Lakeridge girls go 3-1 in Nike Interstate Shootout
Day by day, score by score and game by game, the Lakeridge girls basketball team continues to push its painful past further and further into the rearview mirror.
The Pacers recorded the latest chapter in their 2017-18 success story last week, going 3-1 and finishing second in the GameDay bracket during the Nike Interstate Shootout at Lake Oswego High School.
Among the team's accomplishments thus far in 2017-18 are these: The Pacers exceeded their 2016-17 win total when they beat Roosevelt for their second victory of the season on Dec. 8; Lakeridge snapped its 54-game Three Rivers League losing streak when it beat Tualatin on Dec. 13; and now, with their three NIS wins, the 2017-18 Pacers have equaled the program's total victories from the past three seasons combined.
"On and off the court, we are a lot better than last year all around," said Lakeridge junior guard Brooke Clinton. "It's just a better season. We talked about it at the beginning of the season, making sure we (all knew our) roles."
"From last year to this year, it's just you're excited to be in the gym, excited to play, and in warm-ups, you're getting hyped and getting into the game and it's just so much more fun," added junior guard Abby Fedrizzi.
Lakeridge opened its tournament with a 69-35 blowout of Sandy on Dec. 27, followed with a 49-24 rout of Jefferson on Dec. 28, edged Cleveland 45-41 on Friday, then dropped a 54-40 decision to Springfield in the GameDay bracket championship on Saturday.
Lakeridge 69, Sandy 35: In its tournament-opening victory, the Pacers saw Sandy battle on even terms for the first quarter, but left the Pioneers far behind after that, outscoring them 46-18 in the final three quarters to win going away.
"We came out with the mindset that we obviously wanted to play hard, but we also wanted to play smart," said Clinton, who scored a game-high 21 points, including five three-pointers. It was just "making sure that we were constantly talking and were always aware of where Sandy's players were on defense. … That was huge for us."
Sandy, behind Isabella Kansala's five quick points, long jumpshots by Sarah Dukhart and Tana Dwyre, and a banked three-pointer from Athena Thomas put the Pioneers up 17-13.
But the Pacers were quick to respond, getting "threes" from Laura Barton and Sierra Zevenbergen in the final two minutes of the period to put Lakeridge ahead to stay.
Then, in the second quarter, Lakeridge outscored Sandy 19-3 and took 37-20 lead into the break.
"We just picked up the defensive intensity and controlled the pace and tempo of the game," said Lakeridge coach Jason Brown. "Our defensive pressure really changed the game."
Lakeridge continued its relentless attack on both ends of the floor in the third quarter, extending its lead to as many as 39 points and holding Sandy without a field goal for more than 15 minutes.
For the game, Barton added 12 points, Zevenbergen 11 and Addie Reardon eight in the win. For Sandy, Kansala had 10 points and Brooklyn Adams seven.
Lakeridge 49, Jefferson 24: The Pacers were devastatingly effective again in game two against Jefferson, using their quickness and defensive pressure to hold the Democrats to just four points in the first half.
At the same time, the Pacers got five first-half points from senior Maddie Grimes, four each by Barton and Reardon, and a three-pointer from Fedrizzi to lead 22-4 at the half.
The Pacers then posted a dominating 16-6 third quarter edge, with Zevenbergen scoring six points in the frame, Barton adding four, and Fedrizzi and Savannah Karagounis three each to put the game away at 38-10.
For the game, Barton, Grimes and Zevenbergen led Lakeridge with eight points each, while Nautica McMurry led Jefferson with six.
Lakeridge 45, Cleveland 41: The Pacers got a tougher test on Friday, trading baskets with Cleveland for 3 1/2 quarters before finally sealing up their victory in the game's final 2:49.
The Warriors, getting nine points from Lindsey Hausafus and eight each from Grace Pytynia-Hillier and Elsie Kloeppel, trailed just 14-13 after the first quarter, tied the game at 22-22 at halftime and were still dead even at 33-33 entering the fourth quarter.
Then, after back-to-back hoops from Kaiea Waiwaiole midway through the final period, the Warriors led 39-35.
But then, with their backs to the wall, the Pacers came to life, getting two foul shots each from Clinton and Barton to tie the game with 2:49 remaining. After that, Clinton scored on a cut to the basket, and Grimes made a steal and set up Zevenbergen for another score that gave Lakeridge a 43-39 edge with 1:13 left on the clock.
Cleveland managed two foul shots in the remaining seconds, but Lakeridge matched those with free throws from Barton and Clinton to win.
"We always … had struggles finishing last year," Fedrizzi said. "We'd get to the end of the game, it would be crunch time and we'd choke. But today, we really pulled through."
For the game, Clinton led all scorers with 14 points and Fedrizzi added 10 in the victory.
Springfield 54, Lakeridge 40: In their tournament finale against Springfield on Saturday, the Pacers started slowly, battled back in the second quarter, but then saw their GameDay championship hopes erased by the Millers' strong third quarter.
Lakeridge fell behind 16-7 at the end of the first quarter — thanks in great part to the 12 points scored by Springfield's Cielo Gonzalez — then tried to rally in the second period.
The Pacers got five points in the second stanza from Barton (including a three-pointer), and four each from Reardon and Anna Garrison but got no closer than 30-22 at the half as Springfield's Rebecca Durbin poured in 10 of her 15 points in the frame.
Then, with the game still on the line in the third quarter, the Millers used a 13-7 scoring edge to extend their edge to 43-29 and essentially put the game on ice. Gonzalez carried the load there, adding seven more points on two "threes" and a free throw, and the Millers cruised home from there.
For the game, Gonzalez finished with 24 points and Durbin added 15 in the win, while Barton led Lakeridge with 11, Clinton added nine and Reardon eight.