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JUNIOR COLLEGE HOOPS: Mt. Hood rallies from 18 points down to push Clark College to the final buzzer

PMG PHOTO: DAVID BALL - Leonard Dixon pulls up for a jumper on his way to a team-high 20 points.

NWAC South Region

Team Score
Clark Penguins
Mt. Mood CC Saints

The Mt. Hood men's basketball team performed the magic trick beautifully until it came time for the Abracadabra moment and the rabbit stayed stubbornly in the hat.

Victory appeared impossible with the Saints trailing by 18 points with 6:48 to play at Clark College on Wednesday night. But Mt. Hood went to a full-court defense that created a series of turnovers and rushed shots, opening the door for a crazy comeback. Alas, the flurry fell one shot short when a 3-pointer to send the game to overtime missed the mark wide at the buzzer.

Clark escaped with the 87-84 win.

Mt. Hood climbed back into contention when Jahville Collins spotted a lane from midcourt and drove to the hoop for two points. Next up, Barlow High graduate Leonard Dixon attacked the rim and was fouled. He sank both free throws to make it a 10-point game with five minutes left.

Clark missed the front end of a 1-and-1, and Mt. Hood's Davion Stringer took the miss and went the other way for a three-point play.

The Penguins saw a layup roll off the rim on their next trip, and Dixon turned it into a 3-pointer at the other end.

The margin was down to four points, as the clock ticked under four minutes.

The Saints defense forced a shot-clock violation, and Collins found his way to the free-throw sinking both attempts to make it a one-possession game for the first time since late in the first half.

"We picked up the energy and put on some pressure, and that helped change the tide," Mt. Hood coach Nate Bowie said.

PMG PHOTO: DAVID BALL - Mt. Hoods Audric Sandoval looks to hit a baseline jumper during the Saints 87-84 loss at Clark College on Wednesday.

Next up, Dixon drew a charge in the lane to force a turnover, but his 3-point shot to tie the game rolled off the rim.

Clark kept the door open with another missed free throw, and this time the Saints cashed in with Collins getting to the front of the rim to pull Mt. Hood within 85-84 with a minute to play.

Players along the Mt. Hood bench were on their feet, except for Pal Tuach who was on his foot — singular. After suffering a sprained ankle in the first half, he leaped off the bleachers in excitement, hopping on one foot while clapping for his teammates to continue the comeback.

The recipe was simple — a stop and a score.

But the Saints forgot one key ingredient — rebounds.

Clark misfired twice on the offensive end, but pulled down the board each time, ending with center Matt Garrison converting an easy put back off the glass.

Still, Mt. Hood had a chance to reach overtime, but struggled to find an open look beyond the arc and a forced shot at the horn sailed well wide of the target.

"We missed those rebounds," Bowie said. "If we are only down one, then we call something to get to the cup, and I'm pretty positive we would have scored it. But down three, it gets a little panicky."

The Saints kept pace early in the game, highlighted when another Barlow graduate Austin Forrar went up high to pick off a pass at midcourt. He passed the ball off before he landed, and Collins drilled a 3 from the top of the arc.

Mt. Hood found itself up 36-33 late in the first half when Iversyn Smith swooped in to clean up an offensive rebound, throwing it through the hoop with a thunderous two-hand dunk.

The Penguins ended the half on a nine-point run, highlighted by Ethan Smith's corner 3, to take a 42-36 lead into the locker room.

Clark built the margin to as many as 14 points early in the second half before Dixon came up with seven points, four free throws and a trey, in less than a minute to slice the margin in half.

Clark responded to that threat by scoring on four consecutive trips to gain its hefty 80-62 lead with 6:48 to play.

Dixon led the Saints with 20 points, while Collins added 18 off the bench. Clark's Dylan Hushaw scored a game-high 23 points — all but five of them coming from behind the arc.

Mt. Hood travels to Salem for a doubleheader against Chemeketa at 2 p.m. Saturday.

View photos from the men's game at ...

Mt. Hood women pull away in third quarter

Women's College Basketball
NWAC South Region

Team Score
Mt. Hood Saints
Clark Penguins

The Saints put on a surge early in the third quarter, scoring on three consecutive possessions to pull away from Clark in a 53-37 road win Wednesday night.

PMG PHOTO: DAVID BALL - Mt. Hoods Kelsey Higgins drives the lane during the first half. She finished with five points off the bench in the teams 53-37 win at Clark College on Wednesday.

Ashley Parry sparked the run when she swiped a steal and fed the ball ahead to Emily Webber for a layup. After a Penguins' miss, Parry grabbed the rebound and again sent the ball down the floor to Tatyana Lyles, who converted a three-point play at the other end. Parry capped the scoring spree by keeping the ball this time and hitting a 3-pointer out of the corner for her only points of the night.

The 10 points in little more than a minute stretched the Saints lead to 38-25 midway through the third quarter, and they would enjoy a double-digit margin the rest of the way.

Mt. Hood hit the foul bonus early in the third quarter and took repeated trip to the free-throw line, knocking down 9 of 13 (69.2%) and took a 16-point lead into the fourth.

Rose Gwillim led Mt. Hood with 11 points, while Lyles scored nine.

The teams traded the lead six times in the opening stages of play before Mt. Hood pulled in front to stay when Lyles dribbled behind the basket and sent a pass inside to Webber for an easy two at the front of the rim.

The Penguins would close to within a single point twice in the second quarter before Kelsey Higgins knocked down a 3 from the right side, and Parry sent a pass ahead to Gwillim to finish a fast break to put Mt. Hood up 30-23 at halftime.

View photos from the women's game at ...

These stories are slated to appear in our Friday, Jan. 10, print edition.

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