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Tigers get off to a winning start

Boys basketball -- Tigard gets off to big early lead and then holds off the Eagles
by: DAN BROOD, TALL TIGER — Tigard senior post K.C. Wiser (5) looks to go up to the basket in the Tigers’ opener with Centennial. Wiser had nine points and eight rebounds in the win.

TIGARD - For the Tigers, it was a pretty good way to start the season.

Not only did they pick up a win over Centennial on Friday, but they also may have learned an early-season lesson that could help them out down the road.

The Tigard High School boys basketball team opened up a 27-point third quarter lead and then held off a furious fourth-quarter rally to score a 60-48 win over the Eagles in a non-league game played at Tigard. It was the first game of the season for both squads.

'Not bad,' Tigard senior guard Josh Harbolt, who paced the Tigers with 20 points, said after the win. 'We played pretty well for the first three quarters and then we let up a little bit in the fourth quarter. We can't do that - we learned from that. We definitely have a lot to work on.'

Still, the Tigers say, getting off to a winning start to the season was a good thing.

'It's important,' Tigard coach Shawn Alderman said. 'It's good to get a positive feeling going.'

'It builds confidence,' Harbolt said. 'It gets things rolling.'

Harbolt scored five points in the first quarter of the contest and senior post K.C. Wiser poured in seven points in the opening period to help the Tigers jump out to a 16-9 lead.

Tigard, turning up the defensive pressure, added to the margin in the second quarter. The Tigers, forcing five turnovers, limited Centennial to just seven points in the period as they pushed their lead to 32-16 at halftime.

Tigard, with senior Reed Aden and junior Ryan Gorton each scoring four points, and with Harbolt sinking a three-pointer off an assist from senior Shawn Driskill, scored the first 11 points of the third quarter to up their lead to 43-16.

Tigard ended up taking a seemingly-safe 45-24 lead into the fourth quarter.

But that's when the Eagles, specifically senior wing Diallo Gaston, came alive.

Gaston scored 18 points in the final stanza to lead the Centennial comeback attempt. He scored eight straight points, connecting on a pair of three-pointers in the process, to help the Eagles trim the Tiger lead to 53-45 with 2 minutes and 2 seconds left to play. But Centennial couldn't get any closer. Harbolt went 4-for-4 from the foul line and Aden scored three points in the final 1:21 of the contest as Tigard closed out its victory.

'We played a pretty decent three quarters,' Alderman said. 'We did a pretty good job on defense, especially in the second and third quarters. But, for some reason, we didn't handle the pressure in the fourth quarter. We have to lead to play better with the lead.'

In addition to his team-high 20 points, Harbolt also dished out three assists in the win. Aden added 13 points and picked up three charging calls on the defensive end.

'Reed Aden played exceptionally well,' Harbolt said.

Gorton scored 12 points and Wiser had nine points to go with eight rebounds and three assists for Tigard in the victory.

As a team, the Tigers made 21 of 40 shots from the field and they shot at a 15-for-27 clip from the foul line. They also outrebounded Centennial by a 26-18 margin.

Gaston paced the Eagles with a game-high 28 points. Junior Ryan Mosqueda added eight points. Centennial made 17 of 43 shots from the field and seven of 11 foul shots.

On Tuesday, Tigard fell 65-50 at Lincoln. Gorton scored 19 points in that game.

The Tigers will be back in action Friday when they host David Douglas in a game starting at 7:30 p.m.