Tigers stave off several Cougar rallies to earn first league victory of the season

CANBY — In a battle of big cat mascots Friday night, it was Newberg that left Canby to lick its wounds following a 48-43 road victory.

At the end of the first quarter, it was a clear advantage for the Cougars, who led 10-4.TANNER RUSS - CANBY HERALD - Newberg senior Ben O'Loughlin drives the baseline during the Tigers' 48-43 road win over Canby. O'Loughlin scored eight points to help NHS claim its first league win of the season.

The Tigers were coming off a 67-53 road loss at Tigard Jan. 9 in which they scored just two points in the second quarter and could never catch up.

The end of the first quarter saw Canby senior Skyler Castleman put away a handful of baskets to increase the divide, but Newberg wasn't about to allow a repeat performance and seized the momentum in the second quarter.

The Tigers quickly picked up three turnovers and a pair of buckets courtesy of junior Alex Jaczko and senior Ben O'Loughlin to close the gap to two points.

Canby's Wade Brewer put away a pair of free throws, but from there Newberg took it over. Baskets from O'Loughlin and junior Kyle Kruse helped put Canby in the Tigers rearview mirror at 19-11, but Canby sophomore Ronan Gay hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to cut the deficit to five points at the break.

Brewer went on a tear early in the third, hitting five baskets in a row for Canby, including a phenomenal sequence where he tipped the ball away from Newberg's offense to Castleman's waiting hands. Castleman then tossed the ball down-court to Brewer mid-sprint who made the easy layup. That briefly gave Canby a 26-25 lead.

Newberg answered back shortly thereafter, getting five straight baskets of its own from sophomore Jack Chlumak and Jaczko to put NHS up by six.

The Tigers once again were poised to take a comfortable lead into the next quarter, this time 38-31, but Gay sunk another basket at the buzzer to make it a four-point contest.

Canby started the fourth quarter strong with junior Rizdin Miller and Castleman putting five points on the board, giving Canby a 39-38 lead.

Newberg again made it brief lead, however, as Chlumak and Jaczko hit three consecutive baskets.

Despite Canby's (4-10, 0-4 Three Rivers League) resistance toward the end of the quarter, Newberg held on to secure its first conference win 48-43.

"The boys did a great job, hitting free throws down the stretch and getting the stops when we needed them," Newberg coach Mark Brown said after the game. "I'd like to shoot the ball better, but I'm proud of these guys for grinding it out and getting a stop and a win when we needed it."

The Tigers (7-7, 1-3 ) will compete at home against Sherwood (9-5, 2-2) on Wednesday.

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