This one was a long time coming.
This one — the Lakeridge girls basketball team's 55-41 win over Oregon City on Wednesday, Feb. 26 — marked the Pacers' first win over the Pioneers in more than 15 years.
To be accurate, Lakeridge's last win over Oregon City was a 63-57 decision back on Jan. 11 of 2005 — a game that happened 15 years, one month and 12 days ago.
"Honestly, we could have come to play harder," said Oregon City senior guard Tyra Bradford, who finished with three points (on 1 of 6 shooting from the field with one 3-pointer), along with two steals, two assists and one rebound. "We just came off of West Linn and you go from West Linn to Lakeridge and you have to create your own energy. West Linn is a big game, you come prepared, then this is the next one and it was just like, no energy."
"We just talked about coming together as a team and bringing the energy we need every single game, whether it's a big team like West Linn or a team like Lakeridge," Oregon City junior guard, who finished with 12 points (on 4 of 11 shooting from the field with two 3-pointers and a 2 of 5 day at the foul line), along with two rebounds and two steals).
Oregon City, which entered the game as the No. 6 team in the OSAA power rankings, saw its seven-game winning streak and dropped them to 9-4 in TRL play (good for second place) and 17-6 overall. With the win — their third in four games — the No. 24 Pacers (who played without regulars Kiersten Weiler and Emma Krauss) improved to 5-8 in the Three Rivers League and 13-10 overall.
"This is a huge win," said Lakeridge senior guard Abbi Fedrizzi, who led all scorers with 20 points (on 5 of 9 shooting from the field with four 3-pointers and a 6 of 6 day at the foul line), along with five rebounds and three steals. "We know our potential and how we played OC in the (PIL Holiday Classic) tournament and we were really close. We had it tonight."
"Yes, this game was huge, but it's just a progression of believing in each other and working hard," said Lakeridge sophomore guard Reese Ericson, who added nine points (on 3 of 9 shooting from the field and a 3 of 5 day at the foul line), along with five rebounds, three assists and two steals.
"I definitely think that energy is what helped us stay in it the entire game," said Lakeridge junior guard Rose Daniels (she transferred to Lakeridge from Oregon City before her freshman year), who scored four points (on 1 of 6 shooting from the field and a 2 of 2 day at the foul line), along with three rebounds, one steal and one assist in just her second game back after missing weeks with an ankle injury. "There was a lot of good positive energy from the bench and we were bringing it together on the court which helped keep us in check."
While Lakeridge ended up on top, the Pioneers started quickly at the outset of Wednesday's game, getting a Willard drive, an inside hoop from junior post Emmaly Welch and a Willard free throw to lead 5-2 with 3 minutes, 44 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
But the Pacers showed their resilience early, closing the quarter on a 12-0 run over the final 3:20 to grab a 14-5 lead. While the Pioneers missed their final three shots of the period and turned the ball over twice, Lakeridge got a Fedrizzi 3-pointer, an Ericson pull-up from the top of the key, a Fedrizzi jumpshot, a three-point play by freshman Keelie O'Hollaren, and finally, an inside hoop from junior Payton Moffenbeier assisted by Fedrizzi to make it 14-5 with 26 seconds remaining in the quarter.
In the second quarter, Oregon City senior guard Katie Kathan broke free for 10 of her 14 points to help her team close within 23-14 with 2:01 to go in the half.
But Moffenbeier and the Pacers made sure the Pioneers got no closer, with the junior wing scoring six points in the final 1:36 of the half to push her team's lead back to 31-17 at the break.
Moffenbeier took a Daniels pass and knocked down a jumpshot from the right corner, and after Daniels hit two foul shots, Moffenbeier hit two free throws of her own and Ericson made a late steal to set up Moffenbeier for a fast break basket six seconds before the half.
The third quarter was no better for the Pioneers. Ericson hit an early floater from the left side and Fedrizzi followed with a "three" off a pass from junior Addie Reardon to boost the Lakeridge lead to 36-16 with 6:11 left in the period.
The Pioneers tried to stay close with another five points (including a 3-pointer) by Willard and three by sophomore Kaydyn Guelsdorf, but the Pacers pushed their lead back to 20 — at 44-24 on another Fedrizzi "three" with 3:16 to go — and still led 46-28 at the end of the quarter.
Oregon City didn't go out quietly, though. The Pioneers opened the fourth quarter on a 13-4 run highlighted by 3-pointers from Bradford and Willard and closed within 50-41 when Guelsdorf took a pass from junior Jalissa Lugo and scored inside with 2:12 left in the contest.
But Lakeridge salted away its win at the foul line, getting 3 of 5 free throws from Ericson and another two by Fedrizzi to seal their victory.
"I think we hit them hard in the first quarter and they were kind of on their heels a little bit and playing catch-up the rest of the game," Fedrizzi said. "I think they walked in thinking it was going to be an easy win and we walked in wanting it more."
"We just talked about playing together, playing as a team and keeping our heads," Ericson said. "We got a little flustered here and there, but our teammates talked to us and we stayed together and that's what really pushed us through."
The Pioneers, meanwhile, said they'd learn from the loss and come back better.
"I think we're fine," Bradford said. "We just have to use this to come out and play harder next time and know that we can't just come out and let a team roll over us."
"I think coming back from this loss, we'll come back together stronger," Willard added.
Kathan led the Pioneers with 14 points (on 5 of 10 shots from the field and a 4 of 6 day at the foul line), along with five rebounds and one block. O'Hollaren and Moffenbeier added eight points each for Lakeridge.
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