes things easy," Shoff said.
Colin Caslick came off the bench and provided a three-point play and a nice assist to Hermanson to keep the Lakers in control in the third quarter.
But Lincoln closed the period with another small run and only trailed 44-41 with eight minutes to play.
"We let them back in a few times but I thought we stepped up defensively again when we needed to," Shoff said.
Lake Oswego scored the first two buckets of the fourth quarter but Lincoln cut the lead to three again midway through the period.
But, in crunch time, Hermanson put the game away. After hitting two free throws he recorded a steal that he took the other way for a basket.
He and Coombe then hit free throws down the stretch and Lincoln went cold in the closing minutes as the Lakers coasted to a win.
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In the semifinals, Lake Oswego took on West Linn for both league supremacy this year and a berth in the state championship game.
In two regular season contests, the teams earned a split. Lake Oswego left no doubt in this one, putting on a shooting exhibition in a 67-45 win.
Hermanson got the Lakers off on the right foot, draining three three-pointers and scoring his team's first 11 points.
Lake Oswego jumped out to a quick 11-3 lead and West Linn was instantly scrambling not to get left in the dust.
"We wanted to attack them right off the bat and just be professional and take care of business," Hermanson said.
West Linn answered early on with an equally impressive shooting performance.
The Lions knocked down three three-pointers in the opening period and only trailed 17-13 after the opening quarter.
Lake Oswego didn't cool off in the second period. Quarterman started the period by draining a three-pointer and Jason Luhnow followed by hitting a shot from nearly 30 feet away, pushing the lead to double digits.
Again, West Linn did its best to stay in the game and continued to shoot the ball well, feeling fortunate to only be trailing 29-22 at the half.
"We were getting some quick buckets but things still didn't come easily. They shot the ball exceptionally well too," Shoff said.
Amazingly, Lake Oswego's shooting only got better in the third period.
The Lakers went 7-for-7 from the field in the quarter and scored on their first five possessions to quickly push their advantage to 41-26.
Lake Oswego would go up by 18 with one quarter to play and had things on cruise control.
West Linn put heavy halfcourt pressure on the Lakers to try and force turnovers but Lake Oswego handled it and hit free throws down the stretch to put the game away.
Lake Oswego went 9-for-14 from beyond the arc in the game and Hermanson had another 32-point outburst to lead the Lakers.
"I just tried to read the defense and saw that they were giving me a little space," Hermanson said.
Lake Oswego will lose some key seniors in Luhnow, Quarterman, Alex Matthews, T.J. Dorado and Jackson Kitzinger but will return Hermanson and a very strong junior class and, with the expected return of Connor Griffin, the Lakers might be the team to beat next winter.