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The TRL champion Lakers race out to a 12-0 lead, then hold on to beat Pacers 16-7.

PMG PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Lake Oswego coach Bryan Hill (center) exults with his team in the pool at Osborn Aquatic Center in Corvallis after his team beat Lakeridge 16-7 in the Class 6A state championship game on Saturday, Nov. 13.Shock and awe.

It's a phrase that first came to public consciousness in the early-1990s Gulf War, but it exists to this day — just ask the Lake Oswego boys water polo team.

The Lakers proved that — in spades — when they beat crosstown rival Lakeridge 16-7 in the Class 6A state championship game at Osborn Aquatic Center in Corvallis on Saturday, Nov. 13.

"We wanted to come in and shut down them down in the first quarter," said Lake Oswego junior Carlo Cremona, who led all scorers with six goals in the championship game. "I think we did a great job of that. It was kind of like the shock factor value."

"(Since) freshman year, we were saying senior year is going to be our year and finally we'll deliver on what we've been promising ourselves and promising the people around us," said Laker senior David Morgan, who added three goals in the victory. "It's truly amazing."

With the win, the Lakers capped the greatest season in their school's history. In addition to beating Lakeridge — the 2019 state champion and a team that has now played in four straight state championship games — in the ultimate Battle for the Lake (the name of the annual crosstown rivalry games between Lake Oswego and Lakeridge), the Lakers won their first state championship, won the Three Rivers League title and ended their season with a perfect 35-0 mark.

"We've got all this talent," Cremona said. "(And) our coaching was excellent, just perfect. They knew how to push us. They knew when to let us have fun and take a rest. It's amazing."

While Lakeridge fell short in the title contest and ceded its 6A crown to the Lakers, the Pacers knew how well they'd played in 2021, including a 12-8 win over Barlow — a team that had beaten them three times earlier in 2021 — in the state semifinals.

"Even before the season started, we were a group of guys that knew each other really well and had grown up playing together," said Lakeridge senior Sean Davitt, who scored once in the title contest. "I think we really strengthened that connection this year and held each other accountable to work hard in practice and get things done."

"Lake Oswego is really good, but I think it's just the fact that we never gave up what is what kept us in it," said senior goalie Colby Larrance. "We never gave up. We never hung our heads down."



Lake Oswego 16, Lakeridge 6

"(Since) freshman year, we were saying senior year is going to be our year and finally we'll deliver on what we've been promising ourselves and promising the people around us. It's truly amazing."

— David Morgan, Lake Oswego senior

The Pacers ended their latest stellar season in second place in the state after previously finishing second in the Three Rivers League race.

That said, Lake Oswego came out as hot as could be at the start of its title-game meeting with Lakeridge. The Lakers poured across four unanswered goals in the first quarter — by junior Jackson Barney, Cremona and two from Morgan, the second of Morgan's assisted by Barney to make it 4-0 with 2 minutes, 51 seconds left in the first quarter.

It got worse for the Pacers before it got better, too. The Lakers tacked on another five unanswered goals in the second quarter to boost their lead to 9-0, three of those scores by Cremona and one each coming from senior Max Spurr and junior Hudson Schneider, with Schneider's goal extending the Laker lead to 9-0 with 2:19 left in the first half.

Lake Oswego had no intention of letting off the accelerator in the second half either, pushing its lead to 12-0 after getting three more goals in the third quarter, the first from senior Miles Campion and the final two by Cremona, the second coming with just 2:47 remaining in the period.

As deep as the hole was, however, the Pacers didn't quit. Instead, they got back-to-back scores from senior Collin Parker to end the third quarter — the first of those assisted by Davitt — to close within 12-2.

"We've always been a team of spirit," Parker said. "Coming from four years of top three (finishes in the state) and then taking the state title from Newberg, that didn't come from training alone. It didn't come from raw talent — it was a factor, but it came from our drive, our wanting to be good players and good people and to take away a win. And I think that's what kept us in the game, even when we are down by 10."

Lakeridge then scored four of the first five goals in the fourth quarter — two more by Parker — and edged within 13-6 before the Lakers closed out the game with scores from Campion (two) and Morgan.

"This is the ultimate thing we've worked for," Cremona added. "We spent all summer working out with each other, doing club, just coming together, just reinforcing our connection. So when we hopped in the pool in the fall, I think we just had a natural advantage."

"We know (the Pacers) — we grew up with them — but really, when you jump in the pool, all that matters is the team, the players you're playing with who you spent the last two months with in practice," Morgan said.

The Pacers, meanwhile, left proud of another stellar season and another top playoff finish.

"I'm really proud of all the boys, especially the juniors," Parker said. "They've grown a lot this year in skill and character and I hope they take that forward next year."


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