Basketball -- The young Tualatin boys squad looks to keep improving and learning
by: DAN BROOD, TO THE BASKET — Tualatin junior Matt Losli (left) goes past Centennial’s Kyle Warner and up to the basket in Tuesday’s game. The Eagles won in overtime.

TUALATIN - The young Tualatin High School boys basketball team is looking to learn and gain experience each game out.

The Timberwolves did both of those things Tuesday. The only thing they didn't do was win - but they came real close to doing that as well.

Tualatin dropped its first game of the season Tuesday as it was edged 79-78, in overtime, by Centennial in a non-league game played at Tualatin High School.

'We lost a lot of seniors from last year,' Tualatin junior Matt Losli said after the game. 'We're just trying to improve every game. It's coming along.'

Centennial evened its early-season record at 1-1 with the win. Tualatin is also now 1-1 on the season.

The Wolves, led by sophomore forward Brandon Troxel, got off to a fast start in Tuesday's game. Troxel scored 15 first-quarter points, sinking three three-point baskets in the process, to help Tualatin grab a 22-17 lead at the end of the period.

Tualatin, getting a steal and a layup by senior guard Chris Reid and back-to-back baskets by Losli, opened up its biggest lead of the game, at 34-24, with 4 minutes and 27 seconds to play in the second quarter. But Centennial battled back to trim the Timberwolf advantage to 40-39 at halftime.

The Eagles continued to come back strong in the third quarter. The third of Diallo Gaston's three three-points in the period gave Centennial a 52-50 lead with 2:21 to play in the quarter. But Tualatin, getting a steal and layup by Reid and a pair of free throws by Troxel, came back to take a 54-52 advantage going into the fourth quarter.

The Eagles came soaring back again. They went on an 11-0 run, which included seven straight points by junior Ryan Mosqueda, to take a 65-58 lead with 4:01 left in the contest.

But now it was Tualatin's turn to rally. Reid sank a pair of free throws and Losli scored five straight points, including a three-point play following a steal and pass from Reid, to trim the margin to 68-67 with 53 seconds left in regulation.

Centennial pushed the lead to 70-67 on a layup by sophomore Dexter Morrison with 39 seconds to play. But Tualatin, again, tied the game, at 70-70 when senior Michael Nelson sank a three-point basket, off an assist from junior Danny Rauda, with 24 seconds remaining.

Gaston connected on a pair of free throws with 17 seconds left to give Centennial a 72-70 lead, but Reid scored on a drive with 4 seconds to play to tie the game at 72-27 and send the contest into overtime.

Centennial, getting a pair of free throws from each Mosqueda and senior Lee Powers, jumped out to a 76-72 lead in the extra session. The Eagles upped their lead to 79-74 on a free throw by Gaston with 1:14 remaining.

But another three-point by Nelson, this one off a pass from Reid, made the score 79-77 with 1:02 to play. A free throw by Rauda got the Wolves even closer, at 79-78, with 37 seconds to play.

Tualatin then regained possession on a jump ball with 25 seconds to play. But, Reid's driving scoop shot with 1 second remaining hit the front rim, leaving Centennial with its 79-78 win.

'We have to execute the gameplan better,' Losli said. 'We're trying to learn from each game and I think we learned some things tonight.'

'We're young and we have a lot of potential to improve,' Tualatin coach Rick Osborn said. 'Everything is new to these guys.'

Troxel led all scorers in the contest with 26 points. He also pulled down 10 rebounds.

'Things are going pretty good,' he said. 'But we've all had to make adjustments.'

Losli scored 14 points and Reid added 13. Nelson and sophomore post A.J. Freeman each scored nine points.

Gaston led Centennial with 25 points.

Tualatin opened its season Friday with a 56-45 home win over West Salem. Losli had 15 points in that game and Troxel had 11.

The Wolves will be back in action Friday when they play at Sheldon. On Tuesday, Tualatin plays at Jesuit at 7:30 p.m.

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