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Smothering defense carries Barlow to a lopsided win over Gresham on rivalry night

PMG PHOTO: DAVID BALL - Greshams Nate Caro finds himself track in the corner with Barlows Connor Hills (11) on defense and a crowd of Bruins shouting from the bench.

Mount Hood Conference

Team Score
#8 Barlow Bruins
Gresham Gophers

The Barlow boys basketball team is the highest scoring in the Mount Hood Conference, but on Friday night it was the defensive end of the court that paced the Bruins to a 60-42 win over rival Gresham and a sweep of the season series.

Barlow's Jaren Hunter drew a charging foul, and teammate Jesse White earned a five-second closely-guarded violation to force turnovers on back-to-back possessions shortly after the opening tip.

White sank a pair of 3-pointers, and Evan Inglesby looped a pass over the top of the defense to give Joey Wolcott an alley-oop layup. The Bruins were in charge 14-5 barely five minutes into the game.

The defense did not let up.

Connor Hills harassed Gresham rookie Esyah Pippa-White, poking loose a steal at half court. More importantly, Pippa-White reached out and fouled Hills in the scrum for the loose ball. It marked his third foul of the game, and the Gophers' starting point guard was relegated to the bench for almost the entirety of the second quarter.

PMG PHOTO: DAVID BALL - Barlows Evan Inglesby moves to the basket a step ahead of Greshams Ethan Abrahamson during the Bruins 60-42 home win Friday.

Gresham spent long possessions moving the ball around the perimeter, unable to find quality shots. The Gophers mustered one made field goal through the game's first 10 minutes.

"They came out in a stall game, holding the ball and trying to keep the game close," Hunter said. "But we played our regular defense and pressured them in the corners. They were expending as much energy on the offensive end as they were on the defensive side."

Barlow started the second quarter with another long-range connection, this time it was Hunter lofting a pass toward the basket for Inglesby to finish an alley-oop layup to make it a double-digit margin.

"Teams like to face guard Evan and Jesse, so that has become a go-to play for us," Hunter said.

Battling through tight defense throughout the night, White got loose on the perimeter and attacked down the baseline, throwing himself horizontal through the air for a lunging layup that took three hoops on the iron, climbing over the rim for two of his game-high 35 points.

Barlow had the Gophers doubled up 26-13 heading into the halftime locker room.

PMG PHOTO: DAVID BALL - Barlows Joey Wolcott drives to the block, while Greshams Syrus Sagiao attempts to draw a charging foul.

The Bruins kept it rolling out of the break with Hunter using a double pump in the lane before slipping an 8-foot jumper over the front of the rim. Inglesby drilled a 3 from the left side, then drove down the right side for a layup on the next trip to put Barlow up 41-22, prompting Gresham to call timeout.

The game never got close.

White swiped a steal and raced away to the hoop to keep Barlow in charge 49-31 as the clock ticked under five minutes.

The Bruins (15-6) extended their win streak to 10 games, sit alone atop the Mount Hood Conference standings and have climbed to No. 8 in the big-school rankings.

"We need to bring the energy every night, because we have a target on our backs and we are going to get everyone's best game," White said. "The state title is the big goal, but a league championship is a big deal, too."

View photos at ...

This story is scheduled for our Tuesday, Feb. 18, print edition.

GRESHAM 5 8 10 19 — 42

BARLOW 14 12 17 17 — 60

Gresham(42) — Syrus Sagiao 10, Ethan Abrahamson 10, Pippa-White 9, Munyan 8, Larsen 3, Igbonagwam 2, Hankle, Welch, Caro, Wersch, Evans, Isaac Clinton, Isaiah Clinton.

Barlow (60) — Jesse White 35, Inglesby 14, Wolcott 7, Weber 2, Hunter 2, Jones, Hills, Nomie.

— - MHC basketball

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