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COLLEGE HOOPS: Saints rely on full-court defense to put away SW Oregon in league opener

PMG PHOTO: DAVID BALL - Mt. Hoods Davion Stringer sizes up his defender during the Saints 104-86 home win over SW Oregon on Saturday night.

South Region

Team Score
Mt. Hood CC Saints
SW Oregon Lakers

The Mt. Hood men's basketball team turned up the pressure in the second half to erase an early 10-point deficit and run away with a 104-86 win over SW Oregon to start the South Region schedule Saturday night.

The Lakers got a 3-pointer from Anel Alagic seconds after returning to the floor, but the next eight minutes would be unkind to the visitors from Klamath Falls.

SW Oregon shot 2-for-11 (18.2%) and suffered five turnovers during that stretch, as Mt. Hood went to an aggressive full-court defense that powered a 26-5 scoring spree and put the Saints up 21 with 12 minutes to play.

"They had a good point guard, but we wanted to speed them up a little bit and make it more difficult on the rest of their team to handle the ball," Mt. Hood coach Nate Bowie said. "That got us on a run and set the tempo for the rest of the game."

The Saints were able to play the big-energy defense thanks in part to having its full roster healthy for the first time this season. The holiday break allowing players to heal up from injuries and concussions.

PMG PHOTO: DAVID BALL - Mt. Hoods David Fountain sends a pass into the corner, while SW Oregon defender Myles Youngblood goes airborne.

During one stretch, the Saints scored on five straight possessions — three of those on buckets in the paint by center Pal Tuach, who finished with a game-high 26 points. Barlow High graduate Leonard Dixon capped the run with a breakaway dunk and would finish his night with 21 points.

"We came out and put our foot on the ground," Dixon said. "We got our press going, and that gave us more fast-break points and open shots."

Down the stretch, the only suspense was whether the Saints would push the scoreboard to triple digits. Jahville Collins obliged with a 3-pointer from the top of the arc, as the clocked ticked under two minutes.

The Saints got things moving in their favor late in the first half, finishing with a 10-2 run to take a 49-46 lead into the locker room after Dixon sank his fifth 3-pointer of the half.

"They went into a 2-3 zone, and we got the ball moving and my teammates kept finding me for quick hits," Dixon said.

The Saints forced 20 turnovers on the night, which led to 15 more shot attempts. Mt. Hood put a dozen players into the scoring column with Collins leading the bench with nine points.

"You have to protect your home court," Bowie said. "We want to make ti to the playoffs, it wouldn't be bad to be leading the pack on our way there, but our main goal is to get back to the tournament."

The Saints travel to Vancouver, Wash., to take on Clark College on Wednesday night.

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Third-quarter flurry sends women to win

The Mt. Hood women's team climbed out of a 10-point halftime hole to score a 77-59 win over the Lakers.

The Saints went 8-for-10 from behind the arc on their way to a 36-point third quarter that flipped the game to their favor. Tatyana Lyles hit back-to-back long balls to pull Mt. Hood within a single point early in the third. A few minutes later, Emily Webber sank a pair of free throws to give the Saints a lead it would never surrender.

Bri Rosales sank a trey to send Mt. Hood into the fourth quarter up 63-49.

Webber finished with a game-high 20 points. The Saints shot 12-for-14 (85.7%) from the free-throw line, led by Rose Gwillim who sank all six of her foul shots.

This story is slated for our Tuesday, Jan. 7, print edition.

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