Basketball: Tualatin boys top Tigard in rivalry battle
This one had most everything.
There was a large, loud crowd.
Plenty of intensity.
A fierce rivalry.
Big plays on both ends of the court.
And, for the Tualatin High School boys basketball team, it had one more thing — and impressive victory.
The Timberwolves, stepping up in a big way, scored a 60-45 win over rival Tigard in a Three Rivers League battle played Friday at Tigard High School.
"It's our rivalry game. You always want to win these," said Tualatin senior John Miller, who scored a team-high 17 points. "It went really well. For our team, I thought it was a step forward that we needed to take."
"It was a good win. We played well. We played hard. We matched their intensity, came out fast and played well as a team," said Tualatin sophomore Peter Burke, who scored 11 points in the contest. "It was a big one for us. We really wanted this. We really needed this win."
With the victory, its third straight, Tualatin improved to 3-2 in TRL play (9-8 overall), putting the Wolves in third place in the league standings.
"This is big, real big. We needed this," Burke said. "We started off slow (in league). Now, we're on a three-game winning streak. We're moving now. This is big for us. We're just playing well as a team, and our defensive has picked up a lot."
"After dropping some games early in the season, I think this shows we can hang with anyone," Miller said. "The second round will be really exciting."
With the setback, Tigard moved to 1-4 in TRL games (11-6 overall), putting the Tigers in a tie with Oregon City for fifth place in the league standings.
"It sucks for us, with the outcome, but both teams fought hard," said Tigard junior Drew Carter, who led all scorers in the game with 22 points. "They did very well. We got some good looks, but we just weren't knocking down the shots. We'll learn from that, and work on our shots. It's a tough league. We're kind of a young team, and we just have to work through that stuff, and learn from every game."
The young Tiger team got off to a strong start in Friday's rivalry game. Tigard junior Edward Beglaryan and Carter each sank 3-point baskets, helping the Tigers grab a quick 7-3 lead.
Tualatin came storming back. The Wolves, setting 3-pointers from Burke and junior Jackson Passaglia, a pair of free throws by sophomore Malik Ross and a basket on a short-range jumper by Miller, rallied to take a 14-9 lead with 2 minutes and 20 seconds left to play in the opening period.
Tigard, with Carter sinking a last-second 3-pointer off an assist from freshman Malik Brown, trimmed the margin to 14-12 going into second quarter.
The Wolves, getting a 3-pointer from senior Sam Noland to open the period, and then turning to strong defense, was able to keep the lead throughout the second quarter.
Tualatin, with Miller and Noland each scoring three points in the final 2:50 of the period, opened a 23-16 advantage going into the final seconds of the quarter.
But Tigard battled back. Carter sank a pair of free throws with 4.8 seconds left before halftime. Then, Tigard senior Steven Long, after coming up with a steal, was fouled on a 3-point attempt at the buzzer. He sank two of his three ensuing foul shots, with no time on the clock, cutting the Wolves' lead to 23-20 at the intermission.
The Tigers got a little closer early in the second half. Brown sank a free throw and junior Brett Moss had a follow-up basket, trimming the Tualatin lead to 25-23 with 6:46 remaining in the third quarter.
Tualatin responded. Miller sank a foul-line jumper and Ross scored on a short-range banker off a pass from Burke. That was the start of a big quarter for the ultra-quick Ross, who scored on three spectacular spinning, stop-and-go drives to the basket in the period. One of those driving hoops by Ross gave Tualatin a 35-29 lead with 3:16 left in the quarter.
Tigard, getting a 3-point play from Carter and a free throw by junior Jake Wihtol, trimmed the margin to 35-33 with 2:21 left in the quarter. But Tualatin closed the period with a 3-pointer by senior Bret Robert and another basket by Ross, giving the Wolves a 40-33 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Tualatin kept rolling in the final stanza. The Wolves opened the period with an 8-0 run, which included four straight points by Burke, a jumper by junior Noah Ogoli and a pair of free throws by Noland, giving Tualatin a 48-33 lead with 4:40 left in the game.
A pair of free throws by Miller gave the Wolves their biggest lead of the game, at 56-37, with 2:23 remaining to play.
From there, Tualatin cruised to the 60-45 win.
"As we're getting to the second half of league, this is a big one for us to keep moving off of," Burke said. "We had to try and shut down Drew, obviously. We had to play good defense and do what we needed to do."
"It was big. Everyone stepped up," Miller said. "Coach (Todd Jukkala) has really putting us into shape to get things done. We come into practice and work hard, and then go into games and get things done. This was so fun. It was the best experience."
Miller, playing in front of his future college football head coach, Oregon State University's Jonathan Smith, who was in attendance, had 11 rebounds to go with his team-high 17 points.
"I knew he was here, and (OSU linebackers) coach (Trent) Bray. It was exciting to have them come watch. It was even more motivation for me to keep cool, and do what I can do," Miller said. "I felt I played pretty solid. I played pretty good defense, and got the shots I wanted. I wish I could have found more teammates in the corners, hitting threes, but it was a good game and a good team win."
Ross added 12 points for the Wolves, including 10 in the second half. Burke scored 11 points, including eight in the second half. Noland had 10 points, five rebounds and two assists.
Tualatin, as a team, made 20 of 38 shots from the field, with five 3-pointers, and 15 of 19 free-throw attempts.
"This was a real fun atmosphere. Everyone was loud," Burke said. "It was a big-time game. You get into it out there, when everyone is yelling at you. This was fun."
In addition to Carter's 22 points, the Tigers got eight points from Moss, five from Wihtol and three each from Beglaryan and Malik Brown. Long and freshman Kalim Brown each scored two.
Tigard, as a team, made 14 of 53 shots from the field, with four 3-pointers, and 13 of 24 free-throw attempts.
"It was a really good high school game, with a really fun atmosphere," Carter said. "We'll knock down our shots next time."
Both teams will be back in action with league games on Wednesday. Tigard will play at Oregon City at 5:45 p.m. Tualatin will travel to Lakeridge for a 7 p.m. game. On Friday, Tualatin will play at Lake Oswego and Tigard will travel to Canby for 7 p.m. league games.
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