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Tualatin plays strong in 89-81 loss to state-power Clackamas

by: DAN BROOD - FINDING A SEAM -- Tualatin High School senior guard Joey Fishback (50) goes up between Clackamas' Andrew Gutwig (left) and Cade Wilkins in Friday's game.TUALATIN — It wasn’t a win.

And the Tualatin High School boys basketball team really wanted to win.

But the Timberwolves say they still had reason to smile.

That’s because they sure seemed to take a step in the right direction.

The Wolves, despite not getting the victory, say they were happy with their performance in an 89-81 loss to powerful Clackamas in an up-tempo, back-and-forth non-league game played Friday at Tualatin High School.

“That was an awesome game,” Tualatin junior Jacob Bennett said after the contest. “Both teams competed hard. We’re still learning, but we had a good week of practice and we feel good about where we’re going.”

“They’re pretty good,” Tualatin senior Brandon Shroyer said. “But we played hard. We’re making progress. We battled with them.”

With the victory, Clackamas improved to 9-2 at that point on the season. The young Timberwolf squad moved to 4-5 with the setback.by: DAN BROOD - STEVEN SURESHOT -- Tualatin junior Steven Shockloss puts up a shot in the Wolves' game with Clackamas.

“We’re getting better,” Bennett said. “We’re trying to get ready for league.”

Tualatin didn’t seem to be ready at the start of Friday’s game with Clackamas.

The Wolves made just two of seven shots from the field while having nine turnovers in the opening period, which ended with the Cavaliers holding a 22-7 lead.

But Tualatin turned things around — in a big way — in the second quarter.

Behind an effective full-court press and a productive up-tempo offensive attack, the Wolves battled their way back into the game, and then some.

Tualatin sophomore Luke Osborn got the big quarter started with back-to-back three-point plays, which cut the Clackamas lead to 22-13 with 7 minutes and 34 seconds remaining in the second quarter.

Later in the period, the Wolves went on a 9-0 run that included a pair of free throws by Osborn, a turnaround jumper by sophomore Danté Reid, a short-range banker by Shroyer and a three-pointer by Bennett, which trimmed the margin to 26-22 with 4:10 left in the half.

Tualatin would tie the game, at 28-28, following consecutive baskets by senior guard Joey Fishback and senior wing Cooper Brunner with 2:20 remaining in the period. The Wolves then took their first lead of the game, at 30-28, when Brunner sent 2 for 2 from the free throw line after coming up with a steal with 2:12 remaining in the half.

Tualatin, getting baskets from Osborn and senior Taylor Boos, and a three-pointer by Fishback, went on to claim a 38-35 halftime lead.

In the second quarter, the Wolves scored 31 points, going 11 for 17 from the field while their press helped force Clackamas into nine turnovers.

“We didn’t plan on doing it,” Bennett said of the full-court press.

“We got some turnovers and some quick buckets,” Shroyer said.

The teams traded the lead throughout the third quarter. Bennett sank three three-point baskets in the period to help the Wolves claim a 60-58 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Tualatin got a three-point play from Bennett and a layup by Reid to start the final stanza, giving the Wolves a 65-58 lead with 7:32 remaining in the game.

But Clackamas came storming back. The Cavaliers scored 11 unanswered points to take a 69-65 advantage with 5:45 left to play.

The Wolves came back to tie the game, at 71-71, when Danté Reid scored on a layup off a pass from junior Alexander Reid with 4:13 remaining. But Tualatin was never able to regain the lead.

Clackamas, getting five points from junior Markus Goldner, went on a 9-2 run to take an 80-73 lead with 1:51 left in the game.

The Cavaliers pushed the margin to 87-77 with 26.2 seconds remaining. But Tualatin, not letting up, got a pair of free throws from Luke Osborn and a layup by sophomore Cam Osborn down the stretch to make the final score 89-81.

“I thought we did pretty good,” Bennett said. “We tried to keep the pace up.”

“I think an up-tempo pace is good for us,” Shroyer said.

Osborn was Tualatin’s top scorer in the contest with 23 points, all coming in the final three quarters. He also had five rebounds.

Bennett added 15 points, sinking four three-pointers, while also having nine rebounds and a pair of steals. Fishback scored 14 points to go with a two steals and Danté Reid scored 10 points on a 5-for-6 shooting night from the field.

Tualatin, as a team, made 26 of 47 shots from the field in the contest, but struggled a bit from the free-throw line, making 24 of 41 foul shots.

Golder led all scorers with 31 points. Senior Keaton Bankofier added 16 points for the Cavaliers and senior Andrew Gutwig scored 13 points.

Tualatin continued its brutal non-league schedule on Tuesday, falling 63-33 to perennial state power Jesuit in a non-league game played at Tualatin High School. Luke Osborn led Tualatin with 13 points in that game and Fishback added 10 points.

The Wolves will be back in action Friday when they play at McMinnville in a Pacific Conference opener starting at 7:15 p.m. at McMinnville High School.

On Tuesday, Tualatin will be home to face Forest Grove in a conference contest starting at 6:45 p.m.

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