You know what the non-league schedule is about for high school basketball teams, right? It's about winning games and getting better.
The Beaverton girls basketball team did both of those on Friday, Dec. 3, while Lakeridge believes it at least did the latter in the Beavers' 66-33 non-league win at Lakeridge High School.
"It was just good to be back on the floor with all of us playing together," said Beaverton junior Zoe Borter, who finished with 20 points on 9 of 17 shooting from the field and a 2 of 2 day at the foul line, along with five rebounds, two assists and one steal. "Obviously, this is just our first game so we're still learning — we're not at our best yet — but I think we have a good chance to go all the way."
"I think our team play was very good," said junior Lainey Spear, who finished with 23 points on 8 of 16 shooting from the field (including three 3-pointers) and a 4 of 6 day at the line, along with 12 rebounds, four steals, two blocks and one assist. "We have a lot of leadership and … our coach does a really good job of bringing in (new players) and teaching them really well, which is always good."
The second-ranked Beavers improved to 1-0 overall with the win, while the no. 7 Pacers fell to 0-1. Despite the loss, Lakeridge's players appreciated the challenge and vowed to learn from the loss.
"It sucks to lose, but at the end of the day, it's more important that we get ready for the season," said Lakeridge senior guard Reese Ericson, who finished with seven points on 2 of 6 shooting from the field and a 3 of 4 day at the foul line, along with six rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block. "We're just trying to figure out how to play with each other."
"We're just going to keep adapting to how each of us plays and I think we're getting better at that with each day that goes on," added senior guard Kemper Flood, who added 10 points on 4 of 15 shooting from the field and a 2 of 3 day at the line, along with three rebounds and two steals. "I think we are getting better at communicating and figuring out which spots are our strengths and what are our … weaknesses."
That said, the Beavers put their stamp on this game early. The Pacers held their own for the first half of the opening quarter, tying Beaverton at 7-7 when Flood took an Ericson pass and scored midway through the period, but the Beavers took over after that. They finished the period on a 13-2 run highlighted by Borter's six points, Spear's five (including a three-point play) and a late drive by junior Madison Naro that pushed Beaverton's lead to 20-9 at the end of the stanza.
Beaverton kept its foot on the accelerator in the second quarter, too, opening the period with a 19-4 run that essentially put the game on ice. That stretch included seven points (including two "threes") from Naro, four by Spear and two foul shots from senior Emily Rice that pushed the Beavers' lead to 39-13 with 2:09 left in the opening half.
"Obviously, we have a lot of experience … (but) I think our younger players that came off the bench did very, very well," Spear said. "Especially for their first game, it was really good they had that connection on the floor."
From that low point, the Pacers — to their great credit — came out aggressively in the second half, pressed and trapped the Beavers in the backcourt and strung together a 10-3 run over a span of 5:29.
Lakeridge eventually closed within 41-23 when Flood scored on a drive and turned it into a three-point play with 3:31 left in the quarter. In that stretch, Ericson added a three-point play and five points of her own, while junior Keelie O'Hollaren scored on a cut assisted by Ericson.
But Beaverton had no intention of letting this game get close. Still up 44-23 late in the third, Spear hit a pair of "threes," then rebounded a miss by Borter and scored again in the final second of the quarter to give the Beavers a commanding 49-25 edge.
"I think … we got a lot of easy points just running the floor," Borter said, adding that "I think we have a chance to go all the way."
For their part, the Pacers said that playing a great team like Beaverton — even in a loss — was an experience that would help them grow.
"I really just take this as a learning experience," Ericson added. "It's a long season and this is just the beginning."
For Lakeridge, O'Hollaren added 13 points (on 4 of 12 shooting from the field and a 4 of 4 day at the foul line), six rebounds and a block. For Beaverton, Naro scored 10 points on 4 of 11 shooting from the field (including two "threes"), along with four rebounds and three assists.
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