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Turnovers, Grant take their toll on Tualatin in tourney opener

Boys basketball: Tualatin plays tough on defense, but can't get its offense going in 48-37 loss
by: JONATHAN HOUSE, SYMONDS SAYS — Tualatin junior Brian Symonds shoots over a pair of Grant defenders.

EUGENE - Too many mistakes.

Too many turnovers. Too much Grant.

Put it all together and it was too much for the Wolves to overcome in their state tourney opener.

Portland Interscholastic League champion Grant, taking advantage of Tualatin's miscues, scored a 48-37 win over the Wolves in a Class 6A boys basketball state tournament quarterfinal game played last Thursday at McArthur Court.

'It's tough,' Tualatin senior guard Mick Bies said after the game. 'They have some good athletes and we made a few too many mistakes. We had too many turnovers. That was the turning point.'

Grant, with the quarterfinal win, improved to 20-6 on the season and advanced to face North Medford in a state tournament semifinal game.

Tualatin, playing its first state-tourney game since 2003, fell to 19-6 on the season with the loss.

'Our kids are new to the tournament, and we played like it,' Tualatin coach Rick Osborn said. 'The kids played hard, but we had too many turnovers. That's been our problem all season, and you can't do that when you're playing at this level.'

Tualatin went into the game with a goal of holding Grant under 60 points. Going into the tournament, the Generals were 19-0 on the season when scoring 60 or more points and they were 0-6 when scoring under 60 points.

The Wolves looked to be up to the task on defense, limiting Grant to 48 points on a 17-for-44 shooting, but they couldn't seem to get past their own offensive woes, which included 22 turnovers.

Tualatin had six of those turnovers in the first quarter. Bies sank a pair of three-pointers in the period, and senior Matt Losli added three free throws to keep the Wolves close as they trailed 13-9 going into the second quarter.

But the turnover problems continued to plague the Wolves in the second quarter. They had seven turnovers while getting off only three shots from the field in the period.

'We just didn't get enough shots,' Osborn said.

The Generals, getting a three-pointer by junior Michael Fendall and free throw by senior Daniel Collins, opened up a 25-12 lead with 1 minute and 49 seconds left in the second quarter.

Tualatin, getting a layup by senior Jordan Highland off a lob pass by junior Eric Kjemperud and a pair of free throws by junior post Anthony Freeman, Jr., cut the Grant lead to 25-16 at halftime.

The Wolves seemed to be more in rhythm in the third quarter. Freeman had a pair of baskets and Bies scored on a reverse layup off a long pass from junior Brandon Troxel to close within seven of the Generals, at 29-22, with 4:10 left in the period.

Baskets by Troxel and Bies kept Tualatin within seven, but the Generals got a last-second three-pointer by senior Michael James to claim a 36-26 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Timberwolf junior guard Brian Symonds sank a five-foot jumper to start the fourth quarter, cutting the lead to 36-28, but Tualatin couldn't get closer.

James and junior post Michael Moser each had breakaway dunks for the Generals in the fourth quarter as they went on to claim the 48-37 victory.

'We tried our best,' Bies said. 'Our goal was to slow the game down, keep them under 60 and keep them from getting fast breaks. No one quit and we played hard, but they have some very good athletes.

'I think we'll come back strong tomorrow. We still are looking for a trophy.'

Bies was Tualatin's leading scorer with 10 points. Freeman and Highland each scored seven points. Troxel topped the team with eight rebounds.

Moser topped the Generals with 15 points. Senior Paul McCoy had 12 points and 11 rebounds.