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The Lakers battle past Tigard, improve to 4-0 in Three Rivers League competition

PMG PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Lake Oswego senior Sam Abere challenges the Tigard defense during his team's 68-65 win in overtime on Tuesday, Jan. 28, at Lake Oswego High School.Records be damned — you just knew this one was going to be a war.

The Lake Oswego boys basketball team came into its Tuesday, Jan. 28, home game against Tigard as the reigning Three Rivers League champion, but carrying just a 7-8 overall record.

The Tigers — like Lake Oswego a Class 6A state tournament team from a year ago — entered the contest as losers of two of their first three TRL games.

But none of that mattered Tuesday.

The Lakers and Tigers battled tooth and nail for 36 minutes, with Lake Oswego finally edging away to win 68-65 in overtime at Lake Oswego High School.

"We fought every minute for that one so that one felt good," said Lake Oswego senior guard Casey Graver, who finished with 11 points (on 4 of 11 shooting from the field and a 3 of 6 day at the foul line), along with three rebounds, two assists and a steal. "But Tigard is right there every year. They never quit. … We just made one more play then them."

"It was a lot of fun," said Lake Oswego junior guard Grayden Smith, who came off the bench for nine points (on 3 of 4 shooting from the field — all on 3-pointers), along with three rebounds. "It gets us one step closer to where we want to be."

With the win — its second straight — Lake Oswego (ninth-ranked in the latest Class 6A coaches poll) improved to 4-0 in TRL play and 8-8 overall. Tigard, eighth in the coaches poll, fell to 1-3 in league play and 11-5 overall.

Lake Oswego 68, Tigard 65 (OT)

After seeing their five-point lead disappear in the final 1:12 of the fourth quarter, the Lakers knew they'd almost let the game slip between their fingers.

"It was crazy at the end," said Laker junior post Trace Salton, who led his team with 25 points (on 9 of 13 shooting from the field and a 7 of 8 day at the foul line), along with four rebounds, three steals, one assist and one block. "We are all saying 'We can't let this happen,' … but we had a good comeback."

The Lakers' win also negated a big-time performance by Tigard junior wing Drew Carter, who led all scorers with 36 points (on 13 of 25 shooting from the field and a 6 of 6 day at the foul line), along with six rebounds and one steal.

The two teams traded shots in the first quarter, with Carter hitting a pair of 3-pointers and scoring eight points, while junior teammate Brett Moss added four points for Tigard,. The Lakers answered with six points from Salton to forge a 12-12 tie.

Lake Oswego edged ahead 28-25 at halftime thanks to a pair of Smith 3-pointers, five points from Graver and three more from senior Grant Brauner, while the Tigers hung close on eight Carter points and a "three" by freshman guard Malik Brown.

Tigard closed within 32-31 when Moss made a steal and a breakaway dunk 1 minute, 49 seconds into the third quarter, but the Lakers appeared to take over there, scoring seven straight points to take the biggest lead of the game at 39-31 when Salton hit a hanging jumpshot from the right side of the key with 5:00 to go in the period.

The Lakers' good fortune would not last, however. Instead, the Tigers answered with a 13-2 run over the next three minutes to take a 44-41 lead when freshman guard Kalim Brown tipped in a Carter miss with 2 minutes left in the period.

Carter went for seven points in the third quarter and Kalim Brown six, while Salton scored six for LO and senior guard Sam Abere added a three-point play.

Trailing 44-43 entering the fourth quarter, the Lakers appeared to pull away again, this time using a 15-9 scoring run in the first 4:32 of the period to push ahead 58-53 on a pair of Salton free throws with 2:28 remaining in the period.

But Carter refused to let the Tigers lose. While the Lakers got foul shots from Salton and senior guard Jack Chlumak in the final 1:02 of the fourth quarter, Carter hit twice from the line, knocked down a short bank shot, then took a pass from Moss and buried a buzzer-beating "three" from the left corner that tied the game at 60-60 and forced overtime.

"Tigard is right there every year. They never quit," Graver said. "They got that last-second shot. They never quit, so all respect to them."

In overtime, the Lakers took over early with a Graver drive, a Salton hoop inside set up by Brauner, and finally, four straight foul shots by Chlumak in the final 28 seconds.

On their end, the Tigers got a Malik Brown free throw, a pair of Carter foul shots and an inside hoop by Moss. Then, trailing 68-65 with nine seconds left, Carter attempted — and missed — a 3-pointer from the right corner with Chlumak in his face.

"We always talk about the 'next play' mentality," Smith said. "We have to flush the last one to play this one and we stopped (Carter) that time. We got lucky."

"He's a heck of a player," Graver said of Carter. "All credit to him, but we pulled it out at the end.

Chlumak added 11 points for the Lakers (on 3 of 7 shooting from the field and a 5 of 6 day at the foul line), along with 12 rebounds, two assists and one block, and Brauner had seven points, four rebounds and one assist.

For Tigard, Moss had eight points (on 4 of 9 shooting from the field), along with four rebounds, one assist and one steal. Kalim Brown added six points, four assists, three rebounds and two steals, and Malik Brown had six points along with five rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block.

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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