Barlow boys basketball shows moxie in 2021/22 tip-off Jamboree
Every time it felt like things were slipping away from Barlow boys basketball in its tune-up opening tournament, one of the upperclassmen would make a big play.
Senior point guard Connor Hills knocked down gutsy deep threes with a hand in his face; 6-foot-4 senior center Jesse Jones bruised and bullied his way in the paint to draw fouls, pull in rebounds and get to the free throw line; and junior Ryan Bierbrauer provided a spark off the bench with hustle on both ends of the court.
"We have a core group of vets coming back this season that bring a lot of leadership," said coach Tom Johnson.
All of it led to a pair of victories for the Bruins as they hosted the Barlow Jamboree Wednesday evening, Dec. 1. The tournament had teams play two 12-minute quarters against a pair of opponents. West Linn, Lake Oswego and Clackamas all made the trip out to East Multnomah County for the practice reps.
Barlow won both its bouts — first beating West Linn 27-20, before rallying late to top Lake Oswego 21-16.
"In these games we look at how well we compete, and whether we execute on techniques," Johnson said. "I feel good about where this team is headed into the season."
The first match with West Linn had the Bruins face a tough full-court press that put pressure on the ball handlers. Hills did much of the work getting across half-court, as did senior Tyson Roupp.
As the Lions began to pull away midway through the 12-minute period, Bierbrauer made a difference off the bench as the sixth man. He hit the Bruins' first 3-pointer of the season and pulled in crucial defensive rebounds to retake the lead.
Senior forward Nathan Jones made smart passes out of the paint, and Hills nailed a pair of deep threes to clinch the victory.
Barlow stumbled to a slow start against Lake Oswego, missing some open shots, but its defense kept the game within reach. With 5:28 on the clock, the Bruins made some noise. Like in the first game, Hills hit a big three-pointer to cut it to 12-11, then drew a charge on the Lakers on the other end.
Lake Oswego struggled to handle Jesse Jones down low, and he moved his feet to establish good early position that put the Lakers defenders in tough spots. He drew fouls, killed momentum and let the home squad settle into the victory.
The Jamboree allowed the Bruins to test their mettle before the 2021-22 home opener Friday, Dec. 12, against Sherwood.
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