Lake Oswego girls fall to league-leading Tigard
The Lake Oswego girls basketball team knew how big the challenge was on Tuesday.
The Lakers, playing Three Rivers League-leading Tigard on the Tigers' home court, knew that they'd have to be close to perfect to be close to the Tigers, and on this day, Lake Oswego was not close enough to perfect.
The Lakers trailed by just six points late in the first quarter but got no closer after that — the Tigers racked up a 20-point edge in the final 8 minutes, 50 seconds of the half and rolled on to a big 73-37 victory at Tigard High School.
"They defend really well, they're very disciplined and they are very smart," said Lake Oswego coach Nya Mason. "It's a system and (Tigard coach Steve Naylor's) got it instilled in each and every one of those girls and they do it to a 'T,' and we're still learning."
For the Lakers' players, Tuesday's contest against the Tigers — No. 4 in the latest Class 6A coaches poll — marked another learning experience against a strong opponent.
"Honestly, our biggest hurdle is positive energy — that's something we really have to work on," said Lake Oswego junior guard Taylor Anders, who finished with seven points in the loss. "At one point, it was a pretty close game (but after that), positive energy was something we lacked and that's just something we need to continue to practice."
"Positive energy is one of our top tools for us to win games," added freshman post Kylin Dawkins, who led her team with 10 points. "But once we got that, everyone got more confident and more physical and aggressive on defense and offense."
With the loss — Lake Oswego's fourth in its past five TRL games — the Lakers fell to 2-6 and a seventh-place tie in the TRL (5-11 overall). Tigard, meanwhile, won its eighth straight TRL game and leads the league at 8-0 (13-3 overall).
The Tigers hit the ground running on Tuesday, knocking down seven of their first 11 shots in the first quarter, forcing seven Lake Oswego turnovers in the first five minutes of the game and accelerating to a 16-4 lead.
Six different Tigard players scored during that stretch, including two baskets by Delaney Leavitt, a 3-pointer from Paige LaFountain and three more points from Gabby McGaughey.
"One of the staples of Tigard's defense is it's designed to get you flustered and the press they put on speeds you up so our offense is already starting at a pace we're not comfortable with," Mason explained.
To their credit, the Lakers responded with an 8-2 run that brought them back within 18-12, starting with a Katy Gilbert basket in the key assisted by Macy Douglass, a Megan Woolard 3-pointer from the right wing and — after a LaFountain basket — an Anders "three" from the left wing set up by Gilbert with 1 minute, 14 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
The Tigers, however, hardly blinked. They closed the quarter with five straight points by LaFountain in the final 50 seconds, then outscored the Lakers 22-7 in the second quarter to expand their lead to 45-19 at halftime.
"What impressed me was, whenever we went on a run, they would stick together and they stayed together on offense and defense," Dawkins said. "They never let down. They didn't give up."
LaFountain kept her foot on the accelerator throughout the second quarter, hitting 3 of 5 shots from the floor (including a 3-pointer) and both of her free throws to score nine of her game-high 24 points in the frame.
The Lakers got two Dawkins baskets in the quarter and a pair of Gilbert foul shots, but hit just 2 of 13 shots from the floor in the period and turned the ball over seven more times.
The Tigers tacked on 12-7 and 16-11 scoring edges in the third and fourth quarters to pull further away, getting five more points from both LaFountain and Leavitt, and four points each in the second half from Caitlin Erickson and Dani Lyons.
The Lakers, meanwhile, got six second-half points from Dawkins and four from Nyame Johnson, but on this day, it just wasn't nearly enough.
For the game, Leavitt added 15 points and McGaughey eight for Tigard.
Next up, Lake Oswego plays at Tualatin at 5:45 p.m. Friday, Jan. 26, and hosts Newberg at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 30. Tigard plays at Sherwood at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 25, hosts Lakeridge at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 26, and plays at West Linn at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 30.