Lake Oswego's Josh Angle stars in Northwest Shootout
Lake Oswego senior Josh Angle has always had a desire to prove that he belongs among the best.
He proved his ability as a youth player. He proved it again over the course of his star-studded career at Lake Oswego High School. And he proved it as an AAU player with the Rose City Rebels.
So on Saturday, April 13, when Angle got to cap his high school in the annual Northwest Shootout at Liberty High School, he was determined to prove himself one more time.
Facing Washington's best seniors in the annual Oregon vs. Washington all-star game, Angle did just that. He led his team in scoring with 16 points. He led his team in 3-pointers (four) and 3-point shooting (4 of 5). He led his team in shots made (six) and shooting percentage (hitting 6 of 9 shots for 67%).
And just for good measure, he added four rebounds, one assist, one steal and just one turnover against a Washington team that will send players to Gonzaga (two), Michigan, Washington, Seattle Pacific (four) and Central Washington (two). And that doesn't even include the game's best player, 6-10 Jaden McDaniels — he has yet to make his college choice — who finished with 25 points, 10 rebounds three assists and a trio of spectacular dunks en route to being named Most Valuable Player.
"It was a super unique opportunity," Angle said. "I'm just fortunate I had the opportunity to play in this game with some of the kids I've grown up playing basketball with. There's no other way I'd rather have my high school basketball career (end)."
Angle, a 6-foot-1 shooting guard and a starter for the Oregon team, made his presence felt right away on Saturday, taking a pass from Grant's Aaron Deloney and burying a 3-pointer from the wing to give Oregon an 8-2 lead just 1 minute, 1 second into the contest.
Angle kept it going in the first half, too, knocking down another "3" off a pass from Jesuit's Justin Bieker a minute later, scoring on a drive with 5:54 to go in the 20-minute first half, then drilling another 3-pointer (assisted again by Deloney) from the left wing to bring his team within 45-40 with 4:55 to go before the break.
"I've played against a lot of them so it's super cool to see the group they get together and the kind of group we get and represent our states," Angle said. "We definitely came out and we battled."
Angle wasn't done, either.
He made a steal that set up a putback basket by Bend's Brian Warriner 2:22 into the second half, hit his fourth "3" of the contest (assisted by Bieker) from the left wing with 8:45 left in the game, then scored his last basket on a reverse layin in the key after rebounding a Bieker miss.
"You just want to focus on what you can do and what you can you do well," Angle said. "For me today, that translated in if I got an open '3' — guys would create for me and I got an open look. They made it easier on me to play, and at same time, I was able to create a little bit and get other guys open looks and it made it easier on them."
In the end, Washington used its superior size, shooting (Washington made 54% of its shots while Oregon hit just 45%) and rebounding (winning the battle of the boards 53-39) to beat the Oregon stars 120-102.
None of that, however, diminished the experience for Angle in any way.
"We were able to hang with them for stints, but when it came down to it, we just weren't able to get the outcome we wanted," Angle said. "At the same time, we were still able to say we had a good time."
Besides the game itself, Angle said he enjoyed getting to know the game's other players and sharing a week's worth of experiences with them.
"All practices were fun, and just being in this group of really high quality players — high-quality people — was as well," he said. "And then, just this last couple of days, getting to stay in a hotel with the guys and getting to tour downtown Portland and getting see the shops and new things they've got down there, it's something I'll never forget."
While Angle has not yet made a decision on where his basketball future will lead — like five of his Oregon teammates, he has not yet chosen a college — he knows that the Shootout will serve as a great precursor.
"Coach (Larry Doty) called this our first real college game because all these guys are going to play college basketball — all 20," Angle said. "It was definitely a great experience and a different kind of segue between these two chapters of our lives that are simultaneously opening and closing."