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A heavy defensive press and strong scoring from Tigard's Campbell Gray proved too much for Cougars

HERALD PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Tigard senior Campbell Gray was on fire, scoring 29 points in the second meeting against Canby.Tigard's girls' basketball team swept the Three Rivers League (TRL) the first time through, and looks to be in fine form as it heads into the back half of league. Headed into hostile territory against the Canby Cougars, Tigard was able to remain unbeaten in TRL play with an 8-0 record, getting the win 50-39.

"We were confident coming in," Canby head coach Chuck Knight said. "I think we felt like we could play with them at their place. We built a big lead in the first quarter, and were in it all the way up until the last seconds of the third quarter of the game. Tonight, we were still down two (at the same time period), so I felt like we could compete. They're such an experienced team that you have to play a solid 32 minutes."

"They were playing great defense, and we weren't getting easy looks," Tigard head coach Steve Naylor said. "We finally made a couple shots and made a little run there and got into halftime in the lead."

Canby did not make it easy on the top team in the Three Rivers League though.HERALD PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Junior Ally Odell came alive in third quarter, scoring 8 points against a stiff Tigard defense.

The Cougars started the game with a strong offensive effort due in large part from the efforts of Nicole Mickelson. The 6 foot Canby junior scored the first three field goals for the home team, and tacked on a pair of baskets from the free throw line. Freshman Joey Baguio made her presence felt as well, picking up a steal, a basket, and going 1-of-2 from the from the charity stripe.

"On the court, we had a really good positive mindset," Mickelson said. "We were ready to go, we were ready to compete with the No. 1 team in the state, and everyone wanted to get that win. We came in off three game win streak and were really positive and sure we could do this. It was a really positive mindset."

Tigard managed eight points in the quarter, with seven of those points courtesy of senior Campbell Gray. At the end of the first quarter, Canby led the away team 11-8.

In the second quarter Canby stretched the lead to nine points with a pair of "3's" from Baguio and senior Amanda Davis. From there though, Tigard put the pedal to the floor.

Campbell Gray scored 7 straight points, including converting on an and-one play to shorten the deficit to just three. Minutes later Canby grabbed three points to keep the lead at 20-18, but Tigard continued to force the issue. Particularly important, the Tigers defensive press forced a numbers of turnovers and easy baskets in the paint.

Late in the first half, Tigard went on a 10-0 run that included a pair of baskets from Gray inside the paint, and 3-pointers from junior Delaney Leavitt and senior Paige LaFountain.HERALD PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Gray (no. 3) and Brown (no. 2) ran the court for Tigard, helping to propel the team to a 50-39 victory in enemy territory.

"Anytime you play a team for a second time in league you know they're going to bring it," Gray said about the competition. "You know they've adjusted to stuff you've run before. You have to turn it up, and we were excited to play them. We knew they were going to bring a good game."

At the halftime buzzer, Canby trailed Tigard 28-20.

Coming into the third quarter Canby's deficit grew right off the bat as the Tigers went on a 6-2 run, but it would not grow any more than that. Junior Ally Odell scored 8 points in the third quarter, and junior Arika Evans dropped a basket from beyond the arc to make things 36-31 late in the quarter.

Canby closed the gap further thanks to a Baguio 3-pointer right at the buzzer, and the Cougars trailed by just 2 points. Tigard led 36-34 heading into the fourth.HERALD PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Canby freshman Joey Baguio had 9 points in the game against Tigard on Friday, Feb. 1.

The Tigers proved why they are among the top teams in the state by starting off the final quarter of play with a 9-2 run. Conversely, Tigard's stifling defense held the home team to just 5 points in the final quarter. At the end of the game Canby was down 50-39.HERALD PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Canby junior Nicole Mickelson started the game strong for the Cougars, scoring the first 8 points for the home team.

A big part of Tigard's success offensively came thanks to Gray, who recorded 29 points overall. The next closest scorer was LaFountain with 7 points. The defensive press was also what disrupted Canby's offense in the second quarter and established that initial 8-point lead.

For Canby, Mickelson led the way with 12 points, followed closely by Odell with 10, and Baguio with 9.

"We really need to practice on getting the full 32 minutes," Mickelson said. "We kind of slowed down in the second and fourth. We need step up and get the full 32, and that's a really big key to our practice. Another thing is getting those younger players to step up into their roles, and they're doing a really good job so far. I think that'll help."

Canby sees a three game win streak snapped, and falls to 7-12 overall, and 3-5 in league play. The Cougars will square off with Lakeridge (3-5 in TRL play, and 8-9 overall) on Tuesday, Feb. 5. Tigard stays sterling in league with an 8-0 record, and improves to 17-2 overall. The Tigers put a 10-game win streak on the line against West Linn (7-1 in TRL play, 14-4 overall) on the same day.

After the game Mickelson had ice on her right leg, a result of a collision with one of Tigard's players. The hit aggravated an LCL strain suffered earlier in the season.

"I think I'll be fine," Mickelson said. "I don't blame their player at all, it's a hustle play and everyone has those moments. I'll be good."

CANBY 39 11 9 14 5

TIGARD 50 9 19 8 14

HERALD PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Tigard junior Kennedy Brown had six points in the game against Canby, and played strong defense in the 50-39 win.

Canby 39: Nicole Mickelson 12, Ally Odell 10, Joey Baguio, Arika Evans 5, Amanda Davis 3

Tigard 50: Campbell Gray 29, Paige LaFountain 7, Kennedy Brown 6, Delaney Leavitt 3, Ajae Holdman 3, Dani Lyons 2

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