The Tigers open tourney play by getting a 45-40 victory over Hermiston
by: DAN BROOD RISING UP — Tigard High School junior post Megan Risinger (right) goes up to the basket against Hermiston’s Gracie Flyg in Tuesday’s tournament game.

LAKE OSWEGO - Coming off a tough loss the week before, the Tigard High School girls basketball team thought it was absolutely essential to get back on the winning track.

Well, thanks to an impressive performance, the Tigers got just what they needed.

Tigard, a week after falling 52-49 to Clackamas, opened play at the Nike Interstate Shootout by powering its way to a 45-40 win over Hermiston in a Swoosh Bracket first-round game played Tuesday at Lakeridge High School.

'This was a big win for us,' said Tigard junior post Megan Risinger, who had eight points and six rebounds in the victory. 'We just had a tough loss, so we needed this to get back on the right track.'

'This was a good game for us,' Tigard junior guard Jessica Roshak added. 'It was a good way to get ready for league.'

Hermiston dropped to 5-3 on the season at that point with the setback. Tigard evened its season mark at 3-3 with the victory.

'It was a good win,' Tigard coach Steve Naylor said. 'It's a good opportunity to play against a team you don't know a lot about, and they're good. I think we were a little more patient on offense today and we got some good shots.'

Hermiston, in Tuesday's contest, took control early. The Bulldogs went up 9-4 when junior post Heidi Walchli put in a layup with 2 minutes and 11 seconds left in the first quarter.

The Tigers got baskets from sophomore guard Lexi Carter and senior post Maddie Black before the period ended, but Tigard still found itself facing a five-point deficit, at 13-8, going into the second quarter.

But that's where the Tigers started to come back. They cut the lead to 15-14 on a follow-up basket by Risinger coming with 5:39 left in the period.

Then, after Hermiston got a foul-line jumper by senior Andrea Waters, Tigard tied the game at 17-17 when Roshak drilled a three-pointer from the left corner with 4:53 remaining in the first half.

Hermiston answered with five straight points to take a 22-17 lead, but the Tigers came storming back again.

Sophomore Emilee Cincotta scored on a drive to the basket, junior post Meeka Mayhew had a follow-up bucket and Roshak connected on another three-point basket to tie the game at 24-24 at halftime.

Hermiston reclaimed the lead, at 26-24, on a basket by Waters to start the third quarter. But, with the Tigers playing pressure defense, the Bulldogs wouldn't be able to score again in the period.

Meanwhile, Tigard tied the game at 26-26 on a pair of free throws by Risinger and then the Tigers took the lead for good on a free throw by Roshak with 4:32 left in the quarter.

From there, Black scored five straight points and Carter hit a pull-up 14-foot jump shot to give Tigard a 34-26 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Tigard would then take its biggest lead of the game, at 36-27, when Cincotta sank a short-range jumper with 7:16 left in the game.

Hermiston fought back and cut the lead to 38-34 on a jumper by Waters with 4:14 remaining, but the Bulldogs weren't able to get any closer.

Black sank a turnaround jump shot off an assist from Roshak, Carter made a free throw after coming up with a steal and Risinger went 2-for-2 from the foul line to up the margin to 43-36 with 1:31 left in the contest.

A layup by Carter made the score 45-36. From there, Tigard cruised to the 45-40 victory.

'We had good team play,' Risinger said. 'We've been in a lot of games like this, and we stayed calm and collected.'

'We're not a team that panics,' Roshak added. 'And our team chemistry is getting a lot better.'

Black led a balanced Tigard scoring attack with 11 points. She also had seven rebounds and six blocked shots.

Roshak scored nine points and Carter had nine points to go with six steals. Cincotta added six points.

Tigard, as a team, made 18 of 39 shots from the field.

Hermiston shot at a 15-for-48 clip.

Hermiston senior guard Maloree Moss led all scorers with 14 points.

Tigard was scheduled to face St. Mary's in a Swoosh Bracket quarterfinal game on Wednesday. Results of that game weren't available when the Times went to press.

Tigard, if it won on Wednesday, will play in a Swoosh Bracket semifinal contest today (Thursday) at 6:30 p.m. If the Tigers lost on Wednesday, they'll play today at 3:30 p.m. The tournament runs through Friday.

Tigard will open defense of its Pacific Conference championship Tuesday when it hosts Forest Grove in a league opener starting at 7:15 p.m. at Tigard High School.

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