The Pacers beat the Apollos 60-38, improve to 4-1 overall for 2022-23.
Let’s be honest — the Lakeridge girls basketball team is a work in progress.
The Pacers — the reigning Three Rivers League champs and a Class 6A state tournament participant in 2022 — graduated four seniors last spring, three of them all-leaguers, including TRL Player of the Year and first-team all-state pick Reese Ericson.
That said, the 2022-23 version of Lakeridge has been working hard and is absolutely making progress.
The Pacers proved that on Friday, Dec. 17, when they routed Sunset 60-38 in the first round of the Lakeridge Tournament at Lakeridge High School.
“We got the job done at the end of the day,” said senior wing/guard Keelie O’Hollaren, who led all scorers with 16 points on 6 of 16 shooting from the field with four 3-pointers, along with seven rebounds, four assists and two steals. “We have a lot of things to work on, but this being a tournament, we have two days to work on it. We’re really focused.”
“I’m just trying to put myself in and figure out how I can help this team out and how can they help me in situations,” said junior post/wing Zoey Davis — a transfer from Wilsonville — who finished with 11 points on 4 of 12 shooting from the field and a 3 of 7 day at the foul line, along with six rebounds, four blocks and one steal. “I think we’re all building chemistry with the team, and picking that up is the biggest thing.”
“We slowed down a little bit at the beginning of the second half, but we picked it up after that,” said junior point guard Karmen Perry, who added three points on 1 of 3 shooting from the field with one 3-pointer, along with two steals and one assist. “We’re still working on it.”
With the win, the Pacers — 10th in the latest statewide Class 6A girls basketball coaches poll — snapped their one-game losing streak and improved to 4-1 overall. Unranked Sunset, meanwhile, saw its two-game winning streak snapped and fell to 2-2 overall. Next up, the Pacers will face Thurston — a 38-29 winner over Glencoe in its tourney opener — at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, at Lakeridge High School.
The Apollos were led junior wing Riley Morris-Wexford’s eight points on 4 of 8 shooting from the field, along with seven rebounds, three steals, two blocks and one assist. Junior wing/guard Mia Phillipi added seven points on 2 of 12 shooting from the field and a 3 of 6 day at the foul line, along with four rebounds, one steal and one assist. And junior guard Hannah Leffler had six points on 2 of 12 shooting from the field and a 2 of 2 day at the line, along with one rebound, one assist and one steal.
While it took the Pacers a little while to get started on Friday, when they did get going, they really took off. After Sunset tied the game at 7-7 on Leffler’s drive with 4 minutes, 26 seconds remaining in the first quarter, Lakeridge caught fire and closed the period on a 12-2 run over the stanza’s final 4:13.
The Pacers got it done from long range, getting 3-pointers from Perry, O’Hollaren and freshman guard Kara Roberts to grab a 19-9 lead at the end of the opening quarter.
Lakeridge was even better in the second quarter, forcing seven Sunset turnovers and holding the Apollos to 1 of 12 shooting from the field. On the offensive end of the court, O’Hollaren absolutely caught fire, hitting four straight shots (including two “threes”) and scoring 10 points in a span of just 3:09, while junior wing Natalie Langer added five points to help the Pacers grab a 37-14 lead at halftime.
To their credit, the Apollos continued to play hard in the second half, rallying from a 24-point third-quarter deficit — at 40-16 when Langer scored on a drive — to close within 42-27 when junior post Ava Centis rebounded a miss by senior wing/guard Kayla Nelson and scored with 1:08 to go in the third.
Lakeridge extended its lead to 19 points at the start of the fourth, but the Apollos came back with a 7-0 run highlighted by Nelson’s 3-pointer and junior wing/guard Taylor Lindauer’s three-point play to bring the Apollos within 46-34 with 5:55 to play.
The Pacers made sure Sunset got no closer, however, ending the game on a 14-4 run that began with back-to-back 3-pointers by Roberts and additional “threes” from senior guard Raime Reid and O’Hollaren to close out their win.
“The team talked about moving the ball and playing together more and I think we are really going to put that into action,” O’Hollaren said. “We just want to get better every day. That’s what we want to do.”
“We’re working together as a team and building up over the season,” Davis added. “And as we see progress, it’s going to benefit us in the future. The process is just building that chemistry as a team.”
See the complete slideshow from this game by clicking here.
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