The Canby High School boys basketball team held Tualatin to one of its lowest scoring games of the season.
But the Timberwolves' defense was just as stingy, and maybe even a little more.
Tualatin, behind its strong defensive effort, came away with a 45-42 win over the Cougars in a Three Rivers League game played Friday at Canby High School.
"We know they're a great team and right now we're ranked below them so we came in with a chip on our shoulder," Tualatin sophomore guard Malik Ross said. "We just came here fired up and ready to go."
"At the start of the game they were playing hard defense and we knew we had to play hard defense because that was the only way we could win," said Canby junior Diego Arredondo, who led the Cougars with 14 points. "They're very good at keeping you from the hole, which is something we like to do as a team. It just makes it hard. We can't do what we want."
With the victory, Tualatin improved to 5-5 in TRL play (11-11 overall), putting the Wolves in a tie with rival Tigard for third place in the league standings. Canby moved to 5-6 in TRL play (11-12 overall), putting the Cougars in fifth place in the league standings.
"Our transition defense was not very good," Canby coach Craig Evans said. "We probably spent 20 minutes yesterday in practice just on transition defense and stopping the ball and it didn't translate to the game. They ended the half on two wide open lay-ins on fast breaks. Those little momentum killers really changed the outcome of the game."
After not scoring its first field goal until nearly five minutes into the game on a Chance Miller 3-pointer, and then falling behind 11-5, Arredondo and Canby junior Tyler Mead hit back-to-back 3s to tie the contest at 11-11.
Sophomore Alexander Evans then buried a 3-pointer to give Canby a 14-11 lead with 5:30 remaining in the second quarter.
The Cougars then led 19-15 after a 3-point play by Arredando.
But Tualatin sophomore guard Noah Ogoli and senior wing Bret Robert scored on consecutive layups to tie the game at 19-19 at halftime.
"Our transition defense wasn't great," Arredondo said. "We weren't getting back well. They got a lot of lay-ins, which isn't something we normally give up."
The Cougars held on to a 35-31 lead entering the fourth quarter. But Tualatin junior Carson Denning knocked down a 3-pointer and senior John Miller scored on a put-back shot off a steal to give the Timberwolves a 36-35 lead with 5:42 to go.
Canby never led again.
"It hurts because we're up four, and then it goes away," Arredondo said. "We couldn't get it back. It's frustrating sometimes because we're so close."
Ross scored six of the Timberwolves final seven points to finish off the Cougars.
"I work on my game a lot and I work for moments like that," said Ross, who scored a team-high 11 points. "When it gets that close and the pressure is on, you've just got to get buckets and get the win. It was a fun game. Their crowd was loud and in games like that you've just got to cut the noise out and play your game. We did our job. We played team basketball and got the win."
Miller and Robert each scored eight points for the Wolves in the win. Ogoli added seven.
Mead scored eight points for Canby. Miller and Riley Knutson each added six points in the loss.
Both teams will be back in action on Wednesday. The Cougars will be home to face Lake Oswego at 7 p.m., and Tualatin will host Tigard at 7:15 p.m.
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