Starting three freshmen, Lake Oswego looks to make big strides

by: VERN UYETAKE - Hannah Plott has been an impressive defensive force for a young but optimistic Lake Oswego team this year. For the second year in a row, the Lake Oswego girls basketball team will feature one of the youngest rosters in the state.

The Lakers have just one senior and are carrying seven freshmen on the varsity squad but the rebuilding process is in full swing and the team has had some encouraging results to start the season.

Although the team is youthful, currently featuring three freshmen in its starting line-up, the Lakers are much further along to start the season than they were last year, according to coach Jeff Bair.

“We have better skilled players with a year of experience. There's not as much of a deer-in-the-headlights look this season,” Bair said.

The Lakers will be undersized this year but hope to make up for it with their athleticism and quickness in the frontcourt.

“We're a small team, basically starting five guards so we're trying to create chaos out front and do some things to confuse the offense,” Bair said.

Lake Oswego's lone senior is Lilly Newman, a lacrosse standout who is returning to basketball after two seasons.

Junior Julianna Ramey is starting the year healthy after being limited last season and is an integral part of the team's success.

“She really dedicated herself to some injury prevention over the offseason. She's a natural leader and a lot of our offense runs through her,” Bair said.

Hannah Plott has been a big bright spot early on, particularly for her play on defense while freshmen Morgan McKinney and Jazmyn Brown have been major factors in the team's first two games.

Junior Libby Dozois and sophomore Emma Heil, both coming of strong soccer seasons, will also make big contributions to this year's team.

Bair expects to use nine or 10 players a game this year as there isn't a significant dip in talent from the top to the bottom of the roster.

“There's a lot of parity on the roster. Last year teams could really key on Ali (Binns) but we have a handful of girls who could score in double figures,” Bair said.

Although the team is small and flush with guards, Lake Oswego will make an effort to get the ball into the paint as much as possible.

“One of our goals is to get to the foul line 25 times a game. We don't want to be too much of a jump-shooting team,” Bair said.

The team has also been working hard on its press break and its half-court defense and cutting down on turnovers.

Lake Oswego is off to a 2-0 start this year with wins over Barlow and Jefferson. Lake Oswego will travel to Arizona for a tournament next week and will host the annual Interstate Shootout over the break this year.

For information on the Interstate Shootout, visit the new website

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