Gophers shoot the lights out from deep to beat Lake Oswego Tuesday.
You’ve got to be ready to go.
No matter the opponent, no matter the location and no matter the stakes.
The Lake Oswego boys basketball team found that out the hard way on Tuesday, Dec. 13, getting smacked around early by talented Gresham and eventually dropping a 95-72 decision to the Gophers at Gresham High School.
“It just starts with our edge and how we go into games,” said Lake Oswego sophomore wing Winters Grady, who led all scorers with 41 points on 13 of 25 shooting from the field with three 3-pointers and a 12 of 13 day at the free throw line, along with five rebounds and three steals. “If we go into the game thinking we’re not going to win, we’re probably not going to win the game. We just have to treat every opponent equally and go into the game and attack them and fight them with an edge.”
“I think (the key is) just coming out ready to go,” said Laker senior guard Max Archambo, who finished with 12 points of 6 of 15 shooting from the field, along with three steals, one rebound, one blocked shot and one assist. “I think we were slow off the jump. Our guys felt ready, but we weren’t ready.”
“I just think the biggest thing for us is we can’t quit on each other and we have to stay connected as a team,” said LO senior guard Henry Smith, who added two points on 2 of 6 shooting from the foul line, along with seven rebounds and three steals. “There are going to be hard games on the road — we play in the (Three Rivers League), the best division in the state — and there’s going to be hard games, so the biggest thing is we’ve just got to stay in it, communicate, stay together and we’re going to play well if we do that.”
With the loss, the Lakers — eighth-ranked in the most recent statewide Class 6A coaches poll — saw their one-game winning streak snapped and fell to 1-2 in non-league play. The Gophers, essentially 11th in the latest coaches poll, won for the third straight time and improved to 3-1 overall. Next up, Lake Oswego faces Baldwin High School at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, in the Iolani Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Gresham was led by senior guard Esyah Pippa-White’s 33 points on 13 of 22 shooting from the field, with six 3-pointers and a 1 of 4 day at the free throw line, along with eight assists, three rebounds and two steals.
Junior guard Renaldo “RJ” Alexander added 27 points on 9 of 13 shooting from the field with eight “threes” and a 1 of 2 day at the foul line, along with four rebounds, three steals and an assist. Senior guard Scott Riddle added 15 points on 6 of 10 shooting from the field with two “threes” and 1 of 2 foul shots, along with three assists, one steal and one rebound. And senior forward Ulises Gutuerrez-Guzman finished with 14 points on 6 of 9 shooting from the field, along with four rebounds and one block.
Regarding the Lakers’ slow start, Lake Oswego trailed just 8-6 when Grady buried a jumpshot from the top of the key 3 minutes, 43 seconds into the game. But Gresham took control in the final 4:07 of the period, putting together a 19-4 run that gave them a 27-10 edge at the end of the period.
During that stretch, the Gophers hit seven straight shots from the field, with Pippa-White and Alexander hitting two “threes” apiece, and Pippa-White scoring eight points in that run while Alexander added six.
Down 20 points early in the second period, the Lakers rallied at the start of the second, scoring nine straight to close within 30-19. Grady scored all nine of those points, hitting two foul shots, scoring in the key, drilling a 3-pointer from the right wing and hitting on the fast break with 5:47 left in the half.
Gresham made sure the Lakers got no closer, though, closing the half on an 18-11 run highlighted by Alexander’s nine points (including two “threes”), six from Gutuerrez-Guzman and another 3-pointer by Pippa-White that pushed the Gopher lead to 48-30 at the break.
In the third quarter, the Lakers got an early 3-pointer from sophomore Corbin Cichy and two “threes” from Grady to edge within 55-41 with 6:04 left in the frame, but again, Gresham was not about to let its lead slip away.
Instead, the Gophers answered with a 9-0 run — getting five points from Pippa-White and four from Riddle — to push ahead 64-41 with 3:40 remaining in the quarter.
Gresham still led 72-50 entering the fourth quarter, and while the Lakers closed within 81-65 on two Grady free throws with 5:13 to go, the Gophers ended all LO comeback hopes with a 10-1 run capped by Alexander’s “three” from the right corner that boosted the Gresham lead to 91-66 with 3:07 remaining.
“We’re going to learn from this game,” Grady said. “It’s definitely just a mindset. We’re connected — we’re super connected, we like each other a lot — we just have to find a way to translate that onto the court.”
“We have some big potential to be a really good team,” Smith said. “And I think the more we play together, the more games we get under our belt, if we play connected, we’re going to be a good team.”
“I think there’s moments to take from it that we can learn and grow from,” Archambo added. “I think it’s just connecting. Certain moments, we weren’t connected on the court, on the defensive side especially.”
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