Lakeridge boys close '17-18 campaign with a win
At the end of a season filled with a few highlights and a lot of challenges, the Lakeridge boys basketball team ended the year on an "up."
Lakeridge, which started the year with just one returning varsity player and also suffered through a 16-game losing streak, ended its 2017-18 season on a high note, beating Canby 56-47 at Canby High School on Friday.
"I feel good," said Lakeridge senior Jake Fedrizzi, who led his team with 17 points after hitting 5 of 8 shots from the field (including one 3-pointer) and 6 of 7 foul shots. "Being the last game, I enjoyed it a lot, being able to win by a decent margin, not having it be close throughout."
"I think the difference for us was that our guys didn't want to end their season on a losing note," said Lakeridge coach Fred Gold. "We've had some adversity throughout the year, and collectively, they came together saying, 'We're not going to allow ourselves to lose this basketball game, it being our last game of the year.' I've got to give all the credit to those guys."
No. 42 Lakeridge snapped a three-game losing streak with the win and finished its season at 2-12 in the TRL — tied with Canby in seventh place — and 3-21 overall. The No. 39 Cougars ended their year with a six-game losing streak and finished at 2-12 in league play and 6-18 overall.
"It was a disappointment, and a lot of sadness," said Canby senior guard Wade Brewer, who led his team with 17 points on 4 of 8 shooting from the field (including two 3-pointers) and 7 of 10 foul shots. "We had a pretty close group this year and none of us really wanted it to end, especially like this."
"I don't think we were mentally ready to go for a physical game like that," Canby coach Craig Evans said. "I think Lakeridge came out strong, kind of like the first time we played them. But we were able to withhold the long runs and limit it then, whereas in this game, they went on their runs and went a little bit longer, and we couldn't quite get back in the game, and it got away from us at the end there."
Lakeridge got on the board first, with a basket from senior Cort Gerot and a pair of free throws from Fedrizzi, but Canby's Skyler Castleman answered back with a 3-pointer, and later, the Cougars got a layup and shot from beyond the arc by Brewer that gave Canby a 10-8 lead at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Canby continued its hot streak. The Cougars battled out to a 20-16 lead, in large part thanks to freshman Diego Arredondo (who had five points in the quarter) and Brewer, who drained a "three" to steal back the lead from the Pacers.
Lakeridge found success of its own thanks to the efforts of sophomore Ethan McEachern (who scored six points in the quarter), and by the end of the quarter, the momentum had shifted in favor of the Pacers, who walked into the locker room with a 25-20 lead.
In the third quarter, Canby cut the deficit to four points, but got no closer. While Canby's Castleman and Brewer tried to find shots from the outside, they never really got things going for the Cougars, something Evans noticed.
"They stacked it into the paint and said, 'We're going to make you shoot over our tall guys and our athletic guards,'" Evans said. "I tried different lineups, tried to get the hot shooter going and just couldn't find the right combo at the right time. Kudos to them."
Fedrizzi had six points in the third stanza, Canby only hit five baskets in the quarter, and by the end of the third, Lakeridge led 39-30.
Canby's shooters finally found some success in the fourth quarter, with Brewer scoring nine points and Castleman eight, but Lakeridge was too far ahead and finished with a 56-47 victory.
For the Cougars, the end of the game brought a close to a disappointing season. According to Brewer, the camaraderie forged between teammates is something that will not easily be forgotten.
"The heart and competitiveness (is what I'll remember about this team)," he said. "We worked hard and competed the best we could and that's what I love about them."
On their side of the ledger, the Pacers left proud of their win and the improvements they made over the course of the year.
"Winning it for the rest of the seniors, … having that feeling for the guys coming in next year is a huge thing also," Fedrizzi said, "being able to have them know what it's like to win, and taking it a step further for them in their years to come."
After Fedrizzi's 17 points (he also had three assists), sophomore Ethan McEachern added 12 points for the Pacers along with two assists and a steal, while senior Cort Gerot and junior Carter Larrance scored six points apiece.
For Canby, Castleman added 16 points in the loss.