Fourth-quarter charge leads Rams to a 59-55 win over the Bruins

by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP - Central Catholic's Austin Dyer looks to get around Barlow center Cody Powers during the Rams' 59-55 home win Friday night.

PORTLAND — Central Catholic continues to be the team to beat in the Mount Hood Conference, surviving as the league’s final unbeaten team after a 59-55 home win over Barlow on Friday night.

The Rams trailed by two heading into the fourth quarter, but took command of the game down the stretch with aggressive play on the boards and a suffocating defense that held Barlow to just four baskets in the final stanza — one of those being a meaningless half-court shot at the buzzer.

“We grinded it out and buckled down on defense, getting to all the 50-50 balls,” Central Catholic center Austin Dyer said. “After losing on their home court last year, we wanted this game. We felt like this would decide the league championship.”

Central charged ahead 51-46 when Simon Noling put a 15-footer cleanly off the glass with 3:04 to play.

Barlow called timeout to draw up an answer, but Central’s Xavier Hallinan spoiled those plans when he intercepted a cross-court pass and slammed the ball off the knee of the Bruins’ Kody Kennedy while falling out of bounds.

The Bruins managed to make it a one-possession game when Andrew Olson hit a runner in the lane, but the game wasn’t in doubt for long.

On their next trip down court, Dyer fired up an alley-oop pass for Noling, who gently put the ball off the glass for a 53-48 lead with two minutes left.

Central knocked down all four of its free throws in the final minute to secure the win.

Dyer led the Rams with 15 points.

The Bruins came out hot in the third quarter, connecting on 9 of 14 (.643) attempts and missing just once inside the paint. Despite the sizzling shooting, Barlow found itself up just two points heading into the fourth quarter.

That’s when the temperature dropped.

Barlow missed its first three shots of the quarter — all of them coming from beyond the arc.

“We had some good looks, but couldn’t get anything to go down in the fourth quarter,” Barlow coach Tom Johnson said. “Central was just a little bit better than us tonight.”

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