The Lakers battle back late before finally falling short against the Cats.
It was “just” a non-conference game.
But you wouldn’t have known it watching the Wilsonville boys basketball play at Lake Oswego on Saturday, Jan. 14.
Saturday’s contest at Lake Oswego was physical, intense and had all the hallmarks of a playoff game. The Wildcats led by double digits in the third quarter, then held off a spirited rally by the Lakers — who played without leading scorer Winters Grady (he missed the game after being assessed a technical foul in LO’s win over Nelson) — down the stretch to win 62-55.
“We were preparing without Winters — certain lineups, testing things, different guys — and down the stretch, there were crucial parts where we should have fixed it, but we started to figure it out,” said Lake Oswego senior guard Max Archambo, who led his team with 22 points on 8 of 16 shooting from the field and a 6 of 7 day at the free throw line, along with eight rebounds, two assists and one steal. “There’s definitely good things to pull from it.”
“Without Winters on the court, we definitely had to swing the ball,” said Laker senior point guard L.J. Dixon, who had eight points on 2 of 7 shooting from the field including two 3-pointers and a 2 of 2 day at the foul line, along with two steals, one rebound and one assist. “He’s an offensive threat that just makes it easier for everybody else in the court so we felt a little added disadvantage, but … it’s just one guy less. We just had to use all our strengths, use back doors, use screens really well.”
“We’re making progress, obviously,” added LO senior wing Owen Alles, who had seven points on 3 of 7 shooting from the field and a 1 of 2 day at the foul line, along with two rebounds, one steal and one block. “I think we did a lot more good things in that game than we did in the (Central Catholic) game, but there were a couple of lapses.”
The loss snapped Lake Oswego’s two-game winning streak and dropped their overall record to 5-8 overall. Wilsonville, the reigning Class 6A state champion and second-ranked team in 2023, won for the sixth straight time and improved to 12-2 overall. Next up, the Lakers host Jesuit in non-league play at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17.
Wilsonville was led by junior wing Kallen Gutridge’s 23 points on 7 of 17 shooting from the field including two 3-pointers and a 7 of 8 day at the foul line, along with four rebounds and three steals. Kyle Counts, a 6-foot-7 junior wing, had 20 points on 8 of 13 shooting from the field including one “three” and a 3 of 6 day at the line, along with six rebounds, one steal, one block and one assist. And senior point guard Maxim Wu added 13 points on 4 of 7 shooting from the field including three “threes” and a 2 of 2 day at the line, along with three assists and one rebound.
Laker Boys Basketball
Saturday, Jan. 14: Wilsonville 62, Lake Oswego 55
Top Performer: Lake Oswego senior guard Max Archambo — 22 points, eight rebounds, two assists and one steal
Next Up: Jesuit at Lake Oswego, 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17
The two teams traded shots throughout the first quarter, with Dixon hitting a “three” and scoring five points, while Wu made two 3-pointers and Gutridge and Counts added four points each for Wilsonville to help the Cats take a 15-9 edge at the end of the period.
Wilsonville kept the heat on at the start of the second quarter, too, stitching together a 13-5 stretch in the first three minutes of the period to take its biggest lead of the half at 28-14 when Wu hit a pull-up jumpshot from the left corner with 5:02 left in the half.
In addition to Wu’s four points in that span, Gutridge scored seven straight, including a steal and a breakaway dunk.
Lake Oswego stayed close thanks to Archambo’s nine points in the quarter and used a 13-4 run over three minutes to pull within 32-27, capping that span when Archambo took an inbounds pass from Dixon and scored on a reverse layin with 37 seconds left in the half.
But Gutridge banked home a pull-up “three” to close out the first half with a 37-27 lead, and despite the Lakers’ best efforts in the third quarter — they closed within five on an Archambo fast break basket — Wilsonville still led 47-36 when Counts made two foul shots with 4:37 to go in the period.
The Lakers were far from done, though. They used a 10-2 stretch over three minutes to cut the Cats’ lead to 49-46 when Archambo took a long pass from senior Brodae Sutherland and threw down a right-handed dunk with 1:10 left in the stanza. Aengus Sutherland scored five of those points, including a “three” from the left corner assisted by Archambo.
And even after Aengus Sutherland fouled out just 16 seconds into the fourth quarter, the Lakers stayed strong, staying within 58-55 when Brodae Sutherland rebounded his own miss and scored with 2:21 left on the clock.
But Lake Oswego wouldn’t score again, while the Wildcats got a basket by Counts and two foul shots from junior Nick Colyer to win.
“Going into the fourth quarter, we were really connected,” Archambo said. “But I think if we’re even more connected and clean up all this stuff at practice, I think we can be a nice-looking team down the stretch.”
“The bench contributions we got from guys like Brodae today — just high energy and flying around — that does wonders for all of us,” Alles said. “I think if we can clean things up, I think we are going to be a scary team coming down the stretch.”
“Every game you’re going to see that from us. We’re going to come in and try to scrap,” Dixon added. “We started off a little shaky, but it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.”
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