Tualatin boys tip Tigard in a wild one
TIGARD — The Tualatin High School basketball team had an amazing third quarter.
Tigard countered with a furious fourth-quarter rally.
Meanwhile, the whole game was fueled with intensity on the court, and boisterous enthusiasm in the bleachers.
In other words, it was a typical Tiger-Timberwolf rivalry game.
And, in the latest chapter of the rivalry, Tualatin got to celebrate a hard-fought victory.
The Timberwolves, grabbing a double-digit lead in the second half, and then holding off the Tigers late in the game, got a 73-67 victory in a Three Rivers League game played in front of a large, loud crowd Tuesday at Tigard High School.
"That was big. That was really big," said Tualatin senior guard Caden Dickson, who led all scorers with 21 points. "Coming here to Tigard, it's not an easy environment, so that win was big for us going into the playoffs."
"It's huge. We knew it would be a loud environment, and we were prepared for it," said Tualatin senior Jack Rose, who scored 16 points.
With the win, Tualatin improved to 6-5 in TRL play (14-8 overall), putting the Wolves in a tie with West Linn for fourth place in the league standings.
"This was really fun," Dickson said. "With an intense environment like this, upsetting the crowd like this was huge. It was super fun for us and the fans."
"This was a blast. It was really loud," Rose said. "Tigard had a big student section, and our students came out, too. So it was good to come out and get a big win like this."
Tigard moved to 7-4 in TRL games (14-9 overall), putting the Tigers in third place in the league standings.
"Unfortunately, it didn't work out too well for us, but hats off to Tualatin," said Tigard sophomore Drew Carter, who scored 15 points. "They played a great game. It's a rivalry, and it's always going to be a good game. It was an unforgettable experience tonight."
Carter got off to a roaring start for the Tigers, scoring eight points in a span of 2 minutes and 48 seconds of the first quarter. He ended up with 13 points in the first half, which ended with the teams tied at 30-30.
But, as they have done more than once this season, the Wolves took off in the third quarter.
"Our coaches told us that the third quarter seems to be our quarter," Rose said. "We come out hot, and learn from our mistakes in the first half."
Rose opened the period with a basket on a 16-foot jumper. Then, following a 3-point play by Tigard senior Stevie Schlabach, Tualatin got back-to-back baskets by Dickson and senior Derek Leneve, giving the Wolves a 36-33 lead with 5:44 left in the quarter.
Tualatin didn't let up the rest of the period — all the way up to junior John Miller's steal and breakaway two-handed dunk with two seconds on the clock, giving the Wolves a 56-44 lead going into the fourth quarter.
For the period, Tualatin scored 26 points on 12-for-15 shooting from the field, with no turnovers.
The Wolves would push their lead to 61-48 after Dickson sank a 3-pointer with 5:48 left to play in the game. But that's when the Tigers started battling back — in a hurry.
Tigard seniors Diego Lopez and Jazz Ross each went 2 for 2 from the free throw line and Schlabach sank a 3-pointer to help trim the lead to 64-56 with 2:45 remaining. Lopez then came up with a steal and layup. Lopez followed that up with another backcourt steal and, after being fouled, he again went 2 for 2 from the stripe, cutting the margin to 64-60 with 2:22 left to play.
"Diego has a motor," Carter said. "He will go and go and go."
The Tigers got even closer, at 64-62, when Schlabach scored on a put-back shot with 1:53 remaining.
But Tualatin wouldn't give up the lead.
Leneve and Rose each went 2 for 2 from the free throw line, and senior Jason Wisler scored on a drive to the basket, giving the Wolves a 70-62 advantage with 1:10 remaining.
Tigard, trying to battle back again, got a basket on a drive by senior Jake Bullard and a 3-pointer by Lopez, making the score 71-67 with 38 seconds remaining. But a pair of late free throws by Dickson helped Tualatin wrap up the 73-67 victory.
"It got closer than we wanted it to. We had too many turnovers at the end, but we were able to step up and get it done," Dickson said. "It was key to stop Stevie and Drew, they're their big contributors. Between that, and the energy and intensity of the game, we were still able to execute on offense, and that was a big deal."
"They started pressing us, so we had to take care of the ball and knock down our free throws," Rose said. "We needed to keep our composure. We played loud music when we scrimmaged the past few days, so we were ready for the noise."
Dickson had six rebounds and two steals to go with his game-high 21 points. Miller added 20 points, eight rebounds and two steals. Rose scored 10 of his 16 points in the third quarter.
Tualatin, as a team, made 27 of 47 shots from the field, with five 3-pointers, and 14 of 19 free-throw attempts.
Schlabach led Tigard with 20 points. Lopez scored 19 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter, while also having seven rebounds and three steals. Carter had five rebounds to go with his 15 points. Ross added six points for the Tigers.
Tigard, as a team, made 21 of 55 shots from the field, with seven 3-pointers, and 18 of 23 free-throw attempts.
"I had a blast," Carter said. "We couldn't come out with a win, and that's the main goal, but we'll get back in the gym and keep working."
Both teams will finish their league schedule on Friday. Tigard will host Oregon City, and Tualatin will be home to face Lakeridge in 7 p.m. games. The Class 6A state playoffs will open Tuesday with first-round games. As of now, the Tigers and Wolves would both be in line to have home games in the first round.