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The Timberwolves get a 15-6 victory in the battle for first place in the NWOC standings

PMG PHOTO: DAN BROOD - Tualatin High School junior Jacob Pickett (left) looks to get past Sherwood sophomore Jack Causey during Wednesday's game. Pickett scored four goals in the Wolves' 15-6 victory.TUALATIN — For the Tualatin High School boys lacrosse team, it's all about teamwork.

And, the Timberwolves used their efficient teamwork to pick up a key conference victory.

Tualatin, shining in all aspects of play, battled its way to a 15-6 win over Sherwood in a Northwest Oregon Conference showdown played May 1 at Tualatin High School.

"It was good. As a team, we worked together. It's always fun to get assists," said Tualatin junior midfielder Jacob Pickett, who led a balanced Timberwolf scoring attack with four goals. "We worked together as a team, as a pack. Getting face-offs, doing well on defense, and then finishing on offense."

"It was pretty good," Tualatin senior midfielder Alex Coco said. "This was one of our more successful games. For a team effort, that was one of our best games, for sure."

With the loss, Sherwood moved to 3-1 in NWOC games (4-8 overall), putting the Bowmen in second place in the conference standings. Tualatin improved to 4-0 in NWOC play (11-3 overall), leaving the Wolves all alone atop the conference standings. The victory also gave Tualatin a nine-game winning streak.

"Working hard every day, listening to the coaches and playing as a team," Pickett said, talking about what has been the key to the winning streak. "We're looking at state. We're really driven as a team. We've never been this good before, so we're going to keep working hard and see how far we can go."

PMG PHOTO: DAN BROOD - Tualatin junoir Axel Magarell (left) battles against Sherwood's Reece Barnard during the teams' NWOC showdown.PMG PHOTO: DAN BROOD - Sherwood's Grant Baysinger brings the ball up field during the Bowmen's NWOC game at Tualatin on Wednesday."This is real big," Coco said. "We're on a nine-game win streak now. We've been trusting ourselves and the potential we have this season, which is something Tualatin has never had before. We're just looking to play our game, not focus on the other team. We focus on pushing each other to be the best we can be."

The Wolves got off to a fast start in the showdown for first place in the NWOC standings. Goals by junior Kaelen Santana, Pickett and senior Pierce Hurych gave Tualatin a 3-0 lead with 8 minutes and 1 second left to play in the first quarter.

Sherwood cut the lead to 3-1 when senior Charlie Bulfinch scored off an assist from Jack Agnew with 7:02 left to play in the period. But the Tualatin defense, including senior Devin Boatsman, junior Colbey Alsop and senior Daniel Sexton, among others, didn't all the Bowmen to score again in the quarter.

Meanwhile, Tualatin, getting a goal by junior Ean Hildreth and another on a jumping bounce-shot by senior Macquire Asay later in the period, would take a 5-1 lead to the second quarter.

The Bowmen, battling back, got a pair of goals by sophomore Jack Causey to trim the lead to 6-3 with 7:54 left to play before halftime. Tualatin pushed the margin to 7-3 when Hildreth scored with 6:21 remaining in the second quarter.

PMG PHOTO: DAN BROOD - Sherwood High School junior Brody Stevens (2) battles Tualatin junior Jeff Jost for the ball in front of Timberwolf goalie Alex Buelna.PMG PHOTO: DAN BROOD - Tualatin junior Ean Hildreth (left) controls the ball in front of Sherwood senior Michael Klapp during Wednesday's game.Sherwood taking control of the ball late in the period, looked to get the final shot before halftime, but Pickett stopped those plans, coming up with a steal with 23 seconds left in the half, preserving the Wolves' four-goal lead at the intermission.

Sherwood opened the scoring in the third quarter, with junior Brody Stevens converting on a drive from the right side, trimming the lead to 7-4 with 9:44 left in the period. But, instead of giving momentum to the Bowmen, the goal seemed to fire up the Timberwolves.

Tualatin responded with a six-goal scoring spree. Junior Axel Magarell got things started with a goal coming on a shot from 20 yards away off a pass from Santana with 8:08 left in the period. Soon after, Hurych scored, and Coco followed that with a goal on a driving scoop shot, upping the Timberwolf lead to 10-4 with 6:38 remaining in the quarter.

From there, Tualatin added goals by Magarell, off an assist by Coco, another driving goal by Coco and a goal by Pickett, giving the Wolves a 13-4 advantage going into the fourth quarter.

"It was just communication," Coco said of the scoring spree. "The talent has always been there. We communicate in our offense, and put trust in each other. We all trust each other to put the ball in the back of the net and to be successful."

PMG PHOTO: DAN BROOD - Sherwood's Jack Agnew passes the ball during the Bowmen's NWOC game at Tualatin. The Wolves got a 15-6 win.PMG PHOTO: DAN BROOD - Tualatin's Ethan Mendoza (5) and Lachlan Paige play strong defense against Sherwood's Jack Causey during the teams' NWOC contest."Our coaching staff is always behind us, encouraging us," Pickett said. "When we get one goal, our coaching staff is up, and our players are up cheering us on to get the next one."

Pickett scored two more goals in the fourth quarter. Sherwood got a goal by Reece Barnard, off an assist by Bulfinch, and a goal by Stevens, off a pass by Cameron Pfiefer, in the final stanza, making the final score 15-6.

"As a team, we don't worry about the other team," Pickett said. "We just play our game and try and build momentum. Then the game kind of comes to us."

"This was a ton of fun," Coco said. "Sherwood is a talented team, and we play with a lot of these guys in the offseason. There was some fun, friendly trash talk out on the field."

In addition to Pickett's game-high four goals, Tualatin got two goals apiece from Coco, Magarell, Hurych and Hildreth. Santana, Asay and senior Dylan Lyman each scored one goal. Tualatin junior goalie Alex Buelna had seven saves.

Causey and Stevens each scored two goals for Sherwood. Bulfinch and Barnard had one goal apiece. Bowmen goalie Mason Kohne had eight saves.

PMG PHOTO: DAN BROOD - Sherwood's Cameron Pfiefer (left) looks to drive against Tualatin's Jacob Pickett during the teams' Northwest Oregon Conference showdown.PMG PHOTO: DAN BROOD - Tualatin High School junior Ean Hildreth (9) battles Sherwood's Jacob Schweitzer during the teams' NWOC showdown. The Wolves got a 15-6 victory.Both teams will be back in action on Friday. Tualatin will host Jesuit in a non-league game starting at 5:30 p.m. Sherwood will travel to Summit for an 8 p.m. non-league game. On Monday, Tualatin will host Tigard in an 8 p.m. conference game. Sherwood will host Tigard on Wednesday at 8 p.m.

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