Tigard girls' three seniors go out in style
PORTLAND — There were just 38 seconds left to play in the Class 6A girls basketball state tournament fourth-place game.
A foul was called, and the Tigard High School girls basketball team, leading Three Rivers League rival West Linn 44-31 at that point in the game being played Saturday at the University of Portland's Chiles Center, sent in some substitutes.
Out of the game came Campbell Gray, Paige LaFountain and Dani Lyons.
And an era ended.
Gray, LaFountain and Lyons, all Tigard seniors, were coming off the court for the very last time as Tigers.
There were smiles, there were hugs, there was rejoicing as the three veterans came to the sidelines.
"I thought it would be emotional, and it was," Lyons said. "I thought I was going to cry, but it was more exciting. It was more of a happy moment, than a sad moment."
And there was certainly a lot to be excited about.
Gray and LaFountain, both guards, have been on the Tigard varsity roster the past four years, with Gray being a four-year starter. Lyons joined the Tigard varsity as a sophomore.
"We've been playing since eighth grade, and being on the same team for so long, it's been so much fun," LaFountain said. "I'm sad that it's over, but it's been such fun, and we're going to stay friends for a long time. I'm just glad I got to have this experience with them."
Gray and LaFountain have certainly experienced plenty of success in their four years on the Tigard varsity. As freshmen, they helped the Tigers reach the Class 6A state tournament championship game, with Gray earning All-State Tournament second-team honors. They were also key players for the Tiger squad that placed fourth at the state tournament both last year, when Gray was again a second-team all-tourney pick, and this year, where Gray garnering first-team all-tournament honors.
During their four years at Tigard, the Tiger teams had an overall record of 95-19.
Lyons joined the Tigard varsity as a sophomore. She was forced into the starting lineup at post that year when then-senior Natalie Clark suffered a season-ending knee injury. Lyons has been a fixture there ever since.
"The program has meant a lot to us," Gray said. "We love everyone to death — all of our teammates, all of our coaches. It's been a fun run."
And the three seniors also meant a lot to the Tigers.
"I'm so proud of them," Tigard head coach Steve Naylor said. "These girls have put so much into this program and the team. This senior class is one of the best I've ever had. They're great girls on the court, and great girls off the court. We're going to miss them."
"They meant a lot to us," Tigard sophomore Ajae Holdman said of the seniors. "I know that they taught everyone so much, including me. I've only known them for two years, but every year, they gave me so much, and they helped me become the player I am today."
The three seniors certainly seemed to go out in style, helping lead the Tigers to a 44-34 victory over West Linn in Saturday's state tourney fourth-place game.
Gray, despite playing on an injured ankle, scored a game-high 24 points, going 7 for 11 from the field. She also had seven rebounds. Lyons had a spectacular performance from 3-point range, shooting at a 5-for-7 clip from beyond the arc, while scoring a total of 17 points. LaFountain, running the Tiger offense from the point, had six rebounds and a team-high three assists.
"We were going to go down swinging and fighting, if that's what it took," Lyons said. "We did not want to lose to West Linn."
"We all knew, with this being our last game, that we all needed to put everything out there," LaFountain said. "We had nothing to lose, and credit to Dani for hitting so many 3s. We always knew she was a good shooter, but going off like that, we're so proud of her, and very happy. It was great."
Gray is going to play college basketball at the University of California, Davis. Lyons is going to play at Clackamas Community College.