Lake Oswego boys basketball should be strong again this year
The 2018-19 boys basketball season was one for the record books at Lake Oswego.
The Lakers stepped up to win the Three Rivers League, took the top seed into the Class 6A state playoffs, won a berth in the state tournament and finished third there, the team's best result since placing third in 2013 and second in 2012.
Now, the question is this — can the Lakers do it again?
A year after graduating four all-leaguers (including first-team all-league guard Josh Angle) and seeing first-team all-TRL guard Wayne McKinney transfer to San Diego's Coronado High School, it might be tempting to say "no," but the Lakers believe otherwise.
"I expect us to compete for the league title," said Laker coach Marshall Cho, last year's Three Rivers League Coach of the Year. "We're coming into it knowing that we are the defending league champions and we haven't lost at home in league in two seasons."
And the cupboard is hardly bare at LO, this year's team led by 6-foot-3 senior guard Sam Abere (a second-team all-league pick last year and former TRL Defensive Player of the Year), 6-4 senior post Jack Chlumak (a transfer from Newberg who won first-team all-Pacific Conference honors last year), 6-5 junior post Trace Salton, 6-4 senior guard Casey Graver and 6-5 senior post Grant Brauner.
"(Abere is our) most experienced returner. I expect him to be a vocal leader on the floor (and he) has grown his all-around offensive game," Cho said, adding that Salton is a D1 prospect who's fully healthy and "expecting a big year. (He'll be the) focal point of opposing defenses."
Graver, Cho said, leads by example and will play multiple positions this year, while Brauner "had a very productive offseason. (He'll) space the floor with his shooting and provide valuable rebounding on the defensive side."
Also ready for varsity time are 6-0 senior guard Noah Kniss, 6-4 junior guard Grayden Smith, 6-1 senior guard Sam Herron, 6-4 junior guard Jack Woolf and 6-5 senior post Jake Archambo.
"The keys will come down to embracing our defensive identity and showing poise and good decision-making on the offensive end," Cho said.
That said, nothing will come easily in the ever-tough Three Rivers League, and Cho and the Lakers know it.
"I'm expecting West Linn to be tough. They have the most talented roster in the league (and are) very well coached, obviously," Cho said, noting the return of West Linn coach Eric Viuhkola (he led the Lions to four straight state titles from 2013-16). "Tigard looks strong early season. Oregon City will be tough as usual. Tualatin has John Miller and Sam Noland pacing them as seniors. And Canby will be very tough with a strong junior class."
To see the Lakeridge boys team preview, click here.
To see the West Linn boys team preview, click here.
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