Lakeridge is loaded with athletes and optimism this year

by: MATTHEW SHERMAN - Reggie Oliver returns to the Pacers this year and is among the top players in the state according to coach Dane Walker. Lakeridge coach Dane Walker has a squad this year that he believes “could be pretty fun to watch.”

The Pacers have plenty of athleticism and some top-level talent on what Walker says is the deepest team he's had since he's been at Lakeridge.

Returning to the squad is point guard Reggie Oliver, a dynamic scorer who figures to set the tone for the Pacers this season.

“He's one of the best players in the state for sure. He can score, he can distribute and he's showing some difference pieces to his game,” Walker said.

The team has been busy in the preseason trying to adapt to new faces and the late arrival of players from the football season.

Lakeridge received a pair of transfers in the offseason in junior Jake Spurgeon from Sherwood and Bo McClintock from Oregon City.

Eric Dungey is also back after a strong football season along with Joe Sindlinger and Jack Cole.

Bryce Anderson, McKay Burg and Max Minervini should also make big impacts for the Pacers this season.

“We probably go nine or 10 deep, and I'm comfortable putting any of those guys on the floor,” Walker said.

Lakeridge should be very long and athletic this season and will get up and down the floor quickly.

“We'll probably push the tempo a bit. We should be able to score the basketball this year and the game will dictate what we need to do. Ultimately it will come down to if we can get stops in the half court,” Walker said.

Walker knows the team will need some time to gel on the court, but the Pacers could be one of the most improved teams in the league this year.

“The focus right now is just on sharing the ball and appreciating a good pass. We know the harder we work, the better we're going to defend,” Walker said.

Lakeridge opens up with a tough test against Southridge and will host its own tournament again over the break.

“Close to half our schedule is going to be pretty tough because we play in one of the best leagues in the state. West Linn is going to be the favorite, and Lake Oswego is still the defending league champ until someone knocks them off,” Walker said.

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