Lake Oswego boys win key TRL matchup over West Linn 57-38
The start of Tuesday's West Linn at Lake Oswego boys basketball game could not have gone much worse for the Lions.
West Linn missed its first five shots from the floor, went just 2 of 12 shooting in the first period and fell behind by 10 points five minutes into the game.
But that was nothing compared to how things ended for the Lions.
After closing within four points early in the second half, the bottom dropped out for West Linn. From there, Lake Oswego closed the contest on a 34-18 run and won 57-38 at Lake Oswego High School, extending its Three Rivers League lead to two games over both West Linn and Tigard.
"It's a good win, but at the same time, it's just one game," said Lake Oswego junior guard Josh Angle, who scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half. "By no means is the race for the league title over. We still have to play four more tough games so we're focusing on one at a time and, hopefully, that mindset will carry us the rest of the way."
"This is only one game. We have more to go," echoed Laker freshman guard Wayne McKinney III, who led all scorers with 18 points. "I'm just glad I could do it with this team."
With the win — the team's sixth straight — the No. 6 Lakers improved to 9-1 in TRL play and 15-7 overall. Eighth-ranked West Linn, meanwhile, lost for the second time in four games and fell to 7-3 in the TRL and a second-place tie with Tigard (12-8 overall).
"Some of it was they came out and slowed the ball down — we usually like to go back and forth, play high speed — and some of it was on us," said West Linn junior guard Drayton Caoile, who led his team with 11 points. "They outrebounded us. They played harder than us. We just couldn't get anything going for a while."
"We just need to focus on making the smart play in practice, just work on the little things," added West Linn senior wing Max Michelon, who came off the bench to score 10 points, eight of those in the second quarter.
As to Lake Oswego's fast start, while the Lions struggled with their shooting early, the Lakers knocked down 8 of 15 shots at the start of the game. McKinney and senior post Shawn Elliott scored six points each in the first quarter, and senior J.R. Schilling converted a fast break basket with a great crossover move to push the Laker lead to 18-6 with 45 seconds remaining in the period.
With the Lions' hopes on life support, Michelon stepped up to keep his team alive, knocking down four straight shots in the first 2:36 of the second period. He started with a reverse spin down the lane, connected inside on an assist from senior Jalen Thompson, hit a reverse set up by Damiko Tidmore, then scored from the left baseline on another pass by Tidmore to make it 20-14.
"We just worked. We worked hard," Michelon said. "We crashed everything. It was just hard work, that's all."
"When that second group came in, it definitely sparked this," Caoile said. "Max played really big. He played the best I've ever seen."
West Linn's deficit was still just 24-18 at the half, and the Lions then closed within 24-20 when Caoile took a Thompson pass and scored on a drive with 6:47 to go in the third quarter.
But Lake Oswego's defense wasn't going to let this one get away. The Lakers held the Lions to 4 of 12 shooting (along with three turnovers) and 10 points the rest of the way in the third quarter. At the other end, Lake Oswego saw Angle — after scoring just two points in the first half — break free for eight points in the frame, McKinney score five points in 27 seconds and Brandon Roberts add four more to put Lake Oswego ahead 43-31 at the end of the period.
Finally, in the fourth quarter, the Lions scored just two points in the first 5:47 of the stanza while the Lakers collected 13, with McKinney and Angle each hitting a 3-pointer and scoring five points, and Roberts adding another three points to leave the Lions behind.
"I really love this team because everybody knows their role and everybody's ready to step up when we need it," Angle said. "At this point, there's not anything we can really phase us. We're ready for whatever other teams throw at us."
"I'm just glad my teammates were trusting me with taking shots and making plays for them," McKinney added.
For the game, Roberts and Elliott added nine points each in the win, while no other West Linn player had more than four points.