Lake Oswego boys prep for challenges of Class 6A state tournament
Anything less would not have been good enough for the Lake Oswego boys basketball team.
The top-ranked Lakers open play in the 2019 Class 6A state tournament at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday when they face No. 8 Three Rivers League foe Oregon City at the Chiles Center on the University of Portland campus. Lake Oswego comes into the game carrying a seven-game winning streak and a 22-4 overall record, while the Pioneers enter the contest as winners of two straight, five of their last six and carrying a 19-7 overall mark.
Needless to say, Lake Oswego's players are as excited as they could be for the team's first state tournament appearance since 2013.
"That's a huge deal," said 6-foot-1 senior forward Brandon Roberts, one of three senior starters in the Laker lineup. "We've been dreaming of this the whole entire season, and if anything, (our 56-54 second-round win over Westview) really just makes us more and more hungry."
"We have seven days left together as a group so we want to get together, put in the work, finish those final games and see what we can do," said 6-3 senior guard Josh Angle, a first-team all-Three Rivers League selection and the team's leading scorer at 18 points per game, along with a team-high 7.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game.
In addition to Roberts and Angle, the rest of the Lake Oswego starting lineup includes: super-quick 5-11 sophomore point guard Wayne McKinney, another first-team all-league pick; 6-2 junior guard Sam Abere, a two-year starter who was TRL Defensive Player of the Year in 2018; and 6-7 senior post Fred Harding, an honorable mention all-leaguer who can score, rebound and block shots. Grant Fuson, a 6-5 senior post who can rebound and shoot inside and outside, also was named to the all-TRL honorable mention team.
Other key components in the Lakers' lineup are: Casey Graver, a 6-4 junior sharpshooter; 6-2 senior forward Dylan Senf, a solid ballhandler and defender; and 6-5 sophomore forward Trace Salton, who came back from an injury mid-season to bolster LO's depth with his scoring, rebounding and defense.
"We're definitely really excited to be back," Fuson said. "We've got our mission and goal and we are just going to get ready for the next game."
The Lakers, who won the Three Rivers League for the second straight season, believe that their depth and camaraderie will pay big dividends at state.
"We've put in enough work and I have enough chemistry with all my teammates so I know where they'll be and they know where I'll be," Angle said. "We are comfortable with each other (and this is) what we've been preparing for for the last four years."
The other quarterfinal match-ups at the tournament include: No. 5 Central Catholic (21-5 overall) vs. No. 4 Jesuit (20-6 overall), 3:15 p.m. Wednesday; No. 6 Grant (21-6 overall) vs. No. 3 Jefferson (22-5 overall), 6:30 p.m. Wednesday; and No. 7 Tigard (17-9 overall) vs. No. 2 South Salem (22-4 overall), 8:15 p.m. Wednesday.
The tournament semifinals are scheduled for 1:30 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. Friday, and the tournament championship for 3:15 p.m. Saturday.