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The top-ranked Lakers allow just single baskets in the first and second quarters

PMG PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Lake Oswego junior Casey Graver claps as he walks off the court at the end of his team's 69-30 win over Oregon City in the quarterfinals of the Class 6A state tournament at the Chiles Center on Wednesday.Defense wins championships.

It's a message that the Lake Oswego boys basketball team took to heart big-time in its Class 6A state tournament opener on Wednesday.

The top-ranked Lakers held No. 8 Three Rivers League foe Oregon City to one field goal in each of the game's first two quarters and used that brutal lockdown defensive performance to fuel their 69-30 victory at the Chiles Center on the University of Portland campus.

"Coming out, we just wanted to prove ourselves on the defensive end and prove that we weren't just happy to be here, but that we had a chip on our shoulder and we were ready to play," said Laker senior guard Josh Angle, who was named Player of the Game after scoring a game-high 18 points and adding seven rebounds and four assists.

"We had butterflies of course. We were nervous before this game," said Lake Oswego sophomore point guard Wayne McKinney, who added 14 points, three rebounds, five assists and three steals. "We had to come out and compete, and stick to our game plan. We were flying on defense. We … got a couple of steals and a couple of breakaway fastbreak layups and that was really key. Our defense pretty much won this game today."

With the win — the team's eighth straight — the Three Rivers League champion Lakers improved to 23-4 overall. Next up, the Lakers will face No. 4 Metro League champion Jesuit (21-6 overall) in the state semifinals at 1:30 p.m. Friday. The Crusaders beat No. 5 Mt. Hood Conference champion Central Catholic (21-6 overall) 64-38 in their Wednesday quarterfinal.

Oregon City, meanwhile, saw its two-game winning streak snapped and fell to 19-8 overall after earlier finishing tied for second in the TRL.

"We were excited to be here. It's a big deal to play here and I think we let that get to our heads a little bit, just at the beginning of the game," said Oregon City senior guard Corban Remsburg, who finished with four points, one rebound and one steal in the loss. "We didn't come out as aggressive as we have been coming off the last time we played against them."

"We just needed to play better defense and box out. They were getting more rebounds and we needed to be more disciplined," added Oregon City junior guard Andre Best, who had three points, three assists and one blocked shot. "We just needed to attack the basket. We were holding it too much, playing scared."

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Despite the lopsided final score, neither the Lakers nor the Pioneers generated much offense at the start of Wednesday's game, with neither scoring until Lake Oswego senior Fred Harding hit one foul shot 2 minutes, 31 seconds into the contest.

But the Lakers took off in the final 4:59 of the period, outscoring the Pioneers 16-2 in that span to grab an 18-2 edge at the end of the frame. Harding, a 6-foot-7 post, was in the middle of much of the action, taking a Brandon Roberts pass inside for a dunk, rebounding an Angle miss and throwing down a two-handed dunk just 2:39 later, and adding a rebound, a steal and an assist after that.

"Obviously, anything is possible when you come out and play your brand of basketball," Harding said. "We space things out pretty well so when we … drive it creates gaps for us to go in and score. Our guards do a really good job of that."

The Pioneers didn't get on the scoreboard until Remsburg hit a pull-up jumpshot from the top of the key with 2:50 left in the period, but Oregon City went just 1 of 6 from the field in the stanza and turned the ball over five times.

And things got worse for Oregon City in the second quarter. The Lakers opened the period on a 9-0 run that extended their lead to 25-2, with Angle hitting once, sophomore Trace Salton connecting from the right side and McKinney adding five points in just 1:42.

Then, after the Pioneers saw senior Erich Nova rebound his own miss and score to make it 27-4 with 3:29 left in the half, Lake Oswego added an 8-3 stretch to close the half with a 35-7 advantage. Angle hit once from the baseline and again on the break after a McKinney steal, Harding connected off an Angle lob pass and Salton scored inside during that run.

Nova hit a pair of free throws late in the half for that 35-7 deficit.

"We definitely knew we could do something of this caliber," Harding said. "We knew their personnel and we found our rotations really well and that's what helped us."

"I think we could have just moved the ball more to get better shots," Remsburg said. "We didn't shoot the ball great any of the game so maybe that would have helped us get in a rhythm, just moving it and getting quality shots."

While the Pioneers were better offensively in the second half, the Lakers outscored them 23-13 in the third quarter and 11-10 in the fourth to seal their dominant victory. Angle tacked on another eight points in the third, junior Casey Graver knocked down a pair of 3-pointers and McKinney added another five for LO, while the Pioneers saw Best, Jake Gettel and Blaze Bergren knock down "3s" in the period.

For the game, Lake Oswego went 29 of 51 from the field (including five 3-pointers) and 6 of 10 from the foul line while forcing 10 turnovers, while Oregon City hit just 10 of 46 from the field (including three "3s") and 7 of 14 from the line while forcing seven turnovers.

Contact Sports Editor Miles Vance at 503-330-0127 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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