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Playoff odyssey ends

LAKE OSWEGO - In a defensive battle, it was a brief offensive — blitz that proved to be the difference.

The Lakeridge boys basketball team went on a 10-0 run — in the fourth quarter to break open a close game en route to a 55-47 win — over Ashland on Monday in a Class 4A state subtournament game at Lakeridge — High School.

The victory propels the Pacers (12-13) into the first — round, where they will play at South Eugene on Wednesday. Ashland ends — the season 16-9 after making the playoffs for the first time since 1991.

"I thought early in the game we had an opportunity to — establish the kind of tempo that we wanted to play and we let it slip — away," Ashland head coach Rick Cornelius said. "I knew that if we got — caught up in a game where we had to go up and down with them it would — be difficult."

Ashland junior forward Josh Cornelius scored inside to — bring the Grizzlies within one point with 6:52 remaining, but Lakeridge — took over from there. Garrison Sullivan scored on a hook shot, Kenneth — Rice added another inside bucket, then junior guard Jason Oertell scorched — Ashland's defense with back-to-back 3-pointers, giving the Pacers a 43-32 — lead with 5:05 to go.

Cornelius' shooting exhibition - he scored 15 of his team-high — 19 points in the fourth quarter - brought Ashland back to within three — with 39 seconds left, but the Pacers hit 5 of 6 free throws down the stretch — to put it away.

"That was a pretty winnable game, we felt like, but they — just made big shots - they made plays and we didn't," said Ashland guard — Josh McDermott, one of six Grizzly seniors who played their final prep — game. "We had opportunities, obviously, all night and just could never — get over the hump."

The Grizzlies scrapped and clawed their way to a 32-27 — rebounding advantage against the taller Pacers, but shot themselves in — the foot with poor outside shooting. Ashland hit just 38 percent (19-for-50) — of its field goal attempts, including 29 percent (6-for-21) from 3-point — range.

Mental lapses also cost Ashland. The Grizzlies turned — the ball over 13 times to Lakeridge's five and the Pacers scored 14 points — off Ashland miscues.

Rice, a 6-foot-6 post, and Vince Thomas, a senior point — guard, gave Lakeridge a powerful inside-outside punch. Rice scored 19 — points on 7 of 15 shooting and also pulled down five boards, while Thomas — added 15 points, six assists and four rebounds.

Cornelius didn't have much help in the scoring department — from his Grizzly teammates. Only one other player, senior forward Corey — Costantino, scored in double figures. Costantino finished with 15 points, — while senior forward Jeff Skinner added a game-high 12 rebounds. McDermott — chipped in nine points, four rebounds and three assists in another solid — all-around effort.

The Grizzlies got off to a fast start en route to leads — of 6-2 and 10-5, but Lakeridge scored nine straight to grab a 14-10 lead. — Skinner hit a — to start the second quarter, giving Ashland its final — lead of the game at 15-14.

The Pacers held Ashland to five points in the second quarter — until McDermott banked in a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to bring the Grizzlies — within four, 24-20, at the break. The momentum didn't carry into the third — quarter, however, as Lakeridge had an answer for every Grizzly challenge.

When Ashland cut the lead to two at 26-24, the Pacers — scored four straight. Ashland cut the lead to one twice more, but both — times the Pacers responded - first with a Rice bucket, then with the decisive — fourth-quarter rally.

"I'm not going to say I was satisfied, but it was a great — year," Skinner said. "After 14 years we brought Ashland back to the playoffs. — We put the footstone in the ground and hopefully they can build on it."

Sports Editor can be reached at 482-3456 x — 3020 or jzavala@dailytidings.com.

Ashland (47)

Erickssen 0-0 0-0 0, Costantino 7-17 0-2 15, Kitchell — 0-0 0-0 0, Skinner 1-7 1-2 4, McDermott 4-8 0-0 9, Littleton 0-0 0-0 0, — Reinstedt 0-3 0-0 0, Cornelius 7-15 2-2 19. Totals 19-50 3-6 47.

Lake ridge (55)

Cook 3-7 0-0 9, Fahey 0-0 0-0 0, Costello 1-3 2-2 4, Thomas — 5-13 4-7 15, Sullivan 2-4 0-0 4, Olson 0-1 0-0 0, Rice 7-15 5-7 19, Brady — 2-4 0-0 4. Totals 20-47 11-16 47.

Ashland 12 8 10 17 - 47

Lakeridge 14 10 7 24 - 55

3-point goals - Ashland 6-21 (Cornelius 3-6), Lakeridge — 4-13 (Cook 3-6). Rebounds - Ashland 32 (Skinner 12), Lakeridge 27 (Brady — 6). Assists - Ashland 7 (McDermott 3), Lakeridge 15 (Thomas 6). Fouls — - Ashland 15, Lakeridge 7. Fouled Out - None. Technical Fouls - None.