Lakeridge wins the Lakeside and Century tournaments

After dropping its first game of the season, a hard-fought four-point loss to Southridge, the Lakeridge boys basketball team has rattled off nine straight wins, which includes claiming the championship of its own Lakeside Tournament and the Century Christmas Tournament.

The Pacers, who only feature two returning players with significant playing time from last year, have been steadily building chemistry and appear to be ready to challenge in the brutally tough Three Rivers League this year.

Hosting its own in its annual tournament, Lakeridge rolled off three impressive wins in a row. The Pacers opened up with a 78-64 win over Glencoe and then edged out North Salem 74-70.

In the championship game, Lakeridge put together its most complete effort of the tournament, turning up the defense and blowing out North Medford 76-57.

The Black Tornado's only other loss this season has been a three-point defeat to Southridge.

The Pacers have been a very consistent and efficient offensive team but the defense has been steadily improving, which has led to the team's early success.

“If you want to survive in the Three Rivers League you've got to be solid on defense because you can't always control when the ball's going in,” coach Dane Walker said.

Reggie Oliver proved to be virtually impossible to defend in the tournament, using strong outside shooting and terrific court vision to pick teams apart.

Oliver has been a steadying factor for the team and is one of the more dynamic scorers around.

“He's our catalyst and he's been getting a lot of guys involved. I think he's the best player in the state that no one knows about,” Walker said.

Lakeridge then moved on to the Century tournament and continued to have success, winning all three of its games by double digits.

The Pacers easily dispatched Gresham 78-64 and then got past Sherwood 82-58 in one of the team's best all-around games of the year.

In the championship game, Lakeridge took on Roosevelt for the second time this season and had the same result, knocking off the Roughriders 63-49 in another game where its defense proved to make the difference.

“We've had some moments where we've played some very good basketball this year,” Walker said.

Jake Spurgeon had a very consistent tournament for the Pacers, filling up the scorebook and Eric Dungey had a strong tournament all-around, getting the hot hand when his team needed a boost.

Lakeridge now sits at 9-1 on the year and will see some solid competition in its final preseason games.

“I'm happy with where we are but I'd like to be a lot further along once league starts,” Walker said.

The Pacers host Forest Grove Friday and will play Sprague and David Douglas before opening league on Jan. 17 against Oregon City.

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