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The Jaguars drop nonleague contest, but Coach Scott Kellar is happy with play.

STAFF PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Century's Ikin Chan drives to the basket during the Jaguars' game against Beaverton, Dec. 4, at Century High School.Another step in a positive direction.

The Century High School boys basketball team dropped a 71-59 decision to Beaverton in a nonleague game, Dec. 4, at Century High School. But, after splitting two games in Roseburg during their opening weekend and battling with a good Beavers team for the bulk of Tuesday night's game, Jaguars' head coach Scott Kellar is encouraged by what he's seen from his team.

"I thought we battled," said Kellar. "Our goal is to keep getting better and I think we did that tonight."

Century was led by Jospin Mugisha who scored 21 points and grabbed three rebounds in somewhat limited action. The junior tallied 18 points in the first half before having to leave the game due to three early fouls, then was again forced to the bench early in the third quarter after picking up a fourth foul, limiting the Jaguar offense both directly and indirectly as a focal point of the Beaverton defense.

"Jospin (Mugisha) got in foul trouble early and that hurt a lot," Kellar said. "He had things going early and losing him was big for us, but also kept them from having to worry about him. We struggle at times to score anyways, so taking a guy out who had 18 points in the first half was tough to replace."

In his absence the Jaguars leaned heavily on junior Chance Sparks. The 6-foot-3 forward finished with 14 points and four rebounds, but was overmatched in the paint by a bigger Beaverton front line that nearly doubled Century on the boards and used their second opportunities to get to the free throw line, where they made 21 of their 24 charity attempts.

"They shot 24 free throws and we shot 10," said Kellar. "They're not a ton bigger than us, but we give up size and we're going to give up size most games, so we need to do a better job of getting our guards down there to dig stuff up."

STAFF PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Century's Chance Sparks takes a free throw attempt during the Jaguars' game against Beaverton, Dec. 4, at Century High School.The Jaguars led by two points after a quarter, but saw that lead evaporate in the second quarter thanks to the inside play of Beaverton's John Oleson. The junior who played mostly post for the Beavers on this night, repeatedly battered Century in the paint, finishing with 22 points and 10 rebounds.

Beaverton took a two point edge to the half, then the two teams traded the lead throughout the third quarter before a three-point play by the Beavers' Bennett Giebles put them ahead 49-47 heading to the game's final stanza.

Giebles scored the first four points of the fourth quarter to put Beaverton ahead by eight, but Century's Ikin Chan responded with a three-pointer from the top of the key to pull the Jags back within 55-50 with 4:16 remaining on the clock. Unfortunately however for Century, they couldn't get any closer than five for the reminder of the contest and watched the Beavers score eight straight over the final two minutes to put the game away.

Despite the loss, Kellar — while not pleased with the defeat — was impressed with his team's performance.

"That's a solid team and we were right there until the fourth quarter, and it just got away from us there at the end," said the coach. "I saw some great things we can work off of on both ends of the floor."

And ultimately things have been trending up since the Jaguars' opening loss to Roseburg, Nov. 30.

"I feel like we're getting better each game," Kellar said. "I feel better after tonight, because I feel Beaverton is a team that can compete with anyone, so for us to be within two points in the fourth quarter was great. That gives us some hope and hopefully we can ride that momentum into the remainder of the season."

In addition to Mugisha and Sparks, Chan finished with eight points and Edy Essien 10 points for the Jags.

Century next hosts McKay, Dec. 7, at 7:00 P.M. at Century High School.

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