Tigers break through against Centennial
Coming off a trying season in 2016-2017, it was important for the Newberg boys basketball team to experience some early success and buoy their confidence.
The Tigers flashed some of the potential in a third-quarter rally versus Sheldon, but the Irish stymied coach Mark Brown's team in the fourth quarter to prevail 50-37.
Newberg took a big step forward Friday at Centennial, however, overcoming foul trouble for leading scorer Alex Jaczko with strong defense in a 42-32 victory in Gresham.
It was a nice reward for the team's hard work so far and took a little bit of the pressure off, especially considering how the Tigers pulled it off.
Newberg (1-2) took an 18-11 halftime lead after both teams struggled offensively. With Jazcko, who scored 16 points versus Sheldon, picking up his third foul early in the third, Brown opted for a bigger lineup and committed to playing a 2-3 zone defense.
Centennial did hit a pair of threes early in the third quarter and cut the deficit to two points at 27-25 entering the fourth, but otherwise couldn't get to the hoop and sputtered offensively in the fourth.
"We knew if we could keep them away from the rim, we were going to have success," Brown said.
Meanwhile, the Tigers found a measure of balance on offense and quickly pushed the lead to 10 points early in the fourth. Ben O'Loughlin led Newberg with 10 points, Garrett Myers had nine, Jaczko finished with seven and James Willcuts added six.
Brown said he was especially pleased with how his team saw the game out after Centennial (0-4) rallied in the third.
"Coming off of the year we had last year and not being totally confident in ourselves, we opened it back up and pulled away," Brown said.