Boys Basketball: Cleveland Beats Lake Oswego In First Round


Clarion photo Lucy Core

Jackson Owens, junior

After finishing the regular season with an 18-8 record, good for second place in the PIL and 13th in Oregon, Cleveland defeated Lake Oswego 66-52 on March 1.

Cleveland put together a great PIL campaign, going 13-3 including an away win over No. 3 Lincoln, the only PIL team ranked ahead of them. Although Cleveland was the higher seed, the matchup against Lake Oswego was somewhat deceiving since the Three Rivers League was arguably the best in Oregon this season. The Lakers finished the season 9-15, good for 5th in the Three Rivers League and 21st in the state. The gap in talent between 5th in the TRL and 2nd in the PIL didn’t look very wide going into the matchup, and certainly not as wide as Cleveland’s playoff opener against No. 30 Century in 2021-22.

Another reason Lake Oswego needed to be taken seriously is 6-7 sophomore Winters Grady, who finished second in Oregon in points per game this season with an average of 27.4. With Cleveland’s scoring being much more spread out across the roster, the Warriors would need to avoid Grady getting hot so their offense could keep up with Lake Oswego’s leader. That scoring depth was Cleveland’s biggest advantage over Lake Oswego. For the Lakers, junior Aengus Sutherland and senior Max Archambo consistently finished around 10 points to complement Grady’s scoring, but that offensive depth didn’t compare to Cleveland’s loaded senior class of Jackson Cooper, Jamel Pichon, SC Tresvant, and 3-point specialist Ben Lyons, along with junior Jackson Owens.

The Warriors started the game at a pace Lake Oswego couldn’t keep up with, scoring eight unanswered points in the first four minutes of the first quarter, and capping off the run with junior Josh Huss taking a charge against Grady, which prompted a loud reaction in the Cleveland gym and a Lakers timeout.

Lake Oswego found their first points with 3:52 left, when senior Braylon Ramirez banked in a lay up off an assist from Sutherland. Grady also got started two minutes later with a fadeaway to bring the score to 10-4, Cleveland. Owens then reached a quarter high six points by getting himself wide open for a mid-range shot off a baseline inbound from Pichon, and Archambo answered by splitting a trip to the free throw line provided by a Cooper foul.

With Cleveland up 12-5, Cooper made up for his foul on Archambo by making the best play of the quarter. With under a minute left, Grady caught a pass from senior guard LJ Dixon, and waited for a screen set by senior forward Owen Alles. Grady then drove down the right sideline looking for a corner three, but Cooper moved with him to cover for Owens who got caught on Alles’ screen. As Grady pulled up for a deep two, Cooper rose with him and blocked the shot. The rebound fell to Jamel Pichon who found Cooper going back toward the Lakers’ hoop, before Cooper moved the ball to SC Tresvant who cut toward the hoop from behind the arc and made a layup over Archambo. The quarter ended 14-5 Cleveland, with Owens holding Grady to two points and scoring six.

The second quarter started the same way the first ended, with Lake Oswego screening Owens to keep him from guarding Grady and Cooper rotating onto him and shutting him down. This time Grady drove toward the hoop and Cooper stayed with him forcing a missed layup off the front of the rim. Owens then continued another trend from the first quarter by making a gritty play to add to Cleveland’s lead–this time grabbing his own rebound and putting it back in one motion.

After Cooper finished a nice post spin move around Grady with 6:41 to play, bringing the score to 18-7, Lake Oswego spent much of the rest of the second quarter setting themselves up for a comeback but not following through. Sutherland found a lane to the basket but traveled, Grady played tough defense on Cooper causing two disorganized Cleveland possessions that ended in missed shots, and they drew one foul on Pichon and two on Cooper landing both in early foul trouble. In this two minute stretch of the second quarter, the Lakers found opportunities to chip away at Cleveland’s lead, but at 4:29 Ben Lyons stepped up to the three point line and not only preserved the lead by drilling the shot, but gave the Warriors offense a new spark.

