The Lakeridge girls basketball team was ready to battle.
But Southridge has already been to war, and the Skyhawks know how to win.
That was certainly the case in the two teams' first-round Class 6A state playoff game at Southridge High School on Tuesday, March 3. The Skyhawks — who have played in the past three 6A state championship games — took the Pacers' best shots, came back with their own and pulled away to win 65-47.
"We knew that if we came out and did the little things, and didn't start out weak that we would have a very good shot at winning this," said Southridge junior guard Maya Hoff, who finished with 12 points (on 3 of 4 shooting from the field and a 6 of 10 day at the foul line), along with seven rebounds, three steals and two assists. "We wanted to control the pace of the game and that's what we tried to do."
"I'm really happy with the team effort tonight, but we have things to keep working on," said Southridge senior guard McKelle Meek, who led all scorers with 22 points (on 6 of 16 shooting from the field with four 3-pointers and a 6 of 8 day at the foul line), along with six assists, two steals, two rebounds and one block.
With the win — the team's sixth in its past seven games — No. 9 Southridge improved to 18-6 overall after placing second in the Metro League. Next up, the Skyhawks will play at No. 8 Tualatin on Friday, March 6, with a Class 6A state tournament berth on the line.
"Right now, every game is going to be competitive and we're one step closer now to our goal," Meek said.
No. 24 Lakeridge, meanwhile, lost for a second straight time and ended its season at 13-12 after placing sixth in the Three Rivers League.
"We really needed to pick it up on defense. That was kind of the thing that lost it for us," said Lakeridge freshman guard/wing Keelie O'Hollaren, who led her team with 14 points (on 6 of 13 shooting from the field with two 3-pointers), along with six rebounds and one steal. "I think we started out really strong, but I think their pressure eventually got to us."
"We were really just saying that we had nothing to lose," said Lakeridge junior wing Payton Moffenbeier, who finished with eight points (on 4 of 6 shooting from the field), along with one rebound. "We just wanted to be physical. We knew we had to be aggressive and come out ready for that kind of hard, sloppy game."
The two teams took turns trading shots in the opening quarter, with O'Hollaren hitting a baseline jumpshot from the right side assisted by junior Rose Daniels to give the Pacers an 11-10 lead with 2 minutes, 1 second left in the period, and Meek answering with a pullup jumpshot from the foul line and pullup "three" that gave the Skyhawks a 15-11 edge.
The Skyhawks kept the pressure on in the second quarter — they used their full-court press to force 20 turnovers in the game — boosted their lead to 18-11 on a Meek 3-pointer assisted by Hoff, and then to 25-15 when senior Kaylen Blair buried another "three" set up by Meek with 4:20 left in the half.
The Pacers edged back within 24-19 thanks an O'Hollaren shot in the key and a drive by junior Addie Reardon, but saw Southridge take a 31-21 edge into halftime.
The Skyhawk lead in the third quarter crested at 40-24 when senior wing Emoney Perry-Reid took a pass from senior Kyla Vinson and knocked down another 3-pointer from the left corner, but Lakeridge wasn't quite done.
The Pacers got a pullup on the fast break by Daniels, and two possessions later, a "three" from the left wing by O'Hollaren off a pass from sophomore Reese Ericson to cut their deficit to 43-33 with 1:28 left in the quarter.
But Southridge pushed its edge to 49-35 entering the fourth period, extended its lead to 21 points there and closed out its victory.
"We try to stay as calm as possible. It doesn't do us any good to try and play fast," Hoff said. "It was just really awesome to see everyone do so well and contribute."
"It was definitely one of the more aggressive games we've (been in)," said Lakeridge guard Abbi Fedrizzi — the team's lone senior. "We just talked about how we actually need to go into games and be aggressive — that definitely affected the way the end of the game went."
Perry-Reid added 11 points for Southridge, Vinson had nine and junior Kilyn Dawkins eight, with Dawkins adding nine rebounds. For Lakeridge, Reardon added eight points, four rebounds and three assists, and Daniels had seven points.
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