Lake Oswego boys survive West Linn OT score 57-51 on Tuesday
The West Linn boys basketball team had league-leading Lake Oswego dead to rights.
The Lions, playing against the top-ranked Lakers at Lake Oswego High School on Tuesday night, led by 13 points with 6 minutes, 9 seconds left in the game and appeared on the verge of handing LO its first loss of 2019.
But Lake Oswego didn't panic.
The Lakers closed the fourth quarter with a 20-7 run, forced overtime and pulled away to win 57-51 behind sophomore guard Wayne McKinney.
"It was playing great on defense, actually, being up, trapping, communicating, getting stops and playing hard the rest of the game," explained McKinney, who led all scorers with 28 points, including two 3-pointers and an 8 of 8 day at the foul line.
"We just had to play our game at our pace and we had to start getting the shots that we wanted," said Lake Oswego senior wing Brandon Roberts. "We needed to get inside and get some good layups and get the ball in the hoop."
With the win — the team's eighth straight — the Lakers improved to 6-0 in the Three Rivers League and 15-3 overall. The No. 14 Lions — who competed without rotation players Micah Garrett (quad strain) and Parker Durbin (back strain) — lost their third straight game and fell to 3-3 in RL play and 8-10 overall.
"We just played hard and gave our full effort as much as we could throughout the whole game," said West Linn senior wing Oreon Courtney, who led his team with 16 points after hitting 6 of 11 shots from the floor and 4 of 11 foul shots. "We (just had) a couple of turnovers that shouldn't have happened at the end."
"We just made a couple of mistakes at the end that killed us," added senior wing Cade Knutson, who added 15 points on 5 of 5 shooting from the floor (including three "3s") and a 2 of 2 day at the line. "(Missed foul shots) killed us, but it's something we're working on."
After a back-and-forth first half that saw Lake Oswego lead by seven points early on, West Linn battled back and trailed just 18-16 at the break despite losing junior guard Bryson Crockett — along with Garrett, the team's top two scorers — to a knee injury late in the second quarter.
Crockett and Courtney scored six points each in the opening half, while McKinney scored eight points in the first quarter for LO.
After facing that early deficit on Tuesday, the Lions came back over the next 2 1/2 quarters, putting together a 23-8 stretch in the first 9:51 of the second half to give West Linn a 39-26 lead with 6:09 left in the game.
Highlights from that stretch were eight points by Knutson and five more from West Linn junior post Joe Juhala.
"We were moving the ball and passing the ball really good," Courtney said. "(We were) hustling and making plays and getting on the ground and making hustle plays most of the time."
"We just wanted to come out with effort," Knutson added. "It's all about effort and this was the best game in terms of effort that we've had all year."
As poorly as things had gone for the Lakers in the game's middle two quarters — Lake Oswego scored just 11 points in 16 minutes — they didn't give up and they didn't go away.
Over the final 5:33 of the fourth quarter, Lake Oswego outscored West Linn 20-7, getting a 3-pointer from McKinney, two Roberts foul shots, seven straight McKinney points (including a "3") in just 36 seconds, two Josh Angle free throws, a McKinney lob over Courtney and a fast break hoop by sophomore Trace Salton set up by an Angle steal with 15 seconds left in the fourth period.
Then, after Courtney made 1 of 2 free throws with 10 seconds left, McKinney hit a turnaround jumpshot from the left side of the free throw line with two seconds left to force overtime at 46-46.
In the extra period, the Lakers led 50-48 early on baskets by McKinney and Angle, before Knutson took a Gus Michelon pass and buried a "3" from the right corner to give West Linn its final lead of the game at 51-50 with 2:10 to go in OT.
But while the Lions wouldn't score again, the Lakers added a McKinney turnaround jumper, two Salton foul shots, another free throw by senior Dylan Senf and two more foul shots by McKinney in the game's final 1:45 to seal their victory.
"I wasn't worried," McKinney said. "I knew there was a lot of time left and our team would get it together and play hard, and hopefully, would come out with the victory which we did."
"I think it was that we pulled together as a team at that point and started playing together and that's when we started hitting our stride," Roberts said.
For the game, Angle added seven points for Lake Oswego and Fred Harding six, while Crockett had six and Juhala five for West Linn.