Pacers Advance to 4th Straight Final Four

By Jeremy McDonald

jeremymcdonald73@gmail.com

LAKE OSWEGO, Ore.– Between both Lakeridge and Oregon Episcopal School Boy’s Lacrosse, both have a combined 11 State Championships dating back to 1997.  11 of the last 19 entering Friday’s OHSLA Quarterfinal match-up at Lakeridge High School.

Both the Pacers (9-1) and OES (9-2) have been dominate to this point in their last ten, eleven games.  But it’s playoff time, it’s survive and advance.

You can sense the Elite Eight-jitters between these two powerhouse lacrosse squads from the initial face-off.

Behind the cheers of the home crowd, Lakeridge jumped out to a 3-1 lead with 7:09 remaining on the clock in the opening quarter.

The Aardvarks responded however, and by quarters en, it was 4-3 in favor of OES thanks to a Henry Morissette goal to give them the lead at the 2:03 mark of the frame.

“It’s really tough, they always got some kind of drops (Dennis) Sullivan is a great coach,” said goalie Brooks Dutton. “He’s done a lot of stuff in the State of Oregon with Lacrosse and he always has a chance to beat us on the offensive end and defensive end.

“They got two really good attackers, Trevor Johnson and Alex Slusher but our D-Poles been working hard all week trying to prepare for them.”

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Gus Hearn (26) and Alex Slusher battling for the ball in Friday’s Game (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

That lead lasted on moments into the second quarter however as Ben Lambson tied the game at four at the 11:11 mark.

Senior captain Holden Catlett would live up to his title with two of his three first half goals to give the Pacers a 6-4 halftime lead.

“We really excuted as a team tonight, we knew that Trevor jonhson and Alex Slusher were their two main guys, two incredible players, we shut them down.  Defensively I thought our poles played great.

“We just played as a family tonight.  That’s what we came out to do, just execute and I felt like we did that tonight. So I couldn’t be more proud of the boys.”

Slusher and Johnson were held to three combined goals between the two of them.

The second half proved scrappy as Lakeridge tried to hang on to their lead, and the small school in the Aardvarks tried to tie the game.

Personal fouls in the fourth quarter capped defined how scrappy this game got as offense’s were met by stingy defenses, but Oregon Episcopal School couldn’t get closer than two goals in the final half as the Pacers continue to their fourth straight semi-final appearance on June 1.

For Catlett, he believes when he’s team, especially his offense, is on, they are unstoppable.

“I believe we did that.  I think we proved to everybody that we can win this thing,” he said.  “It’s the semi-finals, this is it.  It’s do or die, it’s win or go home.  We have a bunch of seniors on our team, this is our last time on this field for all of us.

“As a senior, I’m coming off two  back-to-back losses in the State Championships so I’m not trying to have a third.  It’ll be pretty awesome to finish my high school career and finish it out with these boys on a win, so I want nothing more for my family and my boys because they mean everything to me.”

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Mac Owen (18) and Hearn (26) watching Evan Hiroshige (15) pass the ball as OES tried to rally late (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

 

 

The scoreboard read Lakeridge 10, Aardvarks 8 when the final whistle blew to cheers of Pacer fans as their team charged towards Dutton and their goal.

For Head Coach Curt Sheinin, with his team continuing to their fourth Final Four, it just speaks volumes of his program as they look for their next State Championship.

“It just means that we got kids who have stepped up,” he said on the feat.  “It’s just fantastic, the tradition we got here.  This will be back to the Final Four four-years in a row.  So now we just got to win it all like we did back in 2013.”

Follow Jeremy McDonald on Twitter at @J_McDonald81 or like jmcdonaldmedia on Facebook!

PHOTO GALLERY (PICTURES BY JEREMY MCDONALD)

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