It's the playoffs.
Things aren't supposed to be easy.
And indeed they weren't for the Lake Oswego boys basketball team in its 2020 Class 6A state playoff opener.
The seventh-ranked Lakers, the Three Rivers League champions and last year's third-place finisher at state, trailed No. 26 Cleveland early in their Wednesday, March 4, playoff opener at Lake Oswego High School, then battled to a 44-28 victory that was less than picturesque.
Lake Oswego started slowly and scored just six points in the first quarter against Cleveland, falling behind the Warriors 9-6 before jumpstarting its game and pulling away in the final three periods.
With the win — the team's 11th straight — the Lakers lifted their season record to 17-8 and sent them off to the second round of the playoffs. There, Lake Oswego will host No. 10 South Eugene (21-5 overall after winning the Southwest Conference) at 5 p.m. Saturday, March 7, with a berth in the eight-team Class 6A state tournament on the line. The state tournament is set for March 12-14 at the Chiles Center on the University of Portland campus.
Cleveland, meanwhile, ended its season with a 14-12 overall record after placing third in the Portland Interscholastic League.
In Wednesday's first quarter, Lake Oswego senior guard Jack Chlumak stepped up to score six of his game-high 16 points — but nobody else scored for LO while Cleveland got four points from junior Oskar Christiansen and a 3-pointer by junior Matt Yee to lead 9-6.
Suitably awakened, the Lakers got their game in gear in the second quarter, outscored the Warriors 15-7 and took a 21-16 edge into the half. Chlumak continued his strong play with six more points — he made all seven of his field goals from inside the key — while senior guard Casey Graver added three points.
Christiansen did his best to keep Cleveland close with another five points — including a 3-pointer — but it wasn't enough.
Then, in the second half, the Lakers clamped down defensively, held the Warriors to just 12 points and pulled away to win comfortably. Graver heated up in the second half with 10 of his 13 points, while Chlumak added four more and senior guard Sam Abere four of his six points.
Cleveland junior Eli Mesulam scored seven of his eight points in the second half, but no one else on his team had more than two points in the final 16 minutes.
For the game, Chlumak went 7 of 10 from the field and 2 of 4 from the foul line, along with four steals, two assists, two rebounds and one blocked shot. Graver was 5 of 13 from the field and 3 of 4 at the foul line, with three steals, two assists, one rebound and one block. Junior Trace Salton added five points, seven rebounds, two blocks, two steals and one assist.
Christiansen was the only Warrior in double figures with 11 points on 5 of 11 shooting with one 3-pointer, along with seven rebounds, one block and one steal.
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