PORTLAND — There are many ways to win a basketball tournament quarterfinal. Getting an 11-point head start is the one Lake Region used to beat Mountain Valley 60-37 in the Class B South quarterfinals at the Portland Expo on Friday.

Evan Willey led all scorers with 26 points and also grabbed nine rebounds and made three steals to send the No. 5 Lakers (9-10) to next Tuesday’s regional final.

Cooper Davis led fourth-seeded Mountain Valley (9-10) with 14 points and seven rebounds.

“It was real important (to get off to a good start),” Willey said. “We had to get up, honestly, because we’re not good when we’re down. We just made sure that we came out firing.”

The Lakers held the Falcons scoreless for the first 5:16 of the game, rushing out to an 11-0 lead thanks in part to a three-point play by Derek Langadas and a 3-pointer by Willey.

Davis finally got the Falcons on the board with a hoop inside with 2:44 left in the quarter to make it 11-2, but the Lakers added to their lead thanks to a putback by Grass and a layup by Noah Duprey to make it 18-6 at the end of the period.

Doing much of its damage from the free throw line (12-for-18 in the first half), Lake Region led by as many as 16 points in the second quarter before Kalen Chase provided a much-needed spark with back-to-back 3-pointers. A putback by Zach New and a drive and layup by Airick Richard brought the Falcons within 29-20 with one minute left in the half before the Lakers widened the margin back to double digits, 32-21.

“We did what we wanted to do for three quarters of the game. We just couldn’t find that big bucket when we needed,” Mountain Valley coach Scot New said.

The Falcons switched up defenses at halftime to a 2-3 zone and made the stops they needed to make a run in the third quarter, forcing as many turnovers (nine) in the period as they did in the first half. But they made just two of 11 shot attempts and didn’t get any other scoring besides Davis’ six points in the quarter.

Despite their mistakes at the offensive end, the Lakers’ lead never went below double digits.

“We talked about getting three stops at a time,” New said. “We were getting the stops we needed. We just couldn’t score. Being here is a great opportunity. Now it’s just figuring out a way to win.”

“We’ve been struggling with the third quarter all season,” Willey said. “But I knew if we made a play, we’d get all fired up and come back (for the fourth).”

Willey provided the emotional swing the Lakers were looking for when he beat the buzzer with a 3-pointer off of an Isaac Holland steal, giving Lake Region a 42-27 lead at the end of the third.

“(Willey) made big shots for us tonight,” Lake Region coach Ryan Martin said. “He got big rebounds when we needed it and no play was bigger than that three at the end of the third quarter. Mountain Valley was making it a game, and going up by 15 at the end of the third quarter was huge.”

Three-pointers by Noah Duprey and Willey lifted the lead to 21 in the fourth quarter.

“We knew that they had a lot of guys that like to shoot the 3, so we worked hard on guarding the three-point line this week,” Martin said. “We also knew that their big guy (Davis) is a tough matchup, too. But I think we have the size and the length to guard him.

“I think the guys played with a lot of energy on defense, and that’s what we needed to get the win today.”

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