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The Lakers finish off their third straight TRL crown with a perfect 12-0 record

PMG PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Lake Oswego senior guard Sam Abere goes up for a shot during his team's 64-57 win over West Linn at West Linn High School on Friday, Feb. 28.The Friday, Feb. 28, contest between the Lake Oswego and West Linn boys basketball teams pretty much had it all.

Two top-10 teams.

A season finale with the potential to launch the winner into the Class 6A state playoffs with a ton of momentum.

A huge and vocal crowd, and a competitive contest that wasn't decided until the end of the fourth quarter.

In the end, it was the Lakers who held the upper hand, pulling away from the Lions late to win 64-57 at West Linn High School.

"It's fantastic, and just finishing off the league season 12-0, that's a real accomplishment," said Lake Oswego senior guard Casey Graver, who led all scorers with 22 points (on 7 of 17 shooting from the field with five 3-pointers and a 3 of 7 day at the foul line), along with four rebounds, one block and one assist. "We've been real successful the past two years and we're looking to carry it into playoffs."

"We talked about it earlier, seizing these opportunities, and tonight was another one and I thought we played great," said Lake Oswego senior guard Jack Chlumak, who added 13 points (on 4 of 8 shooting from the field with one "three" and a 4 of 4 day at the foul line), along with four assists, four rebounds and two steals. "We connected and everyone played a big part in the game so we're proud of ourselves."

With the win — their 10th in a row — the No. 7 Lakers finished off their third straight Three Rivers League championship at 12-0 (16-8 overall), while the No. 9 Lions lost for a second straight time and ended the TRL season in second place at 8-4 (15-9 overall).

"It's a rivalry game. They got us last time in overtime and we felt like we should have won that game," said West Linn senior guard Micah Garrett, who led his team with 15 points (on 6 of 12 shooting from the field and a 3 of 5 day at the foul line), along with four rebounds. "We were in the game for the first (three) quarters … and then we just kind of fell short."

"The second half, we were in the game the whole time, but we have to finish out games," added West Linn freshman guard Jackson Shelstad, who added 14 points (on 5 of 17 shooting from the field with two 3-pointers and a 2 of 4 day at the foul line), along with three rebounds, two assists and one steal. "It's all about how we finish. We've got to get tougher down the stretch."

Lake Oswego 64, West Linn 57

The Lakers started quickly on Friday night, grabbing a 17-9 lead after LO junior guard Grayden Smith hit back-to-back 3-pointers, the second of those from the right corner off a pass from senior Sam Abere with 1 minute, 30 seconds left in the first period.

But the Lions closed the period on a 6-0 run that cut their deficit to 17-15, getting a pair of foul shots from senior Joe Juhala, a fast break basket from Garrett assisted by senior Parker Durbin and a baseline jumpshot by Garrett from the left side with 19 seconds left in the period.

The second quarter was a back-and-forth battle, with neither team leading by more than three points. Garrett and sophomore Mason VanBeenan scored four points each for West Linn, while Graver knocked down two 3-pointers and scored seven points for LO, while Chlumak added a "three" of his own and scored five to keep the Lakers within 33-31 at the half.

Lake Oswego appeared to take control in the third quarter, outscoring West Linn 15-8 in the frame to grab a 46-41 lead. Graver hit two more "threes" and scored seven points in the period, while the Lions hit just 3 of 13 shots from the field and 2 of 4 free throws.

West Linn wasn't done, however. The Lions opened the fourth quarter on a 7-2 run that tied the game at 48-48 and featured a Garrett foul shot, a 3-pointer from the left corner by Shelstad, a Shelstad free throw and two more foul shots from senior Colton Young with 5:08 left in the game.

But the Lakers answered big-time in the game's final five minutes, outscoring the Lions 16-9 the rest of the way to win. Graver hit twice from the field and scored five points in that stretch, junior post Trace Salton added a basket and 6 of 8 foul shots, and Abere hit four straight free throws.

"We knew there was going to be a lot of emotion on their Senior Night," Graver said. "We knew they were going to be hyped up, we knew some things were going to go their way — it was just going to be that kind of a night. But we wanted to come in and weather that first storm and … we took it in the end."

"I think we kind of pride ourselves on just finishing strong … and that's what we showed tonight," Chlumak said. "And it's what we showed throughout the second half of league. We've had some close games, but we just stuck together in the end to win."

In West Linn's final five minutes, the Lions hit just 3 of 11 shots from the field and turned the ball over three times.

"We wanted to come back and give it our all and we tried," Garrett said. "Our shots weren't falling at the end and we had a few turnovers, but I think we'll be all right."

"We were getting good shots — they just weren't falling," Shelstad added. "But LO, I give props to them — they were shooting the ball really good. I think we've just got to get tougher and learn how to finish out games."

Salton added 10 points in the win, along with eight rebounds, four assists and one steal, while Abere added eight points, three rebounds and three assists.

For West Linn, Young added nine points, along with seven rebounds and two assists, while Durbin had three points, 13 rebounds, two assists and one steal.

Next up, both teams will host games in the first round of the Class 6A state playoffs on Wednesday, March 4, against opponents yet to be determined.

Contact Sports Editor Miles Vance at 503-330-0127 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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