Lake Oswego uses a balanced attack to take down the Lions on the road

by: VERN UYETAKE - Lake Oswego's Cory Coombe attempts a buzzer beater in the Lakers' win over West Linn on Friday.Playing in front of a standing room only crowd, No. 1 Lake Oswego had little trouble dispatching No. 5 West Linn last Friday, using a team effort to rack up a lopsided 81-59 win.

The game, which doubled as a fundraiser for Lake Oswego graduate and West Linn resident Steve Forsyth, who was killed earlier this year in the Clackamas Town Center shooting, was highly anticipated as the Lakers and Lions have built a strong rivalry over the past few seasons.

Last year the teams split their league games before Lake Oswego steamrolled the Lions in the state semifinals.

In many ways, Friday's game mirrored last year's semifinal contest as the Lakers got off to a blistering start and never trailed.

Calvin Hermanson played in the game for Lake Oswego despite still dealing with a high ankle sprain and while the Lions had to account for his presence, it was the rest of the Lakers' starters who did the majority of the damage in the game.

Lake Oswego hit its first six shots from the field to start the game, beginning with a Daniel Verburg three-pointer.

Colin Caslick knocked down a pair of three-pointers in the first quarter and had eight points in the period.

“We haven't been getting off to good starts this season but we did last week. We're finding a rhythm and when you do that, pretty soon you start knocking shots down,” coach Mark Shoff said.

West Linn did its best to stay within striking distance, hitting some tough shots late in the quarter but still trailed 21-13.

In the second quarter, Lake Oswego' signature defense kicked in. West Linn had virtually no success in the paint, getting the majority of its points on jump shots in the first half. West Linn was held without a field goal in the second quarter for the first 6:15 of play.

In that time, Connor Griffin started to take over for the Lakers, scoring eight points in the period.

Griffin was a huge factor in the game posting a triple-double with 15 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists while also grabbing four steals.

“He's starting to get confidence in his knee. He can be a difference maker and I think he's still just scratching the surface of what he can do,” Shoff said.

Lake Oswego built a 16-point lead at the half and never looked back.

The second half started the same way the first half did, with a three-pointer from Verburg. West Linn cut the lead to 12 points but the Lakers quickly extended their advantage when Verburg knocked down another shot from behind the arc, followed by a loose ball foul being whistled against the Lions, which gave Lake Oswego the ball back.

West Linn mounted one final charge in the fourth quarter, cutting the lead to nine points, but Lake Oswego was calm under pressure. The Lakers hit 15 of 18 free throws as they closed out the game with Christian McDonald knocking down seven of eight attempts to ice the victory.

“With our size and guys who can score, we definitely have a lot of weapons we can use,” Shoff said.

Lake Oswego stayed unbeaten in league and continues to be ranked No. 1 in the state by a large margin.

Lake Oswego will take on Oregon City this Friday and squares off against Lakeridge next week.

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