Ultimately the Lakers only got two points out of that sequence, and SC Tresvant got Cleveland back in control by following up Lyons’ three by shaking Archambo with a tough crossover and hitting a deep two to put Cleveland up 23-9. After Lake Oswego stopped multiple Cleveland possessions, the Warriors answered back with two highlight reel plays.

On Lake Oswego’s next possession Grady got involved on offense again, driving past Owens and Lyons with ease off the inbound following Tresvant’s shot. What could’ve been another spark for Lake Oswego, with their star finding the score sheet, was followed by Archambo getting called out of bounds, SC Tresvant making a layup, and Alles missing a three. With a minute to go Cleveland led 25-12.

Inside the final minute, Braylon Ramirez hit a corner three for the Lakers, but Cleveland answered back with four quick points when Will Susak made one of two free throws followed by a Ben Lyons three pointer off an assist by Jackson Owens, who grabbed the missed free throw. Grady made a layup in the final seconds, but Lake Oswego went into halftime down 29-17.

After being held to six points in the first half, Grady opened the scoring in the second by hitting a deep three over Owens. Owens then responded by grabbing a loose ball under the basket from a contested rebound and laying it in to keep Cleveland up 31-20.

With 2:34 left in the third, through a series of tough finishes around the basket and made free throws, a Max Archambo putback after his initial shot was blocked brought the Cleveland lead back to single digits. After a Cleveland timeout up 36-27, Archambo stole the inbound and took it up the floor for a layup through heavy defense. With Cooper on the bench due to foul trouble, the Warriors lead was cut to seven.

Jackson Owens stepped up again for the Warriors, when on the next possession his defender overcommitted trying to fight through the screen he set for Ben Lyons, and Owens got wide open in the paint to turn Lyons’ easy pass into an assist.

The final minute of the quarter turned into a shootout, starting with Grady showing why he is one of the best scorers in Oregon, making a deep stepback two over tough defense from Owens. Pichon followed that up by showing great athleticism to cut wide around Archambo defending the perimeter and Grady in the paint for a layup. 40-31 Warriors with just under a minute left. LJ Dixon made his own athletic cut to the basket, getting Tresvant and Susak to bite on a pump fake low in the paint before an easy layup. Cleveland finished the quarter up 42-33 courtesy of an Owens putback under the basket.

Although they avoided any huge Lake Oswego run, Cleveland was outscored 16-13 in the third and Grady seemed to find some scoring touch late. Jackson Owens continued his great game on both ends, and Cooper would be back for more of the 4th to add both offense and defense for Cleveland.

In the first minute of the 4th quarter Cleveland took three fouls, allowing Lake Oswego to close the lead to five. The Warriors responded to their lowest lead of the night by going on a 10-0 run to make the score 52-37. This run was mostly pushed by Cleveland’s backcourt duo of Pichon and Tresvant, with the former finishing two layups and adding an assist, and the latter knocking down two free throws and also collecting an assist.

Aside from a brutal crossover by Grady that sent Owens to the floor, the rest of the game was smooth sailing for Cleveland who held a double digit lead until the end. The Warriors took home a 64-46 win to knock out Lake Oswego.

Jackson Owens had a massive performance for Cleveland, holding Grady to 14 points and tying Tresvant for the Warriors lead with 18. Jackson Cooper and Ben Lyons each added 11, and Sutherland and Archambo rounded out the score sheet with 14 and 11 respectively for the Lakers.

Cleveland will face heated rival Lincoln in the second round on Saturday, March 4 at 7 p.m. The teams split their regular season series, each winning on the other’s home court, and now the Warriors look to do it a second time at Lincoln. Cleveland eliminated Lincoln at home in the second round last season, but the teams almost exactly swapped rankings in 2022-23 with Lincoln winning the PIL championship and being ranked fourth, and Cleveland doing the same and being ranked third last year.