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The Pacer senior guard is one of four Oregon girls nominated for the chance to play.

PMG PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Lakeridge seniior guard Reese Ericson was nominated on Wednesday, Jan. 12, for a spot in the 45th annual McDonald's All American Game.Reese Ericson, All-American.

It has a nice ring to it, right?

It does, and it's just the latest honor to come to Ericson, a guard on the Lakeridge High School girls basketball team.

On Wednesday, Jan. 12, Ericson — a 5-foot-6 senior guard — was one of four Oregon girls nominated for the chance to play in the 45th annual McDonald's All American Game. The annual event will return this March to showcase the nation's rising stars who will go head-to-head at Chicago's Wintrust Arena. The game — which will feature two teams of 12 players each culled from 380 nominees nationwide — will be held at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time March 29 and televised on ESPN2.

For her part, Ericson is just glad to be under consideration for a spot in the game.

"It's very exciting and rewarding to be recognized for all of the hours I have put in," Ericson said. "Also, to be nominated is such an honor, considering all the players that have built the McDonald's All American game (into) what it is today."

Lakeridge coach Jason Brown has plugged Ericson into the lineup as a starter for four years, but said his senior guard is still working and improving.

"Reese has grown so much over the last year with her court vision and awareness, as well as her overall understanding of the game," Brown said. "She's become a great leader and works as hard as she can each and every day to continue to improve, not only for herself, but also for her teammates."

"It's very exciting and rewarding to be recognized for all of the hours I have put in."

Reese Ericson

In a season where Ericson has been called on to provide even greater leadership and scoring, she has stepped up admirably for the Pacers, who are ranked ninth in both the latest Class 6A coaches poll and OSAA power rankings.

Through 10 games, Ericson — who also handles most of Lakeridge's ballhandling duties — is averaging 12 points, 7.4 assists, 6.5 rebounds and 3.2 steals. In great part thanks to her efforts, Ericson's Pacers are 7-3 overall and preparing for their Three Rivers League opener.

PMG PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Lakeridge senior Reese Ericson has stepped up for the Pacers this year, averaging 12 points, 7.4 assists, 6.5 rebounds and 3.2 steals per game in 2021-22.

"I would say I have started the season off strong," she said. "This team is very different compared to previous teams, and it has forced me to change my role and try to be the most effective player and teammate. I'll always say I want to be playing better, but that's just a part of wanting to get better and consistently working to become the best player I can be."

"Reese has had to take the team over for us this year, and (she's) led us to success," Brown said. "As our point guard, she shoulders the majority of the ballhandling and gets us into our (offense) in order to score on a consistent basis. She has also increased her own scoring, which continues to improve each game."

Players were nominated by a high school coach, athletic director, principal or member of the McDonald's All American Games Selection Committee, which is comprised of the nation's most knowledgeable analysts, prep scouts, media and prestigious basketball coaches.

Other Oregon girls players nominated to play the 2022 McDonald's All American Games are: Annabelle Brawley, Salem Academy; Bailey Pedersen, Salem Academy; and Abby Graham, St. Mary's Academy.

While the McDonald's game looms ahead at the end of March, Ericson is determined to keep her focus right where it's always been — on getting better and helping her Pacers win.

"I have all the confidence in the world in this team. We have a lot of young players and I've seen so much growth from them between now and the beginning of our season," she said. "We are definitely (going to) be a lot stronger and more experienced by the time we get to the playoffs."

Brown, meanwhile, is just happy he's been along for the ride with Ericson over the past four years.

"Reese is an amazing kid, always positive and encouraging to everyone around her," he said. "Her work towards improving her leadership skills has really shown itself this year for us, both on and off the court. We are very fortunate to have her in so many different ways."


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