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Tigers fall in season opener

Tigard starts strong, but loses to talented Southridge team

TIGARD — The Tigard High School boys basketball team was competing without some key players.

And the Tigard players from the school’s football team that reached the semifinal round of the state playoffs had been with the team for less than a week.

But the Tigers weren’t going to make excuses — their first game left them knowing that they have a lot to work on.

Tigard, taking some high hopes into the 2013-2014 campaign, fell 56-47 to Southridge in its season-opener Saturday during play at the Cody Hardin Invitational held at Tigard High School.

“We were really sloppy,” Tigard junior post Joel Johnson said after the game. “We need to execute better. But, a lot of that stuff we can clean up on our own.”by: DAN BROOD - STANDING TALL -- Tigard High School senior Nathanael Ditton (right) looks to shoot over Southridge senior Hudson VanAllen in Saturday's game at the Cody Hardin Invitational.

“It looked like a first game,” Tigard coach Shawn Alderman said. “But it’s still disappointing. We would have liked to have played better.”

Saturday’s contest was the first of the season for Tigard. Southridge improved to 2-1 on the season at that point with the victory.

The talented Skyhawks got off to a fast start in Friday’s game. Senior wing A.J. Monterossi scored four straight points to give Southridge a 4-0 lead 1 minute and 13 seconds into the contest.

Tigard roared back strong. The Tigers went on a 10-0 run, which included an alley-oop layup by Johnson off a pass from senior Daniel Webster, a jumper and a free throw by senior guard Bryan Berg, a three-point basket by senior Nathanael Ditton and a foul-line jumper by junior Nick Brown, giving Tigard a 10-4 lead with 2:55 remaining in the first quarter.

But Southridge ended the period with a 6-0 run, tying up the game at 10-10 going into the second quarter.

Action, and the lead, went back and forth in the second quarter.

A pair of free throws by Berg and a follow-up basket by Johnson gave Tigard a 14-12 lead with 6:30 left in the period.

Southridge came back to take an 18-15 lead on a three-pointer by senior guard Grant Giraldi with 5:28 remaining in the quarter.

Tigard senior Jett Even, sinking his second three-pointer of the period, tied the score up at 23-23 with 2:59 left before halftime.

The Skyhawks got a three-point play from senior Aly El-Mansy with 25.9 seconds left in the quarter to claim a 28-26 halftime advantage.

Tigard seemed to struggle on offense in the third quarter. The Tiger made just three of nine shots from the field in the period — with two of those hoops coming on drives to the basket by senior A.J. Hotchkins — while also turning the ball over seven times in the quarter.

Meanwhile, Southridge shot at a 7-for-11 clip from the field in the period, helping the Skyhawks stretch their lead to 42-32 going into the fourth quarter.

Southridge continued rolling early in the fourth quarter. Monterossi converted a three-point play to give the Skyhawks their biggest lead of the game, at 47-34, with 7:10 remaining in the contest.

The Tigers came fighting back. Berg scored on a drive off a pass from Johnson to make the score 47-36 with 6:48 remaining.

Johnson then scored six straight points to trim the margin to 47-42 with 4:38 remaining.

But Tigard couldn’t get any closer.

Monterossi scored on back-to-back layups, the second coming after a steal, to quickly up the Skyhawk lead to 51-42.

A three-pointer by Ditton trimmed the deficit to 51-45 with 2:44 left in the game. But Southridge got a layup by senior Alex Beekman and three free throws by Giraldi to push the margin to 56-45. A late jumper by Even made the final score 56-47.

“Turnovers killed us,” Alderman said. “And we had no consistency. We had two good moments, and then five bad ones. But we’ll continue working and get better.”

“We have a lot of potential,” Johnson said. “We have a lot of guys who can play. We want to win league and then make a run in the playoffs.”

Berg led a balanced Tigard scoring attack in Saturday’s game with 12 points. He also had five rebounds and a pair of steals.

Johnson scored 10 points to go with nine rebounds and two blocked shots. Ditton added 10 point and two steals. Even scored six points and Hotchkins had six.

Tigard, as a team, made 18 of 49 shots from the field.

Monterossi led all scorers with 19 points.

Tigard was scheduled to face South Albany in an invitational opener on Friday, but that game was postponed due to the wintery weather that forced the Albany school to close on Friday.

The teams were scheduled to make up the game on Monday, but that contest also was postponed.

The Tigers will be back in action Friday when they play at Oregon City in a non-league game starting at 7:15 p.m. On Tuesday, Tigard will host Roseburg in a non-league contest starting at 7:15 p.m.

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