Tigard boys find a way to win
LAKE OSWEGO — It certainly wasn't a thing of beauty.
And it definitely wasn't how the Tigard High School boys basketball team had planned things out.
But, for the Tigers, the important thing was that they still found a way to win.
Tigard, despite admittedly not playing at its best, came away with a 55-44 victory over Lakeridge in a Three Rivers League game played Friday at Lakeridge High School.
"It wasn't pretty," said Tigard junior wing Stevie Schlabach, who scored a game-high 27 points in the contest. "We came out strong, but they made a run in the second quarter. They were hyped. But we came out strong in the second half."
"Getting a win on the road is always good," Tigard freshman Drew Carter said. "It was a team effort. We communicated well."
With the win, Tigard improved to 3-1 in TRL games (7-6 overall), putting the Tigers in a tie with Lake Oswego and West Linn for second place in the league standings.
"Getting a road win is very good," Schlabach said. "But we can play better."
Lakeridge moved to 0-4 in TRL play (1-12 overall), putting the Pacers in a tie with Canby for seventh place in the league standings.
"I thought it went well," said Lakeridge freshman Tony Fair, who came off the bench to score seven points. "There's a lot of stuff we can improve on. We need to start the second half better."
"We gave them a battle," said Lakeridge senior guard Jake Fedrizzi, who led the Pacers with 11 points. "It was good. But we have a lot of learning to do. We need to start strong and then keep going."
Tigard, in Friday's game, got a three-point basket by Schlabach, off an assist from Carter, just nine seconds into contest. Tiger senior post Austin Dufort followed with a three-point play, giving Tigard a quick 6-2 lead, coming with 6 minutes and 12 seconds left to play in the first quarter.
But Lakeridge, with senior John Struik and Fedrizzi each scoring four points in the final 4:25 of the quarter, cut the margin to 12-10 at the end of the opening period.
Tigard got a three-point basket by junior Jazz Ross, coming off an assist from sophomore Max Lenzy, to open the second quarter. But Lakeridge answered with back-to-back baskets by sophomore Ethan McEachern and junior Matt Armsby to cut the Tigard lead to 15-14 with 6:08 left to play in the period.
The Pacers, who helped force Tigard into nine turnovers in the quarter, stayed close for the rest of the half.
The Tigers did go 8 for 8 from the free-throw line in the period, with Dufort making six of those foul shots, but the Pacers, getting a late 14-foot jumper by senior Mitch Gerot, trailed Tigard by just a 25-20 margin at the break.
"We kept within five of them at halftime," Fedrizzi said. "Our pressure got to them."
But Tigard, and Schlabach, certainly seemed to pick things up in the third quarter.
Spurred by their defense, which held Lakeridge to just five points in the quarter, and with Schlabach scoring 11 points in the period, the Tigers opened up a 38-25 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Tigard then kept rolling in the final stanza. A short-range banker by Dufort, and back-to-back layups by Ross and Schlabach gave the visitors a 49-31 advantage with 3:30 left in the contest. The Tigers would go on to open up their biggest lead of the game, at 53-34, on a free throw by junior guard Jake Bullard, coming with 1:41 left to play.
Lakeridge, battling to the end, finished the game on an 8-0 run, which included three-pointers by McEachern and Fedrizzi, making the final score 55-44.
"Our defensive intensity picked up in the second half. We got a lot of points in transition," Schlabach said. "And we learned something. We have to be ready to go every night. I think we took them a little for granted."
"We have to be ready to play every day," Carter said. "We can't take a game off."
Schlabach, in addition to his game-high 27 points, also had seven rebounds and a pair of steals for the Tigers. Dufort scored 17 points and pulled down eight rebounds. Carter had a strong all-around game, with nine rebounds, three assists and three steals to go with five points. Ross added five points.
Tigard, as a team, made 16 of 50 shots from the field, with a pair of three-point baskets, and 21 of 24 free-throw attempts. The Tigers also outrebounded Lakeridge by a 39-24 margin.
In addition to Fedrizzi's 11 points, Lakeridge also got seven each from Fair and McEachern and six from Struik.
The Pacers, as a team, made 16 of 51 shots from the field, with two three-pointers, and 10 of 12 free-throw attempts.
"We fought to the end," Fair said. "That showed that we cared a lot. I thought we played really well as a team."
"Finishing strong was important," Fedrizzi said. "We need to start strong, and keep going. We always seem to have that one bad quarter. But we're learning as we're going."
Tigard, on Wednesday, was scheduled to host rival Tualatin. Results of that game weren't available when the Times went to press.
The Tigers will be back in action on Friday, when they play at Canby in a league game starting at 7:15 p.m.