There are no easy nights in Three Rivers League boys basketball and Tualatin knows that as well as anyone.
The Timberwolves got a reminder of just how true that was in their 2020 TRL opener, dropping a 65-50 decision to talented Lake Oswego at Tualatin High School on Tuesday, Jan. 14.
With the win, the Lakers — 10th-ranked in the latest Class 6A coaches poll — snapped a two-game losing streak and improved to 1-0 in Three Rivers League play and 5-7 overall. Tualatin, meanwhile, saw its two-game winning streak snapped and fell to 0-1 in TRL play and 6-7 overall.
After a bit of back and forth in the game's first three minutes, the Lakers took control with a 14-2 run over the final 4:51 of the period. That stretch included two baskets by junior post Trace Salton and 3-pointers by both senior Sam Abere and junior Jack Woolf, with Woolf taking a pass from senior Jack Chlumak and burying a "three" from the right corner to give the Lakers an 18-7 lead with just three seconds left in the period.
For Tualatin, senior Sam Noland scored five points in the period (including a 3-pointer), but the Timberwolves made just 3 of 14 shots from the field in the quarter and turned the ball over five times.
The Lakers kept the pressure on in the second quarter, too, extending their lead to 31-16 when senior post Grant Brauner hit a "three" assisted by Abere with 2:51 remaining in the first half. Brauner hit three straight shots in the period and scored seven points in less than three minutes, while Chlumak and Salton added four points each.
Tualatin was outscored just 17-16 in the period, but trailed 35-23 at the break, with T-Wolf sophomore Peter Burke coming through with seven points and junior Jackson Passaglia adding another five.
The Lakers then opened the third quarter with a 10-0 run that pushed their lead to 45-23 when Abere hit a pull-up jumpshot midway through the frame. Chlumak, senior Casey Graver and Salton had four points each in the period, while Tualatin got three each from Noland and senior Bret Robert and fell behind 51-33 at the end of the quarter.
After the Lakers extended their lead to 59-38 on a Graver hoop in the key midway through the fourth, the Timberwolves pieced together a 12-4 run that brought them within 63-50, but it was too little and too late. Noland scored seven points in the period, including a three-point play that cut his team's deficit to 13 points with just 16 seconds left to play. The Lakers, meanwhile, got four points each in the fourth from junior Grayden Smith, Salton and Brauner.
For the game, Noland finished with 15 points on 6 of 11 shooting from the field (with one "three") and a 2 of 2 day at the line, along with three rebounds and two steals, while Burke ended with 11 points.
For Lake Oswego, Salton led all scorers with 18 points on 9 of 15 shooting from the field, along with seven rebounds, two steals and two assists. Brauner came off the bench to score 11 points 5 of 7 shooting from the field (including one 3-pointer), along with three rebounds, one block and one steal.
Chlumak added 12 points, Graver had eight points and eight rebounds, and Smith scored six.
Next up, Tualatin plays at West Linn at 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17, while the Lakers host Oregon City at 7 p.m. Friday.
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