Posted On: 01/27/18 3:03 AM

On Friday night at Lake Oswego, the Lakers hosted Tigard and never trailed, starting the game with a 10-0 run and dictating the pace with their effective and disciplined full court press, eventually winning 64-42. With the victory, Lake Oswego improved to 12-5 and 6-1 in the Three Rivers League. Tigard fell to 9-7 (5-2). The cloudy TRL picture is becoming a bit clearer after Friday as now only two teams are tied for first place: Lake Oswego and West Linn. Here’s what stood out:

(Pictured: Stevie Schlabach attempts to score against the entire Lake Oswego team. Photo by Hayes Gardner.)

Defensive focus

Tigard played shorthanded, without 6-foot-6 post Austin Dufort (flu), which amplified junior scorer Stevie Schlabach‘s role. Schlabach was held to an uncharacteristically low 12 points, but still added 8 rebounds, 4 blocks and 2 assists. Lake Oswego sophomore Sam Abere was tasked with guarding the elite scorer and held his own. “The focus today was clearly trying to slow down Stevie Schlabach and our sophomore guard Sam Abere did an amazing job wearing him down and sacrificing his game on the offensive end for our team’s sake,” Lake Oswego coach Marshall Cho said.

Freshmen sensations

An interesting side plot of Friday night’s contest was the youth on both sides. The team’s combined to start three seniors and a freshman played a significant role for each: Tigard’s Drew Carter and Lake Oswego’s Wayne McKinneyNeither piled up jawdropping numbers, but Carter has a rare ability to affect the game in a variety of ways. He hit a three-pointer, made an athletic block, took a charge on Lake Oswego post Shawn Elliott and made passes that led to baskets. McKinney, who LO junior Josh Angle calls a “special talent,” made his mark in the third quarter when he skied a left-handed lay-up over Schlabach and then pick-pocketed Carter for a clean steal.

Affecting the game in a variety of ways

Josh Angle, a 6-foot-2 guard who is being scouted at the next level largely for his shooting ability, finished a relatively tame 2 of 5 from deep, but made a bigger mark on the defensive end. He interfered with Tigard’s ball control by diving to deflect passes and generate steals and energy. “He just has a natural feel for the game,” Cho said. “He knows when to go into the passing lanes. He’s got a feel for when the ball handler’s kind of shaky and he knows to seize that moment. He’s just a winner, all-around.”

Scoring in bunches

The Lakers’ press was disciplined and effective in turning Tigard over; on several occasions, defense led to immediate offense and lots of it for the Lakers. At one point, Tigard cut the lead to six in the third quarter, but Lake Oswego went on a quick 8-0 run to quell that threat. “They pressure the ball a lot,” Tigard’s Stevie Schlabach said. “They’re always pressing. We can’t have 20 turnovers and expect to win.” Outside of fast break points, offensively, the Laker’s best weapon might be 6-foot-5 wing J.R. Schilling. The senior can score at the rim and also shoot jumpers off the dribble.

The depth is real

Lake Oswego goes deep. Ten different Lakers scored on Friday night and players like junior Brandon Roberts were effective in playing defense, rebounding and scoring. “We can go deep into the bench. It takes sacrifice and focus on the part of our guys to be able to stay engaged. It’s a special group of unselfish young men we have here, who know that they’re bought into something bigger than themselves,” coach Marshall Cho said. “It’s definitely a luxury to have.”

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