West Linn boys lacrosse falls 14-7 to Lake Oswego in championship
The West Linn boys lacrosse team was trying to reach the mountaintop again.
Lake Oswego stood squarely in the way.
In the end, Lake Oswego broke open a tight game in the second quarter and used its stifling second-half defense to power past the Lions 14-7 in the Oregon High School Lacrosse Association state championship game on Saturday, June 1, at Lake Oswego High School.
"They just came out and they wanted it more and they proved it on the scoreboard," said West Linn senior attack Ross Scott, who led his team with three goals, three assists and three ground balls. "I'm just proud of my guys for getting in this position and battling to the end."
"If I had to say anything … that we could have done differently, we could have taken better shots, (held) the ball on offense while at the same time being aggressive and just packing in our defense a little better," said Lion senior midfielder Anders Martenson. "But Lake Oswego (had) a really good day. Hats off to those guys. Those guys are really good players."
With the loss, second-seeded West Linn — the Three Rivers League runner-up — saw its six-game winning streak snapped and ended its year with a 17-4 overall record. Lake Oswego, meanwhile, finished its season with a TRL championship, 10 straight wins, a 16-4 overall record and the school's first-ever boys lacrosse state championship.
"It's historical. After all the work we've put in, it's a dream come true," said Lake Oswego junior attack Jonas Hunter, who led all scorers with five goals. "We just believed in ourselves."
"It's been a long time (coming), especially the seniors — all four years," said Laker senior midfielder Michael Shakerin, who scored twice and also posted a 5-3 edge in faceoffs in the second half. "We've been grinding for this. It feels like destiny."
"It was bigger and better (than I expected). It felt good," said LO senior goalie George O'Brien, who finished with 13 saves in the finale. "It's the system, it's the coaches, it's everything. It's the preparation, it's the offseason — it all goes into the final game. It feels special."
As disappointing as the final result was, the Lions reveled in the chance to compete together one more time on the state's biggest stage.
"I'm just so happy that we made it here in the first place," said Lion senior Lucas Hockman, who scored twice and had one ground ball. "It was just an honor to play in a game like this. It's an honor to play on a team like this and the whole experience is something I could never deserve or ask for."
While the final result marked a solid win by LO, Saturday's first quarter was a back-and-forth affair that began with four unanswered Lake Oswego scores, finished with three West Linn goals and set the tone for an extremely competitive opening half.
Hunter got things started with an overhand goal just 1 minute, 10 seconds into the game, and 3 1/2 minutes later, senior Dominick Sinclair made it 2-0 on a breakaway after an LO steal. Laker junior Charlie Ryan connected next on an angled shot from the right side with 6:22 to go in the quarter, and senior Dylan Baker made it 4-0 when he scored on a cut assisted by junior Marshall McGuire.
The Lions, however, responded impressively in the period's final 3:14, starting with a close-range goal by junior Zach Vannaman, a steal and score from senior Michael Stell, and a low, diving wrap-around shot from Scott that brought his team within 4-3 with 58 seconds left in the quarter.
West Linn stayed hot at the start of the second quarter, too, getting a second straight goal from Scott — he made a reverse spin down the left side and connected 25 seconds into the period — to tie the contest at 4-4. Then, after another Hunter score for the Lakers, Scott hit a diving, one-handed shot on the right side of the Lake Oswego goal that made it 5-5 with 9:24 to go in the half.
The rest of the half, though, was all Lake Oswego. Shakerin won four of the final five faceoffs of the half and set the table for the Lakers to score four times in the final 8:23 of the second quarter and take a 9-5 edge into the break.
Hunter side-armed a shot for the first of those goals, Baker took a Sinclair pass and hit 2:24 later, Sinclair connected on a cut assisted by Hunter, and Baker made it four straight on an angled shot from the left side assisted by McGuire for that 9-5 lead with 2:40 to go in the half.
While the offensive pace slowed in the second half, the Lakers kept the pressure on nonetheless, outscoring the Lions 3-1 in the third quarter and 2-1 in the fourth to pull away.
McGuire kicked things off in the third quarter when he scored off a Ryan DeRaeve pass 1:48 into the second half, and after Hockman hit from the right seam for West Linn, Hunter connected from the right side and Shakerin finished a wrap-around to extend the Laker lead to 12-6 with 3:13 remaining in the period.
Hunter boosted the LO lead to 13-6 on a low, right-handed shot 1:41 into the final stanza, and after West Linn's Hockman connected from 10 yards, Shakerin capped his team's win with 1:37 left to play.
"A little more than a year ago after the last semifinal game, I (said) we were going to be back to win it and we did," Baker said. "We put in so much work. We just made plays."
"After Lakeridge, we came out and worked for a couple days and we were ready," Hunter said. "It's one of the best days of my life, honestly."
The Lions, meanwhile, left proud of their season and wishing they could have done more on Saturday.
"It's pretty cliche', but it all starts with ground balls," Hockman said. "It seemed like they won several faceoffs in a row and that's just demoralizing for a team."
"There were a bunch of question marks (early in the year), but we came together and we were just an amazing family," Scott said. "A great team, and great things followed."
For LO, it was Hunter with five goals, one assist and two ground balls, Sinclair with three scores, and Baker and Shakerin with two goals each. For West Linn, Scott had three scores and Hockman two, while junior Spencer Edwards gave his team a 6-2 edge in faceoffs in the first quarter and won 12 in the contest.
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