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Lakers cant find an answer for Cavs

Lake Oswego drops its third close game to No. 2 Clackamas, ending its season


by: MATTHEW SHERMAN - Lake Oswego's Max Mattern makes a drives and looks for an open man during the Lakers' second-round playoff loss to league-rival Clackamas Saturday. The Lakers hung with the No. 2 Cavaliers for the third time this season but came up just short. After playing in three wars this season, its hard to imagine the Clackamas or Lake Oswego boys basketball team ever blowing the other one out no matter how many times they squared off. Unfortunately for the Lakers, the three games this season that could have gone either way all went the way of the Cavaliers, including Saturday's 51-46 loss in the playoffs, ending Lake Oswego's season.

“We've lost 8-10 games by just a few points this year and, to Clackamas' credit, they've won a lot of those games. They've got a strong group of seniors and we're a little younger and more inexperienced,” Lakers coach Mark Shoff said.

It wasn't a pretty game by any stretch of the imagination and No. 2 Clackamas had to feel fortunate to escape with a victory on its home court.

The Cavaliers were abysmal from the field but foul trouble constricted the Lakers as point guard Jazz Johnson was limited in the first half and fouled out midway through the fourth quarter, finishing with just eight points.

Still, despite their leading scorer missing a large portion of the game, the Lakers had their opportunities to advance to the Moda Center.

Lake Oswego had trouble getting anything going on offense in the first quarter as Clackamas applied heavy pressure on the perimeter.

The Cavaliers failed to capitalize, however, as they struggled mightily from the outside. The Lakers were held to just one field goal in the opening quarter until Max Mattern knocked down a 3-pointer in the closing seconds to cut the deficit to 9-7.

On the first possession of the second quarter, Johnson was whistled for an offensive foul, his third of the game, and he spent the remainder of the half on the bench.

“Jazz has only been in foul trouble once this season and we rely a lot on him so it was unfortunate,” Shoff said.

But the pace of the game picked up slightly. Clackamas started to break Lake Oswego's press and converted three easy baskets.

Mattern did a nice job filling in at point guard for the Lakers and Zach Parker had six points in the quarter as Lake Oswego knotted the game at 20-20 by the half.

The teams traded buckets early in the fourth quarter. Max Dinesen played with poise and started having success in the paint against the physical Cavaliers. He had eight of his 17 points in the third quarter, including a deep turnaround 3-pointer in the final seconds of the period to make it 36-35 Clackamas with one quarter remaining.

Lake Oswego took a slim lead early in the fourth quarter but Clackamas responded with a 7-0 run to regain control.

With 3:13 left in the contest, Johnson was whistled for another offensive foul, his fifth of the game, which disqualified him.

Lake Oswego trailed by just two points and slowed the tempo down but an untimely turnover allowed Clackamas to go the other way for a 3-point play.

The Cavaliers then converted their free throws to seal the victory.

The loss followed the team's 60-52 win on the road against Lincoln in its playoff opener.

It was a back-and-forth contest with the Lakers taking a four-point lead into the fourth quarter.

“We put in a half-court trap and stole the ball a few times. I would have liked to have played with a little more poise, though,” Shoff said.

Johnson provided the bulk of the offense for Lake Oswego but Lincoln rallied to go up by two points late in the game.

But the Laker's responded with an 8-0 run to go up by six with less than a minute to play and sealed the game at the foul line.

Johnson finished with a game-high 31. Lake Oswego figures to be very strong next season, returning the bulk of its core players including Johnson, Parker and Dinesen.



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