New-look Lakeridge boys hope to compete in Three Rivers League
A year ago, the Lakeridge boys basketball team battled the Three Rivers League's best on even terms.
The Pacers challenged league champion West Linn twice, and split their two league games with second-place Tigard and third-place Tualatin (Lakeridge tied the Timberwolves for third).
This year, however, Lakeridge is starting anew.
The Pacers graduated nine seniors from their 2016-17 team and saw two other potential returners — first-team all-Three Rivers selection Immanuel Allen (a senior guard/wing) and junior guard Christian Allen — move to Arizona with their family.
That leaves this year's Lakeridge team with just three returning players from last season's varsity roster and only one of those — 5-foot, 11-inch senior guard Jake Fedrizzi — with meaningful varsity experience.
Needless to say, the Pacers will count on Fedrizzi a lot this season.
"Jake Fedrizzi will be our leader this year and it is his drive, desire and work ethic that make him good," said Lakeridge coach Fred Gold. "He has played (point guard) for us up until this year, (but) now he will be asked to score the ball which he has accepted nicely."
Also back from the 2016-17 varsity team are 6-4 senior forward/center Cort Gerot and 6-1 sophomore guard Ethan McEachern, players who will be joined in the regular rotation by 6-2 senior guard John Struik (who returns from an injury that hampered his junior season), 6-7 junior center Carter Larrance and 6-0 junior guard Matt Armsby.
"John Struik … will play a lot bigger than his small size (and) we also expect to get contributions from the few bigs we have in Cort Gerot and Carter Larrance," Gold said. "John Struik will be a surprise to folks. Both he and Jake were voted by the players as team captains by a landslide and I believe it to be due to his work ethic."
The rest of this year's varsity lineup will include 6-0 junior guard Cam Feik, 5-9 junior guard Nima Vadey, 6-0 junior guard Lawrence Chen, 5-9 senior guard Jason Brown and 6-2 senior wing Doug Des Lauriens.
While the Pacers will definitely look a lot different from last year, they hope to be competitive again in the Three Rivers League.
"It's too early to tell how we will begin TRL but … (I) expect us to compete in arguably the most competitive league in Oregon," Gold said. "It is to be hoped we are underestimated by opponents and we look forward to proving them all wrong."
Looking ahead to the coming TRL race — which begins on Jan. 3 — Gold said he expects West Linn, Lake Oswego and Tualatin to be near the top of the standings by year's end.
"West Linn, being the most recent team in TRL to win state, I would say is the favorite to win our league," Gold said, adding that Lake Oswego coach Marshall Cho "has his guys consistently working to get better so I expect them to be in the race, along with Tualatin, who still has the Player of the Year (senior Alexis Angeles)."
To read the Lake Oswego boys basketball team preview, click here.
To read the West Linn boys basketball team preview, click here.