Lake Oswego boys ready to compete in Three Rivers basketball
*This story has been corrected.
The Lake Oswego boys basketball team battled the Three Rivers League's best and held their own in 2016-17.
While the Lakers went just 2-6 against the top four teams in the TRL, the average score of those games was just 55-53.
Now, Lake Oswego wants to do more than just compete. The Lakers want to translate that competitiveness into wins, and with a roster that includes two returning starters, two all-leaguers and eight players with varsity experience, that seems to be a realistic goal.
"I think we should be in the mix for one of the top three spots," said Lake Oswego coach Marshall Cho, now in his third season with the team. "Our goal is to compete for one of those top spots."
This year's team will be led by forward Shawn Elliott (a 6-foot-4 senior who earned second-team all-league honors last year), point guard Josh Angle (a 6-3 junior who was named to the all-TRL honorable mention team in '17) and versatile forward J.R. Schilling (a 6-6 senior and returning starter).
"Those are the guys who have proven themselves at the varsity level," said Cho, whose 2016-17 team finished fifth in league play and lost in the first round of the Class 6A state playoffs. "Elliott has great size and great strength, but he also has great feet and a soft touch around the basket."
Angle, meanwhile, "is one of the best shooters in the state … he makes good decisions at the point and he's bigger and more physical," Cho said, adding that Schilling "is very versatile. He can play (any position) and he can defend with his length."
There's more experienced talent back, too, including varsity returners Brooks Boutwell (a 6-6 senior forward), Rory Corrigan (a 6-1 senior guard), T.J. Kord (a 6-0 senior guard), Brandon Roberts (a 6-1 junior forward) and Fred Harding (a 6-7 junior center).
"I think Boutwell is the one most likely to make an impact this year, but Corrigan and Kord are both giving us really good leadership and working really hard," Cho said. "It's exciting to see the competition. We have some really good JV guys from last year who are trying to make the leap."
Also due for varsity time this year are junior Benjamin Jeffers (a 6-0 guard), junior Dylan Self (a 6-0 guard), junior Grant Fuson (a 6-4 forward), sophomore Casey Filkins (a 5-10 guard) and sophomore Sam Abere (a 6-1 guard).
"It's been a fun group so far. I'm optimistic about this group," Cho said. "We've had some college coaches who have seen us and said we're a little ahead of the game. I think we'll be in the mix."
And now, in year three of Cho's tenure, the Lakers know Cho's system and understand what Cho and his assistants want.
"These guys know our language, know our expectations and our system," Cho said. "But with any successful team, we'll need the guys coming off the bench to embrace their roles and be ready to play so there's no drop-off when you go to the bench."
Cho said he expects talented West Linn to be favored again in the coming TRL season, with Tigard likely to challenge as well.
To read the Lakeridge boys basketball team preview, click here.
To read the West Linn boys basketball team preview, click here.
*The original version of this story incorrectly stated the number of returning starters from 2016-17 that are part of the 2017-18 team.