The Lakeridge-Oregon City boys basketball game might not have appeared to be a marquee contest on the Friday, Jan. 31, schedule, but make no mistake about it — this one meant a lot.
The Pacers and Pioneers both entered the contest at 0-4 in league play, and with the Three Rivers League season nearing its mid-point, this game was absolutely a must win.
The Pioneers made sure they got that win, breaking open a seven-point game midway through the second quarter and outscoring the Pacers by 21 the rest of the way to win 66-38 at Lakeridge High School.
"We knew we had to come out determined because this is kind of their Super Bowl," said Oregon City senior guard Jake Gettel, who finished with 17 points in his team's victory. "They were going to come out fired up and we knew we had to come out and make a statement that this wasn't going to be an easy win. We did exactly what we were supposed to do."
"As a team, we said we just have to come out with lot of energy and we did that," said Oregon City senior guard Lucas Hanson, who led all scorers with 19 points. "We got on them early, got a good lead in the first quarter and just gradually kept it going. It was going good for us."
The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the No. 21 Pioneers, lifted their TRL record to 1-4 and their season mark to 10-7. No. 42 Lakeridge, meanwhile, lost for the seventh straight time and fell to 0-5 in TRL play and 5-10 overall.
"I think we had really good spurts sometimes, and then other times, I don't know what happened," said Lakeridge senior forward Nick Holum, who led his team with 10 points. "We'd just get super low and there was not a lot of energy."
"We played hard. We had that stretch when we got it down to seven points … (but then) it blew up," said Lakeridge senior guard Aaron Buck, who added nine points in the loss. "They got scared for a second and they were like, "This team came to play," and I thought we figured it out, but then we had a couple of turnovers and we got down and we couldn't come back."
The Pioneers opened the game at a dead sprint, outscoring the Pacers 20-4 in the first 7 minutes, 26 seconds of the first quarter, that stretch highlighted by Gettel's eight points (including two 3-pointers) and another six from Hanson.
While the Pacers started slowly — they went just 1 of 8 shooting from the field and committed six turnovers in that same span — they didn't let the Pioneers get away.
Instead, they saw Holum tip home a miss by senior Carson Mike, Mike make a steal and a breakaway layin, and senior forward Clark Sheehan just miss a tip-in at the end of the period to leave the Pios' lead at 20-8.
Lakeridge took the momentum it created at the end of the first quarter and kept it going in the second, opening with a 7-2 run in the first 3:18 of the period to edge back within 22-15. Holum scored inside off a lob from Mike, Buck hit a pull-up "three" from the right corner, and Mike took a pass from senior Mason Nelson and connected on the break to cut the Pioneers' lead to seven points.
Oregon City was having none of it, however, responding with a 21-4 burst over the latter half of the period, with Hanson going off for 11 points in the frame, while Gettel and junior guard Alex Newkirk added four each to forge a 43-19 edge at halftime.
Then, if Lakeridge had any hopes of a comeback in the second half, the Pioneers made sure that didn't happen, cranking out a 17-11 edge in the third quarter that extended their sizable lead to 60-30 and effectively ended the game. Oregon City senior guard Andre Best broke through for seven of his 11 points in the period and Gettel added another "three" to leave the Pacers behind.
"It's the second half for us now," Gettel said. "It's the second half of the season. We started out slow, so we just need to build from here. This was the perfect night to do it and we knew it."
"If we come out every game with the kind of energy we came out with tonight, we can be very dangerous," Hanson said.
For their part, the Pacers said they'd just keep working and try to break through on a different night.
"You've got to find that goal," Buck said. "If we are down 20, then let's get it to 10. And if we can get it to 10, we can get to zero. I think you've just got to chip away and once we start chipping away, we can't just give up."
Newkirk added 10 points for Oregon City, while Mike and Sheehan added five each for Lakeridge.
Next up, Oregon City hosts Tigard at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5, while Lakeridge hosts Tualatin at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
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