The Newberg High girls basketball team ran into a buzz saw on Wednesday in a non-conference match-up with Tualatin of the Three Rivers League, suffering a 54-31 loss to the Timberwolves.
The Tigers were undone by the Timberwolve's pressure defense and a trio of Tualatin players that ran roughshod over the young Newberg team: Olivia Silliman, 15 points, two rebounds; Tabi Searle, 17 points, one rebound; Jaylyn Arosemena, 13 points, four rebounds.
Newberg senior guard Alli Stilp did her best to counteract the play of the Timberwolves, earning 15 points and two rebounds on the night. Freshman guard Isabella Macris kicked in four points and two rebounds, but the remainder of the team had little success scoring on a Tualatin team with much more height and experience.
"We have a really young and inexperienced team," NHS coach Luke Lindell said, adding that the team needs to develop better balance in scoring. "Alli can't feel like she has to do it by herself. That leads to poor shot selection and turnovers.
"Alli will get hers because of the type of player she is. Our core around her has to consistently be more aggressive to create opportunities for themselves and their teammates. We have the ability to do it, it is more on a confidence issue. That comes with youth and inexperience. That will be a work in progress over the next month."
The Timberwolves employed a near full-court press for much of the game Wednesday, leading to numerous turnovers by the Tigers.
"We did an OK job at times and at others we just didn't execute the way we needed to," Lindell said. "We were a little too deliberate to change sides of the floor with the pass and attack the press the way we needed to, not only to get across halfcourt, but ultimately to get a great look as a result of the pressure."
The coach said the Tigers will need to concentrate on creating more turnovers than suffering them in the future.
"It has been a big factor in all of our games both wins and losses this season," he said. "We are attempting to play much faster this season than in years past. With the increased pace comes more opportunities to turn the ball over. There is a fine line between playing fast and reckless. We cross that line too much right now, but I would rather have them do that than to be hesitant. We will continue to focus on ball security as we move into the holiday tournaments."
The Tigers' lack of height (the starters Wednesday topped out at about 5-foot 9-inches) has allowed opposing teams a distinct advantage in gathering both offensive and defensive rebounds.
"We have to play bigger than we are," Lindell said."Right now we are just a little too soft on the interior. We will really need to work on providing more physicality if we want to beat good teams. We are going to get pushed in league with kids that play pretty physical, so it is definitely a concern that we will continue to address."
The Tigers (2-3 overall) went into the matchup with Tualatin after a 38-24 loss to Ida B. Wells on Dec. 10. Newberg will play next Saturday through Monday (Dec. 18-20) in the Interstate Shootout at Lake Oswego High School, then prepare for the Pacific Automation Holiday Classic Dec. 28-30 at McDaniel High School. Conference play starts for the Tigers on Jan. 11 at Liberty.
Newberg outlasted Reynolds (0-4) of the Mount Hood Conference on Friday evening to advance to 2-5 on the season after dropping a 53-41 loss to Oregon City on Dec. 14. Next up for the Tigers is West Albany at home on Monday. NHS opens conference play on Jan. 11 at Liberty High School
The Tigers put the hurt on McMinnville 72-6 on Dec. 15 in their first Pacific Conference dual-meet matchup.
Newberg ventured to the Best of the West tournament on Dec. 17-18 in Pasco, Washington (results unavailable at press time). They will travel to West Albany High School on Dec. 29-30 for the Northwest Duals.
Boys and girls swimming
Next up for the Tigers is the West Salem Invitational on Dec. 30 at the Kroc Center.
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