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Tualatin, Grant to open state tourney play today

Boys basketball: The game is set for a 1:30 p.m. start in Eugene
by: DAN BROOD, STAYING STRONG — Tualatin junior Anthony Freeman (50) battles against Lake Oswego’s Max Jacobsen (left) and Cody Randall in Saturday’s game.

EUGENE - For members of the Tualatin High School boys basketball team, it's going to be a new experience.

For Tualatin coach Rick Osborn, it's going to be a homecoming of sorts.

And they're all pretty happy about.

The Timberwolves earned the school's first berth to the state tournament since 2003 by scoring a 54-46 overtime win against Lake Oswego in a Class 6A state playoff second round game held Saturday at Tualatin High School.

The Wolves, with the win, met a season-long goal of qualifying for the Class 6A state tournament, which starts today (Thursday) at McArthur Court in Eugene.

'I can't wait,' Tualatin senior Mick Bies said following the victory over Lake Oswego. 'We really wanted to get coach back there. He's told us so many stories about playing there. It's going to be fun.'

For Osborn, it will be a welcome return to McArthur Court as he played college basketball in that building for the University of Oregon.

'I'm glad to be going back,' Osborn said with a smile.

But, while the Timberwolf players and coaches are happy about qualifying for the state tournament, they know that there's still business to be taken care of.

That business starts today when Tualatin opens tourney play against Grant in a quarterfinal game starting at 1:30 p.m.

'The key for us starts here on Monday,' Tualatin senior Matt Losli said following the playoff victory Saturday night. 'We'll work hard and we'll get prepared.'

Grant, the Portland Interscholastic League champion, brings an overall record of 19-6 to the state tournament. The Generals beat Gresham 75-50 and, on Saturday, they beat Westview 73-57 in state playoff action to earn a tournament berth.

Grant is led by 6-foot-8 junior post Mike Moser and senior guard Paul McCoy (6-0), who were both first team All-PIL selections. Grant senior guard Mike James (6-0) was a second-team All-PIL selection while sophomore guard Kenneth Acker was an honorable mention pick.

'We'll prepare for them and give it our best,' Bies said.

Tualatin, the Pacific Conference champion, enters the state tournament with an overall record of 19-5.

Bies leads a balanced Timberwolf scoring attack with an average of 12.2 points a game. Losli is scoring at a 12.0 average, junior post Anthony Freeman, Jr., has scored at a 9.0 clip for the season and junior post Brandon Troxel has an 8.4 points a game average.

Losli was a first-team All-Pacific Conference pick while Bies, Freeman and Troxel were all second-team selection. Junior post Taylor Hart was an honorable mention pick.

Other schools in the eight-team state tournament field are Barlow, Central Catholic, North Medford, Oregon City, South Medford and Sunset.

The winner of today's Tualatin-Grant game will meet either Barlow or North Medford in a semifinal game Friday at 3:15 p.m. The loser of the Tualatin-Grant contest will face Barlow or North Medford in a fourth-place semifinal game Friday at 9 a.m.

'We've had a goal all season of getting to state,' Bies said. 'Now we want a state championship.'

The Class 6A state championship game is scheduled to be played Saturday at 8:30 p.m.