Lakeridge hits its free throws in the fourth quarter to top Lake Oswego

by: VERN UYETAKE - Lakeridge's Avery Dauphinais and Lake Oswego's Hannah Plott battle for the ball in the Pacers' victory at home Tuesday.The Lake Oswego and Lakeridge girls basketball teams were each looking for their first league wins Tuesday and, in front of a raucous home crowd, the Pacers used improved ball-handling and some clutch free throw shooting to pull out a 38-33 victory.

It was an even game from start to finish and Lake Oswego had its chances in the fourth quarter, holding Lakeridge to 0-for-8 shooting from the field, but the Pacers never relinquished their advantage and were able to nurse possession in the final minutes.

The game got off to a fast start with Lakeridge attacking from the outside. Colleen Ellis, Hope Daskalos and Maddie Rabing all hit 3-pointers in the opening quarter but Lake Oswego kept pace, tallying five steals early on and forcing an 11-11 tie after the opening stanza.

Both teams went cold in the second quarter as the tempo of the game slowed down somewhat. Lake Oswego missed its first 10 shots from the field but played solid defense and kept itself in the game with a strong effort on the boards.

Lakeridge led 20-17 at the half and continued to hold the advantage through the third quarter, getting another 3-pointer from Ellis.

Morgan McKinney kept Lake Oswego in the game, scoring all six of her team's third-quarter points.

Lakeridge led 29-23 with one quarter to play but the Lakers quickly cut into that deficit. A short jumper by Jazmyn Brown made it 30-29 midway through the final period.

Both teams struggled from the line early in the quarter and, with a two-point lead with 2:30 to play, Lakeridge looked to hold on to the ball and eventually make Lake Oswego foul.

“We learned our lesson last year when both games (against Lake Oswego) came down to the final possession. I know it's a cliché but when these teams play you really can throw out the records. It's always close,” Pacer coach Kevin Berry said.

The Lakers eventually committed a foul with 1:19 to play and Ellis knocked down both attempts to make it a two-possession game.

McKinney would answer with a bucket and Lake Oswego would regain possession with a chance to tie or take the lead.

Natalie Bristol then came up with a huge steal with 26 seconds remaining.

Shekina Boe knocked down her first free throw but missed the second and Daskalos secured the offensive rebound.

Daskalos was fouled and hit both attempts. McKinney answered with another basket in the closing seconds to make it a three-point game. However, Lakeridge got the ball to Ellis again who sank two more free throws to seal the game.

Lakeridge didn't hit a field goal in the final quarter but connected on nine foul shots. Ellis and Daskalos went 7-for-9 in the final quarter.

“We have confidence in everyone but for two of our seniors to step up and hit those shots was big,” Berry said.

The Pacers' win follows a confidence building 62-41 loss to Clackamas last week. Although the Cavaliers were able to pull away in the second quarter with strong defense, Lakeridge did well against its press and only trailed 9-8 after the opening period.

“I think a lightbulb went off in that game where we realized we could play with anyone,” Berry said.

Lakeridge will take on Oregon City next Tuesday and Lake Oswego will visit Canby.

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