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Tigers dispatch the Lakers at home

NHS surges in the second half to earn the important Three Rivers League win over Lake Oswego

Make it four in a row for the Newberg boys basketball team.

Despite a slow start Friday, Newberg (8-5 Three Rivers Conference, 16-7 overall) used a key 8-0 run in the third quarter and went on to score a 56-43 home win against Lake Oswego. It was Newberg’s fourth straight win.GARY ALLEN - Anthony Garcia lays in the ball in the Tigers' win over the Lakers Friday night in Newberg.

The Tigers trailed most of the first half, including digging themselves a 12-5 hole in the opening quarter, and had to settle for a 25-22 halftime deficit as Lake Oswego’s James Schilling hit a three-pointer with one second remaining to play in the second quarter.

In the third, Newberg took control behind the play of BJ Ulloa, Anthony Garcia and Kaden Ogles. A hoop by Garcia gave the Tigers a 33-32 lead before Ulloa and Ogles combined to score the next eight points, thanks to Ulloa’s two three-pointers and a steal and lay in by Ogles.

Lake Oswego (7-6, 11-12) cut Newberg’s lead to seven in the fourth quarter, but a basket by Anthony Adams quelled the Lake Oswego offense. Ulloa hit six free throws in the final 1:36 to secure the win for the Tigers.

Ulloa led the Tigers with 19 points and Ogles finished with 18 for Newberg.

Newberg coach Mark Brown said he was happy with the win, but added that the Tigers need to stop opponents from opening up big leads early in games. Earlier this season, Newberg fell behind 16-0 to Tigard to start the game and also trailed Canby 10-0 in a game earlier this season.

“I’m not OK with that, but the big thing for this team is that they’ve consistently finished games strong,” he said. “Then when it gets to that grind-it-out stage in games where it’s back-and-forth, it’s clear that this team knows how to withstand adversity and find a way to make a run and win games.”

He said he was happy with how the Tigers stayed true to form and didn’t buckle in the fourth when their lead was cut to seven points.

“I like the way we finish,” he said. “Especially looking forward to the playoffs, that’s something that’s going to be huge.”

The win also avenged a 63-49 loss to the Lakers earlier this season.

“We’re playing much better now and we’re doing a lot of things different, defensively, that is playing into the strengths of the athletes we have,” Brown said. “That’s been fun to see. They’re a great team. To get a quality win like that against a quality team, that’s big. As a coach, you always want to be playing your best basketball at the end of the season and I really feel like that’s what we’re doing. The last two weeks have been very solid.”

Friday’s win was also highlighted by the fact that it was the final game for the team’s five seniors — Ogles, Kyle Petersen, Garcia, Ulloa and Caleb Rauch.

“It’s sad to see them go, but it’s fun to see them go out the way they did,” Brown said. “I could not be happier for them because they’ve exceeded everyone’s expectations. They’ve gone above and beyond what anyone in our school, our town and our state thought Newberg basketball was going to be able to do. It’s not coaching – it’s all because of them and their work ethic and desire to be the best that they could possibly be.”

Newberg sat in a three-way tie for second place with Tigard and Tualatin as of Friday. Newberg concluded the regular season Tuesday with a game at Lakeridge (3-10, 7-15) while Tigard (8-5, 14-7) hosted Lake Oswego. Tualatin hosted three-time defending state champion West Linn (13-0, 20-3) Tuesday to conclude the regular season. Results of those games were unavailable at press time.

No matter what happened Tuesday, Newberg was not focused on Tigard or Tualatin.

“We want different teams to win at different times, but at the end of the day, we can control us,” Brown said. “That’s what we’re focusing on and tonight, we did what we needed to do to take care of our business.”

Earlier in the week, Newberg picked up a 58-43 road win against Canby, thanks to outscoring the Cougars 22-13 in the fourth quarter. Ogles led the Tigers with 18 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter, and Ulloa added 15. Rauch added 10 points for the Tigers.