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Cougars race out to 10-0 lead, hold on in fourth quarter for Three Rivers League victory

PMG PHOTO: DEREK WILEY - Canby junior Riley Knutson gets tied up with Lakeridge defenders Clark Sheehan, left, and Mason Nelson in the second half of Friday's game.

LAKE OSWEGO — Fresh off of its victory over Tigard, Canby came to Lakeridge Friday with a swagger.

And the confidence just continued to grow in the third quarter as Ben Bailey threw an alley-oop to Riley Knutson for a two-handed dunk.

"He's always practicing dunking after practice," Bailey said of Knutson. "We're just throwing him lobs and having fun with that."

"I was ready for anything and I saw it in the air, so I just went for it," Knutson said.

Like a play seen in an NBA all-star game, Alexander Evans then bounced a pass off the backboard.

While Knutson was not able to finish the second dunk, the Cougars did hold off a late Lakeridge rally to earn a 60-54 Three Rivers League road win.

"I saw Riley a little bit behind me and threw it off the backboard and it was just too high for him," said Evans, who led Canby with 19 points.

The Cougars never trailed at Lakeridge as Evans knocked down a 3-pointer in the opening seconds and Canby raced out to a 10-0 lead.

The Cougars led 30-18 at halftime.

Knutson's dunk then extended Canby's advantage to 37-22 with 4:34 remaining in the third quarter.

A 3-pointer by Chance Miller gave the Cougars their biggest lead of the night, 46-28, late in the third.

But Lakeridge then got hot from the 3-point arc to push Canby in the fourth quarter.

The Pacers answered with five 3-pointers down the stretch, the last coming from Clark Sheehan to get Lakeridge within 59-54 with 30 seconds remaining in the game.

The Cougars went 3-for-4 from the free throw line in the final minute to stave off the Lakeridge comeback.

"We lost focus and maybe they needed that," Canby coach Craig Evans said. "We're not No. 1 in the nation. We've got to play, and that's a good team. They're going to fight until the end. It doesn't matter what the score is."

Bailey scored 15 points for Canby. Diego Arredondo added 11.

PMG PHOTO: DEREK WILEY - Canby sophomore Alexander Evans scored 19 points Friday at Lakeridge.

The Cougars, who defeated Tigard, then No. 1 in the OSAA rankings, 58-46 on Tuesday, improved to 2-0 in the Three Rivers League after winning just two league games last season, both coming against Lakeridge.

"We're a lot older this year and we have more experience throughout our team," said Bailey, who is one of four players who started last year as a sophomore.

The fourth quarter comeback was a confidence booster for the Pacers, who have started 0-2 in league play after a blowout loss to West Linn on Tuesday.

"It definitely feels good, because after that tough (West Linn) loss, I'm surprised we bounced back this good," said Aaron Buck, who led the Pacers with 16 points. "I really think this is a turning point for our team because we weren't playing very good before or after winter break… But I think we are back for sure and other teams are going to be surprised when we come and play them."

Carson Mike added 15 points for Lakeridge.

"This shows that we can hang with other teams, and in my opinion, we can hang with most teams," Mike said. "We also got a little lucky with the shots finally dropping. We have amazing shooters in my opinion, really good outside shooters, so finally getting them going was huge for us."

Derek Wiley
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