A highly competitive contest took a severe turn in the third quarter as the Lake Oswego Lakers turned their formidable defensive intensity up a couple of notches.
Trailing 35-34 in the third to visiting Westview, the Lakers (20-5) put any upset thoughts to bed with a 24-0 run, trouncing the Wildcats 67-41 in the opening round of the OSAA 6A playoffs.
The Lakers earned another home game against Lincoln Saturday night. Time of the game had not been announced as of early Thursday morning.
The Lakers forced 23 Westview turnovers, with nine of them coming in the final quarter. In fact, the Wildcats (14-11) had one more turnover than shot attempt over the final eight minutes. The third quarter belonged to Westview senior Matthew White, who singlehandedly put the Wildcats in front by scoring 12 points in the period, making all five of his shots from the field plus a pair of free throws. A fadeaway jumper by White gave the Wildcats a 35-34 lead before he checked out of the game for a rest. That’s when everything changed.
A Wayne McKinney three-pointer put Lake Oswego back in front and sparked a 24-0 run as Lake Oswego took a 56-35 lead in the fourth quarter. Josh Angle, a First Team All-Three Rivers League guard who led the Lakers in scoring during the regular season, had just four points at halftime, but drained his first three of the game in the third quarter. That was just a prelude of what was to come in the final eight minutes as Angle drained four more trifectas and poured in 15 of his game-high 22 points. Senior center Shawn Elliott added 11 points and four steals, while providing suffocating defense inside on Westview’s 6-10 post Jack Poling. Poling had eight points in the first half, but the Wildcats fruitlessly fed Poling a procession of poor passes that led to turnovers. Poling had just one shot attempt in the second half and did not score again.
White led the ‘Cats with 14 points on 6-of-6 shooting, but did not get a shot in the final period. He led all rebounders with seven boards in his final high school game and added two blocked shots. Shasank Bonthala, a senior wing who scored over 13 points per game during the regular season, was held to just three shots and two points.
Four different Lakers had at least two steals as Lake Oswego recorded its 11th straight win and gave head coach Marshall Cho his first playoff victory after first-round defeats the last two seasons.
The Lincoln Cardinals ended Lake Oswego’s season in the first round of the playoffs last year and now stand between the Lakers and a trip to the Chiles Center following their 51-45 win over Oregon City Wednesday night.