There were challenges — and plenty of them — during the Lakeridge boys basketball team's 2019-20 season.
The Pacers, who entered the year with just two returning varsity players, fought through two more of those challenges in the season's final week, facing Oregon City (one of the hottest teams in the Three Rivers League) and Tualatin (the TRL's third-place finisher).
While Oregon City — winner of four straight games (including "Ws" against West Linn and Tigard) — rolled past Lakeridge 72-36 on Wednesday, Feb. 26, the Pacers were more competitive in their season-ending 86-62 loss at Tualatin on Friday, Feb. 28.
In the game vs. the Pioneers at Oregon City High School, the Pacers remained competitive through the first half, then saw Oregon City pull away with a 42-20 scoring edge in the final two quarters.
Lakeridge senior Carson Mike scored a team-high eight points in the loss, while senior teammates Aaron Buck, Nick Holum and Eric Struik added six each for the Pacers.
Holum, one of six seniors on Lakeridge roster, gave the Pacers a "C" grade for their performance against Oregon City.
"Not typical," Holum said. "We played pretty decently the whole game, and then in the fourth quarter, the score kind of slipped away from us."
The Pioneers led 12-4 after one quarter and 30-16 at the half, then boosted their edge to 51-26 after three periods and coasted home to win by 36.
Oregon City's Dalton Welch scored 11 of his game-high 16 points in the second half, leading the Pioneers to victory. T.J. Warren added 15 points and Alex Newkirk also scored in double figures with 11 to help the Pioneers win their third in a row.
"I think we did exactly what we planned to do," said Warren, one of the six Oregon City seniors playing in his final home game. "Every time you come into a game, you've got to think, 'Just battle.'
"It was our Senior Night, we wanted to go have some fun, we played hard and the scoreboard reflected that."
Along with its Friday loss at Tualatin, the No. 44 Pacers saw their year end on a 14-game losing streak, ending TRL play at 0-12 while their overall record finished at 5-18. No. 18 Oregon City finished TRL play in sixth place at 5-7 with its overall mark at 14-10. No. 24 Tualatin, meanwhile, ended league play at 7-5 while its overall record moved to 13-11.
Lakeridge senior Mason Nelson also played his final game for the Pacers against Tualatin.
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