Lakeridge girls basketball beats West Linn 46-39, edges closer to Three Rivers League title
While there's a lot of work left to be done, the Lakeridge girls basketball team has a chance to go where no Lakeridge team has gone for a very, very long time.
The Pacers, who last reached Oregon's big-school state tournament in 2005, took a giant step toward winning the Three Rivers League — the first step toward another tournament berth — on Friday, Feb. 11, when they beat West Linn 46-39 at Lakeridge High School.
"It means so much," said Lakeridge senior guard Reese Ericson, who finished with 17 points (on 7 of 13 shooting from the field and a 3 of 4 day at the foul line), along with six rebounds, four assists and four steals. "We've built this culture for the last five years since coach (Jason) Brown has been here and West Linn is an amazing team, but we are very happy we came out on top."
"It means so much," said junior wing Keelie O'Hollaren, who also scored 17 points (on 7 of 13 shots from the field, including two 3-pointers and a 1 of 2 day at the foul line), along with five rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block. "Before the last game we played them, Lakeridge hadn't won (against West Linn) in 15 years and it's crazy to be part of the team that gets the job done. It just means a lot."
With the win, the team's second straight and eighth in its last nine games, Lakeridge improved to 8-1 in TRL play and 15-4 overall. West Linn, meanwhile, saw its six-game winning streak snapped and fell to 7-2 in TRL play and 10-7 overall.
"In the beginning of the first half, we were not playing as a team, so when we went back to the locker room, we were like, 'How can we change this? What can we do differently,'" asked West Linn senior guard Isabella McVicker, who finished with four points (on 1 of 4 shooting from the field and a 2 of 4 day at the foul line), along with two steals. "When we talked in the locker room, we knew we had to pick up our energy and we had to trust each other."
"Obviously, winning league is not in our hands anymore, but we'll see what happens and do what we can do, and hopefully, win," said West Linn senior wing Campbell Sheffield, who finished with six points (on 3 of 5 shooting from the field), along with five rebounds and three assists. "But we can't overlook any opponent. We just need to play hard every game."
West Linn led 10-8 at the end of the first quarter, getting four points from senior Alana Molden, while Ericson kept the Pacers close with four of her own.
The Lions were still within 14-13 when Sheffield took a pass from senior Olivia McVicker and scored at the basket with 2 minutes, 30 seconds remaining in the half, but the Pacers took over then and there.
In the final 2:12 of the half, Lakeridge put together a 10-0 run to push ahead 24-13, getting a baseline jumpshot from Ericson, back-to-back O'Hollaren "threes" assisted by Ericson, and a jumpshot from sophomore Natalie Langer set up by O'Hollaren.
Ericson pushed her team's edge to 13 points — at 26-13 on the Pacers' first possession of the second half — and Lakeridge still led 28-16 when Langer took an Ericson pass and hit from the right corner with five minutes left in the third quarter.
The Lions weren't going to let Lakeridge run away with this one, though.
Over the next 4:25, West Linn stitched together a 14-5 run that cut the Pacer lead to 33-30, a stretch highlighted by freshman Allie Roden's two 3-pointers, Olivia McVicker's three-point play and another "three" from junior Avery Jordan.
The Lions were still down just three points at 42-39 when Sheffield took a Roden pass and scored inside with 1:21 left in the game.
But Olivia McVicker missed on a drive and — after a Sheffield rebound — Isabella McVicker missed a potential game-tying "three" on the next Lions' next possession, and from there, O'Hollaren converted a putback and Ericson added two late free throws to put the game on ice.
"I just think (the key) was our trust in each other and our teamwork," Ericson said. "This last week, we've been watching a lot of film and doing a lot of stuff outside of practice to get ready for this game and it all just came together right here."
The Lions, meanwhile, vowed to set their sights ahead and play hard down the stretch.
"To finish strong, we really need to switch our mentality," Isabella McVicker said. "We need to play four quarters, because right now, we're only playing two. We need to trust each other, play together and just know that we have each other's backs."
For Lakeridge, Langer added four points and one rebound, while junior Jadyn Harrell had two points, five rebounds, three blocks and two assists. For West Linn, Roden had eight points, five rebounds, four assists and one block, Molden had six points, four rebounds and a steal, and senior Audrey Kehoe added six points, eight rebounds, three steals and two blocks.
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