The 30th annual Nike Interstate Shootout girls basketball tournament started out with a bang for the host team in Lake Oswego High.
The Lakers dominated their first round opponent Saturday, Dec. 18, in McKay to the tune of a 44-19 final, earning themselves a second round matchup with Lincoln that was played Sunday, Dec. 19.
Riley Ha led the way for Lake Oswego with 19 points as the 5-foot-7 sophomore is coming on as one of the Lakers' top energy players.
"She's probably our most aggressive offensive player," Lakers coach Kaitlin Childs said of Ha. "She played really tough defensively, handled the ball well and got to the free throw line a bunch."
The win put Lake Oswego at 3-2 for the time being as the Lakers were in control from the get go.
McKay played a 1-2-2 zone the entire matchup, a trend that Childs has seen early on this season from opponents.
With the experience of playing against that type of defense, Childs thinks her team is figuring out how to maneuver through it, and the 44-19 final against McKay was solid proof.
"I feel like the last couple of games, teams have played a 1-2-2 and we've just followed really well off of it," Childs said. "Our players are starting to be more patient, show a little bit of maturity with decision making, working it around."
One standout of breaking that zone defense has been the Lakers' 6-foot senior center Lily Carlson, who had a solid performance against McKay as well.
While her talent and height lends itself to rebounding and some tough layups for Lake Oswego, what Childs has been impressed with is Carlson's passing ability.
"She's just super reliable and honestly an incredible passer, especially for a center," Childs said of Carlson. "She was really critical for us working the high post and the short corners, switching the ball, switching sides of the court."
Of course coaching in this tournament is a full circle moment for Childs as she played in the Nike Interstate Shootout back in her playing days.
The tournament was founded by former Lakers coach Gary Lavender and Childs has been happy to see the event turn into something for the whole Lake Oswego community to jump in and be a part of.
"We had a couple dads of players that used to play when I was in high school and reached out to me about volunteering for the tournament," Childs said. "It's just cool to see the whole community come together. And it's especially nostalgic for myself and our JV coach Lauren (Sangster) because we both played in the tournament when we were in high school."
Most important for the 2021-2022 version of the Lakers, the tournament provides a chance to see some quality competition before heading into league play.
Getting those reps outside of the Three Rivers League is vital to any potential postseason success, but for now, Childs and her Lakers team are working on getting that tournament play experience and seeing what it's like to play multiple days in a row.
"It's a great opportunity just to play a few good competition games in a row," Childs said. "Over winter break especially without the stress of school and all of that.
"It's nice to just focus on us and the games and camaraderie."
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