West Linn boys win key TRL matchup over Lake Oswego 86-84
This was no ordinary Tuesday in Three Rivers League basketball.
Tuesday featured a top-10 matchup between No. 7 Lake Oswego and No. 4 West Linn, and needless to say, it lived up to all expectations.
The Lions opened the game on a 13-0 tear, the Lakers answered with a 14-0 run of their own, and after that, it was game on the rest of the way until West Linn finally edged away to win 86-84 at West Linn High School.
"They're a really good team so I give credit to them," said West Linn sophomore guard Micah Garrett, who led all scorers with 27 points. "They're really good."
"For us, they are the other best team in the league so we take them out and right away, it's good for us," said West Linn senior post Keishon Dawkins, who finished with 23 points, 20 of them in the second half.
"We knew that they were going to be a really good team and we knew that it was going to be really close," added West Linn senior wing Jalen Thompson, who finished with 12 points. "It's awesome. We're excited."
With the win, the Lions won for the third straight time and improved to 3-0 in the Three Rivers League — tied with Tualatin — and 7-4 overall. Lake Oswego, meanwhile, lost for just the second time in its past six games and fell to 2-1 in TRL play and 8-4 overall.
"We definitely learned a little bit about ourselves from this game," said Lake Oswego senior wing J.R. Schilling, who finished with 16 points in the loss." It was a tough game, of course — West Linn is great team — but we're going to learn, we're going to improve from it."
"There were just stretches where we didn't take care of the ball," said Laker junior guard Josh Angle, who led his team with 26 points. "We made a couple of strings of turnovers, so I feel like when we get them back in our place, we just need to be more confident and take care of the ball better."
The Lions opened the game at a dead sprint, getting early baskets from Drayton Caoile and Bryson Crockett, then handing the game over to Garrett. Garrett hit 3-pointers on three straight possessions, scored nine points in 1 minute, 23 seconds, and scored 11 of his 27 in the quarter.
But Lake Oswego awoke 3:26 into the game, ripped off 14 straight points over just 2:14 to lead 14-13. The Lakers scored on six straight possessions to get back into the game, with Brandon Roberts scoring five points in that stretch and Schilling another four, their efforts sending the game into the second quarter tied at 15-15.
The second quarter provided even more excitement, the two trading the lead six times with Lake Oswego's biggest advantage at five points (the last time at 27-22 on an Angle 3-pointer with 5:24 left in the half) and West Linn's biggest edge at four (when Bryson Crockett spun into the lane to score and make it 38-34 with 2:42 to go in the half).
Lake Oswego got the last laugh of the half, though, with Angle taking a pass from Wayne McKinney III and burying another 3-pointer in the final second to give his team a 44-40 lead at the break.
The Lakers then carried that momentum into the third period, putting together a 14-10 run at the start of the half to boost their lead to 60-50 when Sam Abere took an Angle pass and scored on the fast break with 2:40 remaining in the quarter.
The Lakers hit 6 of 9 shots in that stretch, with Shawn Elliott scoring twice from the field and McKinney adding another four points.
The Lions, however, answered with a 13-2 run that took just 3:52 off the clock and ended with a Dawkins inside hoop — he had 11 points in the stanza — that put the Lions back in front at 63-62 with 6:41 remaining in the game. Dawkins scored five points in that stretch, Garrett added another five and Max Michelon three.
The Lakers and Lions traded the lead another five times in the first 1:51 of the fourth quarter before Garrett's 3-pointer put West Linn ahead to stay at 68-66 with 5:09 left to play. The Lions — with Dawkins scoring four more times inside — eventually pushed their lead to 79-71 on a Caoile basket with 1:11 remaining, but Lake Oswego wasn't done yet.
Angle scored nine points in just 47 seconds to bring his team within 84-82 with seven seconds left, but Garrett hit two free throws there to put the game on ice for West Linn.
"Lake Oswego, they haven't beaten us in six years and they wanted to come out and they wanted to beat us," Garrett said. "It's good for us to keep the streak going."
"It was energy and communication, definitely," Dawkins said. "It started on defense, getting stops, taking care of the ball and just making smart plays."
For their part, the Lakers left with their eyes set on the rematch with West Linn, set for Feb. 6 at Lake Oswego High School.
"It's just about staying focused, just saying 'Next play' and not giving away the victory," Schilling said. "Maybe we already thought we had it, maybe we didn't, but we've just got to stay in the moment."
"It was a one-possession game, so in three or four weeks, both teams will improve and it will be interesting to see what happens at our place," Angle added.
Caoile had eight for West Linn, while Elliott added 15, McKinney 11 and Roberts nine for Lake Oswego.