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The Pacers close within six points in the final two minutes before falling short.

PMG PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Lake Oswego freshman wing Winters Grady goes up for a shot during his team's 71-61 win over Lakeridge at Lake Oswego High School on Friday, Jan. 14.In the twice annual Battle of the Lake, the Lake Oswego boys basketball team has been on top for a long, long time.

Indeed, as of the latest iteration of the crosstown rivalry — held Friday, Jan. 14, at Lake Oswego High School — it had been 1,834 days since the Pacers' last win in the series.

The Lakers made sure that streak stayed intact on Friday, but they had to work to keep it that way, seeing the Pacers close within six points in the final two minutes before Lake Oswego pulled away to win 71-61.

"We showed glimpses of (defensive dominance), and when we didn't, it was really apparent and they got some easy ones," said Lake Oswego senior guard Carson Reno, who led all scorers with 16 points (on 5 of 6 shooting from the field, including three 3-pointers and a 3 of 4 day at the foul line), along with three assists and three steals. "It's about urgency. We are in the latter half of our season and it's time to step up, especially on the defensive end."

"We pride ourselves on defense as a program, and I think in the first half, we had glimpses of it," said senior guard Luke Brauner, who added eight points (on 2 of 7 shooting from the field and a 4 of 6 day at the foul line), along with eight rebounds, two assists and two steals. "But we've got to work on it in practice and do it throughout the entire game and that's one of the things we talked about (after the game)."

With the victory, the Lakers won for the third time in four games and improved to 1-1 in Three Rivers League play and 5-9 overall. The Pacers, meanwhile, lost for the fifth time in their past six games and fell to 0-1 in TRL play and 4-8 overall.

"We're rivals so we know that they're going to be ready to go and we need to be ready to go, too," said Lakeridge junior wing Jace Swygard, who led his team with 15 points (on 5 of 11 shooting from the field, including one 3-pointer and a 4 of 4 day at the foul line), along with eight rebounds, three steals and two assists. "I think mostly we just need to take care of the ball better — no lazy turnovers — and just communicate better on defense and keep talking and keep going."

While disappointed with the loss, the Pacers knew they'd been better and closer to the Lakers than in a long time.

"I feel like there's a totally different mindset in our practices than in past years," added sophomore guard Ethan Eckard, who added 14 points (on 4 of 10 shooting from the field, including two 3-pointers and a 4 of 5 day at the foul line), along with one rebound and one assist. "We've been preparing for these games and getting ready."

The two teams traded punches throughout the first quarter, with Lakeridge getting five straight free throws from senior Brendan Braman and a "three" by Swygard, while the Lakers answered with five points (including a 3-pointer) from senior guard Marcus Lee, and four each by freshman wing Winters Grady and senior post Tino Mahaffey.

But the Lakers got a putback and an inside basket by Mahaffey in the final 50 seconds — the second of those assisted by Reno — to lead 16-12 at the end of the period.

Lake Oswego extended its lead to 24-14 when Reno hit one foul shot with 5 minutes, 23 seconds left in the half, only to see Lakeridge cut the deficit to 24-21 on a Swygard putback just 1:31 later.

But the Lakers turned up the defensive pressure and stitched together a dominant 13-2 run over the final 3:39 of the half, getting another Reno "three" and four points each from Brauner and junior wing Max Archambo, with Archambo's rebound basket pushing his team's lead to 37-23 with 40 seconds left in the half.

The Lakers — getting seven third-quarter points from Grady — saw their lead crest at 44-29 when senior wing Christian Rowell rebounded his own miss and scored with 3:36 left in the period.

The Pacers came back with four third-quarter points each by Eckard and junior guard Colby Ackerman to close within nine points, then narrowed the Laker lead to 63-57 with 1:52 left in the contest.

Eckard led the way in that stretch, scoring seven points in just 1:29, hitting two foul shots, scoring inside off a Braman assist, then burying a "three" (also assisted by Braman) from the top of the key.

But there, with their backs to the wall and leading by just six points after two Swygard foul shots, the Lakers put the game away. Reno scored on the fast break assisted by Grady and Lake Oswego hit 6 of 10 free throws in the final 1:31, with Brauner making two straight and sophomore Zane Fisher 3 of 4.

"As a program, we always talk about … playing with composure," Reno said. "Guys came in, came in ready, knocked down some big free throws and sealed the game."

"I think we just played better as a team because I think the chemistry has been getting a lot better over the past couple of games," Eckard added.

Grady added 13 points for Lake Oswego (on 6 of 10 shooting from the field and a 1 of 1 day at the line), along with six rebounds, two assists and one steal, while senior wing Sorena Torabi added eight points. For Lakeridge, junior guard Jack Ulwelling added 11 points (on 4 of 8 shooting from the field, including one "three" and a 2 of 2 day at the line), along with two assists and one rebound.

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