Lakers keep their grip on first place in the TRL standings with their 68-44 victory

DAN BROOD - Lake Oswego junior Brandon Roberts (left) and Sherwood senior Nic Koronko battle for a rebound during Friday's game.The Lake Oswego boys basketball team has its sights set on the Three Rivers League championship, and the Lakers don't want to let anything stand in their way.

With that in mind, they wanted to be more than ready for their game against Sherwood — a squad that has shown in recent weeks that it can knock off the best teams in the league — on Friday.

And Lake Oswego certainly looked ready — wow, were the Lakers ever ready.

Lake Oswego took control with an early 10-0 run and seemingly never let up on its way to a 68-44 win over the Bowmen in a Three Rivers League game played at Sherwood High School.

"The last two years, we've had tough games here," said Lake Oswego junior guard Josh Angle, who scored 13 points in the victory. "We came out with the mindset that it would be close and we had to be ready to go. That carried us to the big win."

"It went pretty well," said Lake Oswego senior forward J.R. Schilling, who scored 10 of his 14 points in the second half. "It was a good win on the road. The last couple of years, we've lost four key games late in the season so we were ready."

With the win, Lake Oswego improved to 10-1 in TRL play (16-5 overall), keeping the Lakers alone in first place in the league standings, two games ahead of Tigard and West Linn, who are tied for second.

"That would be big," Schilling said of winning a Three Rivers League championship.

"That's one of our goals," Angle added. "We're in a position to do it. That's a great feeling."

With the setback, Sherwood fell to 5-6 in TRL games (12-9 overall), keeping the Bowmen in fifth place in the league standings.

"They're a good team. I have a lot of respect for them," said Sherwood senior wing Nic Koronko, who tied for team-high scoring honors with nine points. "We just made too many mental errors. We can play with anyone, but it was too many errors and it all adds up."

Sherwood took a 2-0 lead in Friday's game when senior post Jace Sucher scored a follow-up basket with 6 minutes and 27 seconds left to play in the first quarter. But the Lakers took over from there.

Lake Oswego responded with a 10-0 run, which featured five points (including a 3-pointer) by Angle and four points by junior Brandon Roberts, giving the Lakers a 10-2 lead with 3:05 remaining in the quarter.

Sherwood closed the gap to 11-7 on a 3-pointer by Koronko, but Angle's second "three," coming with 44 seconds left in the period, helped the Lakers boost their lead to 16-9 going into the second quarter.

Lake Oswego, with freshman guard Wayne McKinney III leading the way, kept rolling from there. McKinney scored 11 points in a span of 2:49, helping Lake Oswego extend its margin to 27-14 with 4:45 left in the period.

After a Koronko 3-pointer assisted by senior Owen Grubbe cut the lead to 29-17, Lake Oswego responded with another run. This time, the Lakers got four points from senior forward Shawn Elliott and a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Angle to finish the second quarter with an 8-3 run and a 37-20 cushion at halftime.

Sherwood looked poised to come back early in the third quarter after Bowmen sophomore guard Jamison Guerra opened the period with a three-point play, Sucher added a pair of free throws and then scored a layup off a pass from Guerra to help Sherwood trim the margin to 39-27 with 6:11 left in the quarter.

But again, Lake Oswego responded.

Schilling sank a 3-pointer and scored five points in the quarter. The Lakers also got a three-point play from Roberts and baskets by McKinney and sophomore Sam Abere, and a pair of free throws from senior Books Boutwell as they pushed their lead to 53-29 with 1:58 remaining in the period.

A three-pointer by Sherwood senior Tyler Thiebes in the final minute made the score 53-32 going into the fourth quarter.

The Lakers stayed hot in the final stanza, too. Back-to-back baskets by junior Fred Harding gave the visitors their biggest lead of the game at 68-39 with 2:49 left in the contest.

Sherwood, battling to the end, got a 3-pointer from senior Carter Bahns and a follow-up hoop by sophomore Blake Jensen in the last 2:23 to make the final score 68-44.

"Defense," Schilling said, referring to the key to the Lakers' victory. "We played great on the defensive end. We had each other's back."

"We pride ourselves on our defense," Angle said.

McKinney led a balanced Laker scoring attack with 15 points, Schilling added 14 points, Angle had five rebounds to go with his 13 points, Elliott had eight points and seven rebounds, and Roberts added seven points.

Lake Oswego, as a team, made 27 of 56 shots from the field, with six 3-pointers, and hit 8 of 12 free-throw attempts. The Lakers also had just five turnovers for the contest.

"This is an unselfish bunch," Angle said. "We play as a team."

"The ball will get to you when you have the hot hand," Schilling said.

Koronko and Guerra each scored nine points for the Bowmen. Sucher had eight points and six rebounds and Grubbe added four points, eight rebounds and three assists.

Sherwood, as a team, made 15 of 45 shots from the field, with six 3-point baskets, and 8 of 11 free-throw attempts.

"We'll come out and work hard on running things correctly. This is fixable," Koronko said. "I thought Jamison played really well. He's a sophomore, but he plays like a senior. I'm proud of how everyone kept playing with heart tonight."

Both teams will return to action on Tuesday. Sherwood will host Newberg and Lake Oswego will be home to face Canby in league games starting at 7 p.m.

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