The Canby High School girls basketball team had plenty of motivation.
The Cougars were also full of energy.
And, as it turned out, Canby needed all of that motivation and energy — not to mention some stifling defense.
The Cougars, with all of that going for them, were able to pull away in the fourth quarter to get a 51-40 win over Tigard in a hard-fought Three Rivers League game played Friday at Tigard High School. With the victory, Canby avenged a league-opening 50-39 loss to the Tigers in a game played Jan. 14 at Canby High School.
"It was really good. We had a lot more energy, and we wanted it a lot more," said Canby junior guard Zoe Thompson, who scored 11 first-half points in the contest. "We were very motivated, especially after losing the first one to them. We really wanted this one."
"It was good. We played as a team on defense and offense," said Canby freshman guard Allie Mead, who led all scorers with 16 points. "We had energy, and we were ready to fight, because we didn't want to lose to them. It was definitely part of our motivation."
With the win, coming in the first game of the second half of league play, Canby improved to 5-3 in TRL games (11-6 overall), putting the Cougars in a tie with St. Mary's Academy and Tualatin for third place in the league standings.
"It's a pretty good win," Mead said. "We still have six more to go. We want to take six 'dubs,' and keep going."
"We want to win every game," Thompson said of the remainder of Three Rivers League play. "We really need it, because we want to win league."
Tigard, which also has had competitive games with St. Mary's and Tualatin, moved to 2-6 in TRL play (3-15 overall), putting the Tigers in a tie with Lakeridge for sixth place in the league standings.
"We're having a tough time putting all four quarters together," Tigard senior guard Kennedy Brown said. "We've had games where we've had really good first halves, or really good second halves, or really good three quarters, but we just can't seem to finish. We just can't capitalize on some things."
"We seem to be getting in the same pattern, but we're working really hard," Tigard senior guard Delaney Leavitt said. "We've been focusing on our defense, but, for some reason, in the second half we can't seem to get it together."
The two teams went back and forth in a fast-paced first quarter. Tigard, getting back-to-back baskets from sophomore post Sarah Lamet, coming off assists from Leavitt and freshman Hailey Shimojima, took a 7-6 lead with 3 minutes and 2 seconds left to play in the opening period.
Canby quickly regained the lead, at 9-7, when Thompson sank her second 3-point basket of the quarter.
"I just focused on my shot," Thompson said.
Tigard, getting a buzzer-beating follow-up basket by Brown, tied the game at 14-14 at the end of the period.
The competitive play continued in the second quarter. Brown opened the period by sinking a 17-foot jumper, coming off a pass from Leavitt, giving the Tigers a 16-14 lead. After that, there were three lead changes, and two ties, including a 22-22 deadlock after Tigard junior Ajae Holdman went 2 for 2 from the free-throw line with 3:15 left before halftime.
But Mead scored the final four points of the quarter, including a pair of free throws with 33.5 seconds left in the period, to give Canby a 26-22 advantage at the intermission.
The Cougars then tried to pull away in the third quarter. Canby senior post Ally Odell scored five points, Thompson connected on another 3-pointer, and senior Nicole Mickelson scored on a short-range jumper off a pass from Mead, giving the Cougars a 38-28 lead with 1:51 left in the period.
But Tigard came fighting back. Shimojima sank a jumper and Holdman scored on a put-back shot with 15 seconds remaining in the period, trimming the Canby lead to 38-32 going into the fourth quarter.
But the Cougars, patient on offense and denying on defense, was able to take control in the final stanza. Canby, getting baskets from senior Arika Evans, Mead, senior Naarai Gomez and Odell, scored the first eight points of the fourth quarter, upping the margin to 46-32 with 3:44 remaining in the game.
The Cougar defense kept Tigard from scoring in the period until Hardman sank a pair of free throws with 2:41 left to play. From there, Canby got free throws from Gomez and Mead down the stretch to close out the 51-40 victory.
"We had a lot of energy, and we locked down on defense, and then finished our shots a lot better," Thompson said.
"We were just talking through everything," Mead said.
In addition to Mead's 16 points, Thompson scored 14 points, sinking four 3-pointers in the process. Mickelson added eight points for the Cougars. Odell scored seven and Gomez had four.
Canby, as a team, made 17 of 33 shots from the field, with six 3-pointers, and 11 of 16 free-throw attempts.
"This was very fun," Thompson said. "We had a blast just yelling at each other on the court."
Lamet and Hardman each scored 10 points to lead a balanced Tigard scoring attack. Brown had eight points, five rebounds and three steals. Leavitt had six points and two steals. Shimojima scored four points and freshman Karen Spadafora scored two.
Tigard, as a team, made 16 of 37 shots from the field, with two 3-pointers, and six of eight free-throw attempts.
"We did a lot of good things. We can improve on the things we've done. We just need to put a whole game together," Leavitt said. "We're really trying to work as hard as we can, in practice and in games. We're putting in the effort and trying new things and trying to put a whole game together. Our focus is to take each play, each quarter at a time, and focus on the moment."
"I think we're due for some games. We're right there. If we can just get over that little hump, we're right there," Brown said. "That's our thing, we just need to give it our all effort. That's our whole key, to keep the effort up and keep competing. We're just going to go out there and give it our all. We want to finish strong."
Both teams will be back in action on Tuesday. Canby will host Lakeridge at 5:30 p.m., and Tigard will host West Linn at 5:45 p.m. On Feb. 14, Canby will travel to Oregon City for a 5:45 p.m. game, and Tigard will play at St. Mary's at 7:15 p.m.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.