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Timberwolves turn up the pressure

Boys basketball: Tualatin shuts down Franklin in the second half of its 42-34 victory
by: DAN BROOD GREAT SCOTT — Tualatin High School junior Connor Scott (22) looks to drive to the basket between Franklin’s Damon Stubblefield (left) and Damian Woods.

TUALATIN - After suffering a bit of a rough start in its game with Franklin, the Tualatin High School boys basketball team was determined to do two things in the second half.

The Timberwolves wanted to pound the ball inside on offense and turn up the defensive pressure on defense.

Done and done.

And Tualatin got an impressive come-from-behind win to show for it.

The Wolves, after trailing 16-6 just six minutes into the contest, powered their way to a 42-34 victory over Franklin in a non-league game played Friday at Tualatin High School.

'This was an important win for us,' said Tualatin senior post Brody Richter, who had 13 points and 14 rebounds in the victory. 'We just beat Lincoln (a 49-46 road victory on Dec. 6), and if we would have lost this one, all the hard work we put in would have been undone.'

Franklin saw its season record move to 1-2 at that point with the setback. Tualatin improved to 2-1 on the season.

'It was a good win,' Tualatin coach Rick Osborn said. 'We did some good things on defense.'

But, at the beginning, Franklin took control.

The Quakers, with senior Moses Herlic sinking a pair of three-pointers and with senior Cody Harris adding yet another three-pointer, opened up a 16-6 lead with 1 minute and 58 seconds left in the first quarter.

'I think we underestimated them a bit,' Richter said.

Tualatin junior guard Connor Scott sank a pair of free throws to end the opening period, making the score 16-8 going into the second quarter.

Scott scored on a layup off a pass from senior Drew Ness to start the second quarter and Richter followed with a put-back basket to make the score 16-12.

After a Franklin basket, Tualatin senior post Brad Barrow scored four straight points to trim the margin to 18-16. Richter than sank a turnaround jumper off an assist from senior guard Nathan Suyematsu to tie the game at 18-18 with 3:34 left in the first half.

Franklin, getting a pair of baskets from senior Damian Woods late in the period, would come back to take a 22-20 lead at halftime.

But Tualatin started the second half determined to work the ball inside - and that paid off in a big way for the Wolves.

Richter opened the scoring in the third quarter with a three-foot jumper off a pass from Suyematsu. He followed that up with two more baskets, both coming off assists from Scott, to give Tualatin a 26-22 lead with 6:11 left in the period.

'I was fired-up,' Richter said with a smile. 'We wanted to get the ball inside in the second half. I did what I had to do.'

The Wolves, getting a steal and layup by junior C.J. Michael, upped their lead to 31-27 with 2:07 left in the quarter. The score was 32-27 after Richter sank a free throw with 49.2 seconds left in the quarter. But Franklin, with Herlic connecting on an 18-foot jumper with one second left in the period, cut the lead to 32-29 going into the fourth quarter.

Tualatin then quickly pulled away early in the final stanza. Senior post Spencer Bateman scored on a follow-up shot and Ness followed with a three-point basket off an assist from Bateman to push the margin to 37-29 with 6:24 left in the contest.

Suyematsu then went 5-for-6 from the free throw line in the final 46.1 seconds to wrap up the 42-34 victory.

'Defense was big for us,' Richter said. 'We keyed on two players and we locked down those two guys.'

Tualatin senior Brandon Durdel, coming off a strong defensive effort in the win over Lincoln, was strong again on the defensive end of the court for the Wolves in the victory over Franklin.

Meanwhile, Richter helped limit 6-foot-5 Franklin senior post Brad Prazeau to just four points.

'Brody played a great game,' Osborn said. 'He played good defense and didn't pick up any senseless fouls.'

Richter had five of his game-high 14 rebounds on the offensive end of the court and he also had a pair of steals.

Suyematsu added seven points for the Wolves while Scott had five. Senior post Jacob Gifford and Barrow added four points apiece.

On the defensive end, Tualatin helped force Franklin into a 13-for-39 shooting night from the field. The Quakers made just four of 16 field-goal attempts in the second half. Tualatin also helped force Franklin into 14 turnovers in the second half.

Woods led all scorers with 14 points. Herlic added 12 points for the Quakers.

Tualatin, on Tuesday, won 63-57 at Southridge to move to 3-1 on the season.

Suyematsu led the way with 28 points in the victory. Richter added 16 points and Barrow scored nine.

The Wolves will be back in action Friday when they host Jesuit in a non-league game starting at 7:15 p.m. On Monday, Tualatin opens play at the Lakeside Holiday Classic, being held at Lakeridge High School, with a 5 p.m. tourney game with Milwaukie.