Timberwolves tip Tigard in thriller
TUALATIN — Classic.
Every year, every game, when the rivals face off, it always seems to be a classic.
Tuesday's game was certainly no exception.
In a contest that wasn't decided until a buzzer-beating jump shot hit the rim, the Tualatin High School boys basketball team came away with a 53-51 victory over rival Tigard in a Three Rivers League contest played in front of a large, loud crowd at Tualatin High School.
"We really wanted to beat Tigard, and tonight was the night," said Tualatin senior guard Alexis Angeles, who scored a game-high 32 points in the win. "No matter what the records are, it always comes down to the wire when we play them."
"It was great to get this win on senior night," Tualatin senior post Chris Freese said. "We expected it to be a tough game."
"It was a great win," Tualatin sophomore John Miller said. "It's usually a close game when we play them. It was a good fight."
With the victory, Tualatin improved to 7-5 in TRL play (15-7 overall), leaving the Wolves in fourth place in the league standings.
"This was a huge win for us," Angeles said. "We needed this."
Tigard moved to 8-4 in TRL games (12-9 overall), keeping the Tigers in third place in the standings.
"That was a fun game," Tigard senior post Austin Dufort said. "Both teams battled hard. When we play them it always seems to come down to the last possession."
That turned out to be the case in Tuesday's game.
Tigard, with senior Jake Leavitt, junior Stevie Schlabach and junior Diego Lopez all sinking 3-pointers, claimed a 16-12 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Tigers would go on to take the biggest lead for either team, at 25-14, after junior guard Jazz Ross connected on a 3-point shot from the top of the arc, coming with 5 minutes and 52 seconds left to play in the second quarter.
But Tualatin, turning up the defensive intensity, and getting nine points from Angeles in the final 4:47 of the period, trimmed the margin to 27-23 at halftime.
The Tigers kept the lead throughout the third quarter, taking a 39-33 advantage following a free throw by Leavitt with 1:10 left in the period. Tualatin, answering with a 3-pointer by junior Caden Dickson in the final minute, cut the Tigard lead to 39-36 going into the fourth quarter.
That's when things really got interesting.
Tualatin junior Jack Rose opened the final stanza with an alley-oop dunk off a pass from senior Nathan Platter. Rose then scored on a layup off an assist from Freese, giving the Wolves their first lead of the game, at 40-39, with 7:06 left to play, while also igniting the Tualatin home crowd.
From there, it was a back-and-forth battle to the end.
The game was tied, at 48-48, after Schlabach went 2 for 2 from the free-throw line with 2:49 remaining. Angeles answered with a pair of free throws, giving Tualatin a 50-48 lead with 1:42 left to play. Miller then had one of the big plays of the game, coming up with a steal and layup, giving Tualatin a 52-48 advantage with 1:29 remaining.
"That was huge," Angeles said.
"I saw a chance, and I took it," Miller said. "I couldn't believe I got it with no foul called. Then I was just thinking 'don't miss the layin.'"
Tigard cut the lead to 53-51 when Leavitt sank a short-range jumper, off an assist from freshman Drew Carter, with 34 seconds remaining. The Tigers then got the ball back, with 18.7 seconds left to play, on an errant Tualatin pass that sailed out of bounds.
A Tigard foul-line jumper on the ensuing possession was off the mark, but rebound resulted in a jump ball, with possession going to the Tigers with 2.5 seconds remaining. Tigard's last second shot, from about 16 feet away, hit the front rim as the buzzer sounded, giving the Wolves a 53-51 win, and sending the Tualatin students rushing onto the court.
"It was crazy," Freese said. "We played hard, and made the shots when we needed to."
"Our defense was huge," Miller said. "I'm proud of how we played on defense, and I'm proud of our team."
Angeles scored 17 of his game-high 32 points in the second half.
"I think this game brought out the best of both teams," he said.
Freese and Rose each added six points for the Wolves.
Tualatin, as a team, made 17 of 40 shots from the field, with three 3-pointers, and 16 of 25 free-throw attempts.
Schlabach led Tigard with 15 points and six rebounds. Dufort scored 11 points, all in the second half. Leavitt and junior Jake Bullard each scored six.
Tigard, as a team, made 13 of 39 shots from the field, with five 3-pointers, and 20 of 23 free-throw attempts.
"This game will be good for us, having to play in an atmosphere like this," Dufort said.
Both teams will be back in action on Friday. Tualatin will play at Lake Oswego at 7 p.m. and Tigard will host Canby at 7:15 p.m.