Timberwolves close out a 62-47 league victory by making 11-of-13 free throws in the fourth quarter

The Century boys basketball team picked a tough night to play HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Century senior Jamel Liggins splits a pair of Tualatin defenders during Tuesday's conference boys basketball game. Liggins scored a game-high 17 points but the Jaguars fell, 62-47.

On Tuesday, the Jaguars ran into a Timberwolves squad that shot the ball well, played tough defense and knocked down foul shots almost at will. Century kept pace for a while but ultimately fell 62-47 at home.

The loss dropped the Jags to 4-12 overall and 3-3 in the Pacific Conference. Tualatin improved to 8-8, 4-2.

Early on, the game showed the makings of being a barnburner — the first quarter ended with Tualatin leading 20-16 — and Century trailed just 26-24 on Jordan Sheffer’s layup with less than three minutes to go in the first half. But Tualatin closed the half on an 8-2 run, and then the Jaguars could not find the basket for much of the third period.

“I feel like we played hard. I don’t know if we necessarily played very well,” Century coach Scott Kellar said. “I love how we keep competing until the end of the game. We’ve got guys diving on the floor down 12, 13 points with 40 seconds left. I’m proud of that.

“The game is still about getting stops and making shots. We didn’t shoot the ball well at all, especially at times where we were just starting to get back in it.”

After Century fell behind by more than a slight margin, it seemed that whenever the Jaguars had a chance to chip away at Tualatin’s lead, they could not take advantage. More than once, Century got a stop on defense and then a good shot on offense but could not cash in.

“They were playing well,” said Jamel Liggins, who led the home side with 17 points. “We missed out on some opportunities we should have had.”

In the third, the Jaguars gave themselves the chance to cut into that halftime deficit by limiting the Timberwolves to just one basket in the first five minutes. But as Tualatin went cold, so did Century, going more than six minutes without a point. Liggins finally broke the drought on a free throw with 1:52 to go and the score 42-27.

At that point the game looked decided, but the Jaguars had one more push in them. They went on an 8-0 run — including six points from Liggins — to close the quarter, capped by a long jumper by a defender-draped Liggins just before the buzzer. That trimmed the deficit to 42-35.

Unfortunately for Century, though, it would get no closer, in part because Tualatin went 11-for-13 from the charity stripe as part of their 20 points in the final stanza. That rounded out an impressive night at the foul line for the visitors, who went 22-for-27 and twice put together streaks of eight consecutive free throws.

“It was disappointing to have an opportunity like that to try to get into top three at this point in the league season,” Kellar said. “I feel like we let an opportunity get away, but they beat us, so we’ll just regroup for Hillsboro Friday.”

Despite receiving a lot of attention from the Tualatin defense, Liggins’ 17-point outing tied him with Tualatin’s Luke Osborn for game-high honors. Jacob Bennett added 14 points for the Timberwolves. Deevon Castaneda and Cody Chimienti chipped in eight points each for Century and Tanner Bull scored six.

Century rounds out the first half of conference play today by hosting an opponent it would surely love to defeat in city rival Hilhi. The Spartans lost 77-58 to league leader Tigard on Tuesday. Both schools’ girls teams will kick off the doubleheader at 5:45 p.m. The boys game will follow at 7:15. Century begins the second half of the conference schedule next Tuesday with a 6:45 p.m. contest at Newberg.

“It’s always a natural rivalry,” Kellar noted. “On a Friday night and finals are over, hopefully we’ll get a good crowd in. We usually do. Hopefully we can try to get back on track Friday. It’s always a good game when these two teams get together.”

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