PORTLAND -- Lake Oswego took advantage of a chance to show off a little in a high-visibility venue Monday night by dropping a 78-65 anvil on Grant in the evening finale of the MLK Holiday Showcase at Portland State’s Viking Pavilion.
And the No. 1 Lakers beat the No. 3 Generals at their own game: Speed. The athletic Generals get down the court as fast as anybody around; more often than not, the Lakers got there first on Monday.
“Before the game our coaches told us, yeah, they’re fast,” said LO senior Josh Angle, who antagonized Grant with 20 points and 12 rebounds. “Well, we like to play in transition, too. Our group meshed tonight.”
It took a while. The lead changed hands 11 times in the first 11 minutes of the game as the two teams probed each other for openings. The Generals led 20-17 after a quarter that decided nothing, then the Lakers erupted for nine straight points and a 35-27 lead.
Grant quickly closed that to a single point at the half, but never led again. They got three more ties, but the Lakers took command going into the last period.
Grant’s fast-handed pressure didn’t bother the Lakers at all. They zipped the ball from player to player and rarely dribbled into General traps, where other teams have often gone to die.
The main beneficiary of the precision was senior center Fred Harding, who got the ball low often with space around him after press breaks. and hit seven of 10 field goals for 15 points. Grant had no answer for him.
The Lakers broke the last tie with a six-point run that gave them a 51-46 lead at the end of three quarters, counterpunched the Generals to death in the last period.
Lake Oswego, now 12-3 going into Tuesday night’s Three Rivers League biggie against Tigard, hit seven of eight free throws — six by Angle — and three-pointers by Brandon Roberts and Sam Abere to blow past the tiring Generals early in the fourth quarter and the rout was on.
Aaron Deloney and Ty Rankin scored 19 each for the Generals, and Emanuel Steward added 10, but nobody else did much damage. That was by design.
“We wanted to focus on the defensive end tonight,” Angle said. “We were hounding their top guys and trying not to let their other players get going.”
They didn’t. Grant (10-5) hit just 22 of 62 shots for a pale 35.5 percent average from the floor, including just 7 of 30 attempts from beyond their three-point line.
For the Lakers’ part, they got help from Wayne McKinney’s 14 points and seven rebounds and a 13-point, six-rebound night from Grant Fuson, who hit all five of his field-goal attempts.
The Lakers hit 30 of 57 field goal attempts for 52.6 percent and won the rebounding battle 43-36.
Angle said the Lakers loved the event.
“This was a very unique opportunity,” he said, “to come to a great showcase on a big day and use the opportunity to make a statement.”
Any questions? Certainly not from Grant.