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Cougars close out the regular season Wednesday at home against No. 7 Lake Oswego.

PMG PHOTO: DEREK WILEY - Canby junior Diego Arredondo drives to the basket against Tualatin Friday.

Canby held Tualatin to one of its lowest scoring games of the season.

But the Timberwolves defense was just as stingy Friday night in a 45-42 Three Rivers League victory.

"At the start of the game they were playing hard defense and we knew we had to play hard defense because that was the only way we could win," said Canby junior Diego Arredondo, who led the Cougars with 14 points. "They're very good at keeping you from the hole, which is something we like to do as a team. It just makes it hard. We can't do what we want."

After not scoring its first field goal until nearly five minutes into the game on a Chance Miller 3-pointer, and then falling behind 11-5, Arredondo and Tyler Mead hit back-to-back 3s to tie the contest at 11-11.

Alexander Evans then buried a 3-pointer to give Canby a 14-11 lead with 5:30 remaining in the second quarter.

The Cougars then led 19-15 after a 3-point play by Diego.

But Tualatin guards Noah Ogoli and Bret Robert scored on consecutive layups to tie the game at 19-19 at halftime.

"Our transition defense wasn't great," Arredondo said. "We weren't getting back well. They got a lot of lay-ins, which isn't something we normally give up."

The Cougars had worked on transition defense during Thursday's practice.

"Our transition defense was not very good," Canby coach Craig Evans said. "We probably spent 20 minutes yesterday in practice just on transition defense and stopping the ball and it didn't translate to the game. They ended the half on two wide open lay-ins on fast breaks. Those little momentum killers really changed the outcome of the game."

The Cougars held on to a 35-31 lead entering the fourth quarter. But Tualatin junior Carson Denning knocked down a 3-pointer and senior John Miller scored on a putback off a steal to give the Timberwolves a 36-35 lead with 5:42 to go.

Canby never led again.

"It hurts because we're up four, and then it goes away," Arredondo said. "We couldn't get it back. It's frustrating sometimes because we're so close."

Tualatin sophomore Malik Ross scored six of the Timberwolves final seven points to finish off the Cougars.

"I work on my game a lot and I work for moments like that," said Ross, who scored a team-high 11 points. "When it gets that close and the pressure is on, you've just got to get buckets and get the win. It was a fun game. Their crowd was loud and in games like that you've just got to cut the noise out and play your game. We did our job. We played team basketball and got the win."

Miller and Robert each scored eight points in the win. Ogoli added seven.

Although Tualatin defeated Canby earlier this season, the Cougars were ranked higher in OSAA's Class 6A rankings entering the game, 26th to 28th. The Timberwolves jumped to 25th with the win, while Canby dropped to No. 30.

"We know they're a great team and right now we're ranked below them so we came in with a chip on our shoulder," Ross said. "We just came here fired up and ready to go."

Mead scored eight points for Canby. Miller and Riley Knutson each added six points in the loss.

The Cougars close out the regular season Wednesday at home against No. 7 Lake Oswego.

"We can compete with them," coach Evans said. "We just need to come out strong. I want to see us play our best basketball. That's all I want. It's the end of the year. I want us to be playing our best basketball right now, and the whatever comes of the outcome I can handle."

More photos at derekwiley.smugmug.com.


Derek Wiley
Reporter
503-263-6831
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