Tigard girls power past rival Wolves
TIGARD — The Tigard High School girls basketball team prides itself on its defense.
The Tigers also seem to excel when it comes to turning that defense into offense.
And, when Tigard is clicking on both ends of the court, like it wants to, good things can happen for the team — in a hurry.
The Tigers were certainly clicking when they faced Tualatin. Tigard, with its swarming defense sparking a 25-0 run, which covered a span of 8 minutes and 22 seconds in the first and second quarters, ran to a 58-36 win over the rival Timberwolves in a Three Rivers League game played in front of an enthusiastic crowd Jan. 17 at Tigard High School.
"It went well," Tigard sophomore guard Delaney Leavitt said after the game. "We had a lot of energy, and we got a lot of tips."
"When we put the pressure on, and get a lot of turnovers, it gives us energy," said Tigard junior guard Campbell Gray, who scored a team-high 18 points in the contest.
"It gave us a lot of momentum," Leavitt said.
With the win, Tigard improved to 6-0 in TRL play (11-3 overall) at that point, keeping the Tigers alone in first place in the league standings.
"This was a good one," Gray said.
"These games are fun," Leavitt said. "It was our rival, and we had a big crowd tonight."
Tualatin moved to 3-4 in TRL games (7-8 overall) with the loss, putting the Timberwolves in a tie with Lakeridge for fourth place in the league standings.
"It was difficult," said Tualatin senior guard Maija Girardi, who paced the Wolves with 18 points. "We came out strong, but they went on a big run, and that put us in a hole."
Tualatin did get off to a promising start to the contest. Girardi opened the game with a three-point basket, and Tualatin freshman post Natalie Lathrop scored on a short-range bank shot, giving the Wolves a 5-2 lead with 5 minutes and 49 seconds left to play in the first quarter.
But that's when Tigard took off.
The Tigers' 25-0 run started with a three-point basket by Leavitt, off an assist by junior guard Paige LaFountain, who followed that with a three-pointer of her own, giving Tigard its first lead of the game, at 8-5, with 3:44 remaining in the opening period.
The Tiger defense took over from there. Tigard sophomore guard Kennedy Brown came up with a steal and layup, Gray had a steal and layup, Brown scored on a layup following a steal by junior post Dani Lyons and Leavitt had a buzzer-beating steal and layup, giving the Tigers a 21-5 lead at the end of the first quarter.
"We all feed off each other," Gray said of the Tigers' stretch of steals and layups. "It keeps going and going."
Tigard kept its run going early in the second quarter. Senior guard Gabby McGaughey opened the period with a basket on a drive to the hoop. Gray then scored on a drive, and then she added a steal and 10-foot jumper, capping off the 25-0 run and giving the Tigers a 27-5 lead with 6:00 remaining in the period.
Girardi ended the Tualatin scoring drought with a basket on a driving scoop shot with 3:44 left before halftime. The Wolves added baskets by junior Maliyah Ross and Girardi before the quarter ended, leaving Tigard with a 30-11 halftime advantage.
Tigard got a pair of baskets by LaFountain and a three-pointer by Gray in the third quarter. Tualatin senior guard Mikah Springer sank a three-pointer and scored five points in the period, which ended with the Tigers holding a 40-18 lead.
Lyons opened the fourth quarter with a follow-up basket and Gray then sank a three-pointer from the top of the circle, giving Tigard its biggest lead of the game, at 45-18, with 7:07 left to play in the contest.
Tualatin, battling to the end, got 11 points from Girardi and five from freshman Sidney Dering in the final quarter, cutting the final margin to 58-36.
"It's always tough," Leavitt said. "We knew they'd be aggressive. We could have played a little better, but we did alright."
"It's a rivalry game," Gray said. "They wanted it, and we wanted it."
Gray, in addition to her team-high 18 points, also had nine rebounds and five steals in the victory. LaFountain scored 14 points, in addition to having four rebounds and two steals. Brown and Lyons each scored six points. Leavitt had five points and three steals.
Tigard, as a team, made 22 of 54 shots from the field, with six three-point baskets, and eight of 13 free-throw attempts. The Tigers also helped force Tualatin into 26 turnovers in the contest.
Tualatin, in addition to Girardi's 18 points, also got five points apiece from Springer and Dering. Junior Natali Denning had four points, six rebounds and three steals.
The Wolves, as a team, made 15 of 44 shots from the field, with three three-point baskets, and they made all three of their free-throw attempts.
"Playing good teams like this shows us what our weaknesses are," Girardi said. "We'll work on those, and next time will be different."
Tigard, on Friday, picked up another key win, as it scored a 53-44 league victory at Canby. Gray scored 34 points in that game. Brown had nine points and LaFountain pulled down eight rebounds.
On Tuesday, Tigard scored a 73-37 win over Lake Oswego in a league game played at Tigard High School.
LaFountain paced the Tigers with 24 points in the victory. Leavitt added 15.
The Tigers will be back in action today (Thursday), when they travel to Sherwood for a 7 p.m. league contest. On Friday, Tigard will host Lakeridge at 7 p.m. On Tuesday, the Tigers will travel to West Linn for a key league game starting at 6:45 p.m.