The Pacers put Canby away early and vault to 4-4 in the TRL

by: MATTHEW SHERMAN - Lakeridge's Joe Sindlinger looks to hand the ball off to teammate Reggie Oliver in the Pacers' narrow loss to No. 1 West Linn at home last week. After giving the No. 1 team in the state one of its biggest scares of the season, the Lakeridge boys basketball team stayed in prime position to earn a first-round bye in the playoffs Tuesday, rebounding from a tough home loss to West Linn with a convincing 77-56 win over Canby.

The Pacers put together one of their best defensive efforts of the season, blowing the game open in the second quarter by holding Canby to just two points.

Lakeridge led 39-14 at the break and never let off the gas, something that has occasionally been an issue for the team this season.

The Pacers honored the squad's seniors Bryce Anderson, Blake Gjesday, Reggie Oliver, Max Minervini and Joe Sindlinger before the game and Lakeridge played inspired basketball.

Lakeridge's athleticism was on full display as it got into passing lanes and forced contested shots.

In the second half, the Pacers heated up on offense and never let Canby back in contention.

Jake Spurgeon had a terrific all-around performance, leading the way with 23 points.

It was an important win for the Pacers as it moved the team to 4-4 in league and into sole possession of third place.

Lakeridge came just a few minutes away from pulling off the league's biggest upset this year Friday.

The Pacers battled No. 1 West Linn hoop for hoop until the Lions closed the game on a 12-2 run to win 74-64.

It was a physical and emotional contest as Lakeridge was eager to battle West Linn after it was hampered by illness in the teams' first meeting.

The Pacers got off to a strong start to the game, building a seven-point lead and getting buckets from seven different players.

Lakeridge also seemed to rattle the Lions as West Linn was whistled for a pair of technical fouls in the quarter.

A 3-pointer at the buzzer gave West Linn a 23-22 lead, however.

Neither team backed down in the second quarter as point guards Payton Pritchard and Reggie Oliver took turns scoring for their respective teams.

Oliver had 16 of his 23 points in the first half as Lakeridge was anything but intimated by the Lions.

Lakeridge trailed 42-41 at the half and was brimming with confidence.

West Linn made a push early in the third quarter, building a seven-point lead, but Lakeridge quickly responded with two straight baskets.

The Pacers did a better job on the perimeter in the second half, holding the hot-shooting Lions to just one made 3-pointer.

Lakeridge trailed by three with one quarter remaining but Spurgeon quickly knotted the score with a 3-pointer on his team's first possession of the fourth.

Minutes later, Spurgeon would tie the game again at 62-62, setting up an intense finish.

West Linn was calm under pressure and Lakeridge battled foul trouble as it looked to pull off a huge win.

The turning point came with West Linn nursing a four-point lead in the final minute. Eric Dungey was whistled for his fifth foul and a technical foul was then assessed to Lakeridge.

The Lions missed both free throws from the personal foul but Pritchard sank the technical free throws so, instead of trailing by four points with the ball, Lakeridge was down by six and forced to foul the Lions again.

It was a tough loss for Lakeridge but the team proved again it can hang with anyone in the state.

The Pacers travel to face No. 2 Clackamas Friday before wrapping up the season with a huge game at rival Lake Oswego.

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