Bug sidelines Spada, but LO teammates pick up the slack
by: Vern Uyetake, 
Kevin Love was his usual dominant self, scoring 29 points and grabbing 18 rebounds to lead Lake Oswego to a 58-39 victory over cross-town rival Lakeridge last Friday. The win kept Lake Oswego’s perfect league record intact, setting up Friday’s showdown against Oregon City.

Despite being without its starting point guard, Lake Oswego knocked off its cross-town rivals from Lakeridge 58-39 on Friday, keeping the team unbeaten in league and tied for first place.

For the Pacers, it marked the team's third league loss although, in fairness, Lakeridge has played, arguably, the three best teams in the league to open up its schedule.

Ernie Spada, the Lakers' second-leading scorer, missed the first game of his high school career with an illness but the Lakers were able to compensate early on. Taylor Marr scored eight of his team's first 10 points and Lake Oswego dominated the boards early en route to a 15-2 lead.

Senior post Kevin Love got off to a slow start as Lakeridge's double and, sometimes, triple-team coverage forced him to shoot contested jumpers in the early going. Kyle Lavender, starting in place of Spada, tallied three early assists to help give his team a 10-point advantage at the end of the first period.

'I thought Kyle played a great game. I told him beforehand that I had a lot of confidence in him,' Shoff said.

Love's cold spell continued early in the second stanza but the Lakers kept feeding him inside and he managed eight points in the period. But the Pacers knocked down three three-pointers in the quarter, including one by Josh Little, which cut the deficit to nine points.

'In the second quarter I think we started getting lazy and weren't talking to each other on defense,' Lavender said.

Lakeridge's Graham Moredock also had five rebounds in the period, holding his own against Love. The Pacers tightened up their interior play in the second quarter and only yielded two field goals that were not scored by Love in the quarter.

'I think we got a lead and then kind of lost our energy level and they kept theirs up,' Laker coach Mark Shoff said.

Despite the slow start, Lakeridge was still very much in the game at the half, trailing 28-20.

The Pacers came out of the locker room with renewed energy and quickly cut into the lead even further. Moredock converted a three-point play and, moments later, Brian Luevano knocked down a three to make the deficit 32-26.

Lakeridge eventually made it a four-point game on a lay-in by Joe Cramer but Love's dominance on the boards kept the Lakers in the lead. Love scored his team's first eight points of the half and also pulled down seven rebounds in the period.

'You have to give Lakeridge a lot of credit. They hit some shots and I thought they played a great game,' Shoff said.

But Love's efforts keyed a late spurt by the Lakers. Marr knocked down his third three-pointer of the game as Lake Oswego's small lead quickly swelled to 13 points. The Lakers eventually led 41-30 with one period to play.

The Pacers kept up their intensity in the fourth quarter and drew a third foul on Love. Still trailing by double digits, Lakeridge fed Moredock inside and, on consecutive possessions, he drew contact from Love but no foul was called and the resulting frustration allowed the Lakers to pull away.

Moments later Love received a pass in the paint and scored while Moredock was whistled for a foul, which drew a barrage of boos from the home crowd at Lakeridge.

Love scored 11 points in the fourth quarter to help the Lakers preserve the win.

'For the seniors this is our last time playing here so it's great to get a win,' Lavender said.

For the game, Love had 29 points and 18 rebounds and Marr added 12 points to the effort. Moredock had 11 points and five rebounds for Lakeridge and Luevano had 13 points.

'We're still pretty young and the kids need to be coached. There's a lot of work to do,' Shoff said.

Both squads will now enter crucial stretches of the season. For Lake Oswego, its biggest league game of the season looms large.

The Lakers will travel to third-ranked Oregon City on Friday to face a fired-up Pioneer squad that has looked forward to this since last year. A year ago, Oregon City mounted a fourth-quarter rally and came one open jump shot away from shocking Lake Oswego.

This year the Pioneers are even more talented and the game could go a long way in determining the eventual league champion.

'(Oregon City) has been circled for us for a long time. I'm sure it's that way for both teams,' Shoff said.

Also of importance is the fact that neither team wants any part of the Three Rivers League's second seed in the playoffs. That's because that team, in all likelihood, will have to travel to South Medford for a game against the top-ranked team in the state. The loser of that contest will not get to play at the state tournament.

For Lakeridge, the team is still winless in league after its game against Putnam was postponed. However, the Pacers played well against Oregon City, Lake Oswego and West Linn.

The team will need to feast on the league's second tier squads in the coming days to work its way back up in the standings.

Lakeridge takes on Milwaukie on Friday at 7:15 before travelling to Clackamas on Tuesday. The game against the Cavaliers is particularly important as the loser of that contest will find itself on the outside looking in for a playoff berth.

The Pacers will also play their make-up game against Putnam.

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