Energetic Tigard rolls past Lakeridge
The Tigard High School boys basketball team was determined — very determined.
After letting their first two Three Rivers League games slip away, the Tigers weren't going to be denied.
They were ready to do whatever it took to get their first league victory.
And, thanks to an impressive, energetic performance, Tigard got it.
The Tigers, taking control from the start, and never letting go of it, ran to a 72-51 win over Lakeridge in a Three Rivers League contest played Friday at Tigard High School.
"We did not want to lose again," said Tigard junior wing Drew Carter, who led all scorers in the game with 24 points. "After losing two tough games (against Canby and West Linn), we knew we had to come out with a win this game."
"It went well. We executed well," said Tigard freshman guard Kalim Brown, who provided the Tigers with a spark on both ends of the court. "We passed the ball, we moved it, and we knocked down shots. We just had a lot of energy. We knew we had to come out with energy to get this win, because the last two games, we didn't have the energy. We competed way harder, and that got us the 'dub.'"
With the loss, Lakeridge moved to 0-4 in TRL play (5-11 overall), putting the Pacers in seventh place in the league standings. Tigard improved to 1-2 in TRL games (11-4 overall), putting the Tigers in a tie with Tualatin for fourth place in the league standings.
"It was great. It felt really good," Carter said. "We needed to get a win underneath our belt. It was definitely important, for our confidence. We knew, the last two games, we didn't play at our level. This game, we did play at our level."
"This was really important, because it's going to get us motivated," Brown said. "We're going to have more momentum for the next game against Lake Oswego next week."
The Tigers certainly seemed motivated, right from the start, in Friday's game with Lakeridge.
Brown opened the scoring with a basket on a drive to the hoop, and Carter followed with three straight points, giving Tigard a 5-0 lead just 1 minute and 33 seconds into the contest. The Tigers kept rolling from there.
Tiger junior post Edward Beglaryan sank a 3-pointer and scored seven points in a span of 1:26 later in the period. Carter scored 10 points in the first quarter, which ended with Tigard holding a 25-11 lead.
In the opening period, the Tigers shot at a 9-for-14 clip from the field, while helping force Lakeridge into seven turnovers.
Tigard kept rolling in the second quarter. Tiger senior post Dylan Berg opened the period with a short-range banker off an assist by Carter. Berg then assisted on layups by Carter and Beglaryan, and a 3-pointer by Carter, giving Tigard a 34-13 lead with 3:50 left before halftime.
Then, after Lakeridge got a basket on a short-range jumper by senior Eric Struik, Brown ignited another Tigard run with a 3-pointer from the left corner, coming off a pass by Carter. Freshman Malik Brown followed with a layup, following a steal by Kalim Brown, and junior Brett Moss had a steal and breakaway dunk to give Tigard a 41-15 advantage with 1:51 remaining in the quarter.
Tiger junior Jake Wihtol scored four straight points later in the period, and junior Robby Harbury had added a buzzer-beating follow-up hoop, giving Tigard a commanding 47-21 halftime lead.
Kalim Brown and Moss each went 2 for 2 from the free-throw line to open the third quarter, giving the Tigers their biggest lead of the game, at 51-21, with 7:17 left in the period.
The Tigard lead was still 30, at 59-29, after Berg put in a bank shot with 3:45 left in the quarter. Lakeridge, to its credit, kept fighting and ended the period with three straight 3-pointers, including a buzzer-beating running 3-point bank shot, coming from just inside the mid-court stripe, by sophomore Rylan Lafaye, making the score 59-38 going into the fourth quarter.
The highlight of the final stanza were spectacular back-to-back dunks by Carter. The first was a one-handed slam, coming off an alley-oop pass from Beglaryan.
"It was good," Carter said with a smile. "Edward made the pass. He threw it a little early, and I was going to go with two hands, but my second hand didn't get up there, so I just threw it with one."
Moments later, Carter came up with a steal and breakaway two-handed dunk, which he threw down with authority, giving the Tigers a 65-41 lead with 4:56 left to play in the game.
"It was a good crowd-booster, and a great way to end the game," Carter said of his back-to-back dunks.
From there, Tigard cruised to the 72-51 victory.
"This was super fun," Kalim Brown said. "We we got defensive stops, that gave us more momentum, and we just kept getting stops and stops."
"We turned up the intensity. We came in with a vision tonight," Carter said. "Everyone played great. It was a great team win. I thought we moved the ball really well, and played well as a team."
In addition to his game-high 24 points, Carter also had six rebounds and five assists in the win. Berg had 10 points and seven rebounds, coming off the bench. Kalim Brown had nine points, six rebounds and four steals.
"I'm trying my best, trying my hardest, just giving it my all," he said with a smile.
"I love it, he is a feisty guy," Carter said. "They're both (Kalim and Malik Brown) fun to watch."
Beglaryan scored nine points. Malik Brown had six points, seven assists and four rebounds. Wihtol scored six points, and Moss had four points, seven rebounds and a pair of blocked shots.
Tigard, as a team, made 27 of 64 shots from the field, with four 3-pointers, and 14 of 16 free-throw attempts.
"We can definitely build on this," Carter said. "We're a great team, but we didn't play that way against Canby and West Linn. We just have to build off this, and we'll be just fine."
Senior Aaron Buck led Lakeridge with 11 points. Struik and Lafaye each added 10 points for the Pacers.
Lakeridge, as a team, made 18 of 56 shots from the field, with five 3-pointers, and 10 of 16 free-throw attempts.
Tigard will be back in action on Tuesday, when it plays at Lake Oswego in a Three Rivers League game starting at 7 p.m. Lakeridge will next play on Jan. 31, when it will be home to face Oregon City in a 7 p.m. league contest.
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