The Lakeridge boys basketball team rallies to rout Century.
The 2022-23 season couldn’t have started much worse for the Lakeridge boys basketball season.
The Pacers, hosting Century in their season opener at Lakeridge High School on Friday, Dec. 2, couldn’t make a shot early and fell behind by 12 points at the end of the first quarter.
But that was just the end of the first quarter.
Lakeridge woke up after that, rallied big-time, outscored the Jaguars by 35 points in the night’s final three periods to win 69-46.
“Right after that first quarter, coach (David Duong) came in and talked to us and told us we’re fine,” said Lakeridge senior guard David Ghetie, who finished with 10 points on 3 of 9 shooting from the field, including two three-pointers and a 2 of 2 day at the foul line, along with three assists, two rebounds and two steals. “We just went out in the second quarter and did what’s right.”
“I think it was really our energy that gave us the boost,” said senior post David Laff, who came off the bench to score 10 points in the second half on 3 of 5 shooting from the floor and a 4 of 4 day at the line, along with two rebounds and one steal. “I come off the bench so I just want to be that spark, that energy, that defense guy. When … we’re all with each other and we’re all positive and energetic, we play a lot better together.”
“That was an amazing game,” added junior post Cole Holum, who had nine points on 4 of 8 shooting from the field, including two “threes,” as well as three rebounds and one assist. “I saw a bunch of energy all around. That was just a huge step up from last season. I’m really happy with how far we’ve come from last season.”
With the win, the Pacers improved to 1-0 in non-league play for 2022-23, while the Jaguars lost for the second straight time and fell to 0-2 overall. Next up, Lakeridge hosts Bend at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6.
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While the Pacers ruled in the night’s final three quarters, the Jaguars clearly held the upper hand in the first period. While Lakeridge hit just 2 of 17 shots in the first eight minutes, Century saw junior guard Jordan Johnson pour in seven points and Islam Muzafforov add five to help their team grab a 17-5 lead at the end of the first quarter.
As painful as that first period was for the Pacers, they didn’t let it affect the second quarter. No indeed.
Instead, Lakeridge began to defend — the Pacers held Century to just 2 of 9 shooting from the field and forced seven Jaguar turnovers in the period — and its defense fueled the offense on the other end of the court.
The Pacers knocked down 8 of 16 shots from the field and seven straight free throws in the quarter, with junior Patrick Napierala scoring six points, Ghetie adding five (including a 3-pointer) and sophomore guard Valentin Faucher another four. Faucher’s putback gave Lakeridge the lead for good at 23-22 with 2 minutes, 47 seconds left in the half, while Ghetie’s pull-up from the right wing in the final second of the half boosted the Pacer lead to 31-23.
The Jaguars closed within six — at 31-25 when senior Kaleb McKinley scored on a drive just 14 seconds into the second half — at the start of the third quarter, but the Pacers just kept scoring, just kept defending and just kept pulling away.
From there, the Pacers outscored the Jaguars 19-5 the rest of the way in the period to take a 50-30 lead entering the fourth quarter, getting four points from Laff, a “three” from junior guard Kade Gjesdal and baskets from six other players. Napierala capped the quarter when he made a steal and scored on a breakaway for that 20-point advantage.
Lakeridge then used a 19-16 edge in the fourth quarter to keep the Jags at bay, with Laff notching six points, while senior guards Jace Swygard and Baylor Corbin added four each in the final period. Laff’s two free throws with 55 seconds left gave Lakeridge its biggest lead of the game at 67-41.
“We read the scouting report before … and we knew what we were doing,” Laff said. “We came out and executed well.”
“I’m really happy that we stepped it up after the first quarter,” Holum said. “We came together after that huddle and said we need to step it up right now and that’s exactly what we did.”
“The second quarter and throughout the rest of the game, we did a great job of attacking and kicking out, and I don’t think we did that in the first quarter,” Ghetie added. “After that, we did a good job of that and getting our 3-pointers.”
Faucher, Swygard and Napierala added eight points each in the win, with Swygard grabbing nine rebounds, Napierala adding three rebounds and three assists, and Faucher tacking on three rebounds and two assists.
Johnson led Century with 12 points (on 5 of 10 shooting with two “threes”), three rebounds and two assists. McKinley added 12 points (on 5 of 9 shooting with one 3-pointer), two assists, one rebound and one block.
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