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Tigard triumphs in thriller


The rival Tigers and Timberwolves take their showdown to overtime

by: DAN BROOD - SUPER HAPPY -- Tigard seniors Meeka Mayhew (left) and Megan Risinger are all smiles following the overtime win over Tualatin.TIGARD — Wow.

No, double wow.

Key plays, big rallies, clutch performances and a dramatic ending.

This game seemed to have it all. To make things even better, it was a game between two rivals played in front of a loud boisterous crowd. Oh yeah, sole possession of first place in the Pacific Conference was also at stake.

And, when all was said and done, the Tigard High School girls basketball team got to celebrate a wild victory. The Tigers, rallying late in the fourth quarter and then again in overtime, scored a 50-48 win over rival Tualatin in a Pacific Conference showdown played Friday at Tigard High School.

“That was a great team win,” said Tigard junior guard Lexi Carter, who led all scorers in the contest with 19 points. “It’s always a big rivalry game when we play them. It was up for grabs. That was good — I love that.”

“It was amazing,” Tigard senior post Megan Risinger said. “Both teams wanted it. I’m glad we kept our intensity.”

“That was one heck of a game,” said Tualatin senior guard Britta Hall, who paced the Timberwolves with 17 points. “It felt like a playoff game. I loved the intensity and atmosphere. We fed off the crowd.”by: DAN BROOD - UP FOR GRABS -- Tualatin High School junior post Jasmine Miller (2) looks to grab the ball as Tigard seniors Megan Risinger (23) and Julia Santos close in. The Tigers got the victory in overtime.

With the win, Tigard moved to 10-3 on the season and to 3-0 in Pacific Conference play at that point, putting the Tigers alone atop the league standings.

“That’s one of our goals,” Carter said of the league championship. “But we’re taking it one game at a time.”

Tualatin moved to 6-6 on the season and to 2-1 in league contests.

Tigard seemed to take control early in Friday’s showdown. Carter and senior post Meeka Mayhew each scored four points in the first quarter of the game, which ended with the Tigers holding a 12-7 lead.

The Tigers kept charge in the second quarter. Risinger scored four straight points and Carter followed that up with a three-pointer from the top of the circle to give Tigard a 20-12 lead with 2 minutes and 14 seconds left in the quarter. That would be the biggest lead either team would have in the contest.

Tualatin, getting a pair of free throws from junior guard Tessa Bullis and a layup by Hall, following a steal by junior post Savannah Heugly, trimmed the Tigard lead to 24-19 at halftime.

The Wolves then came out blazing to start the third quarter. Tualatin junior post Jasmine Miller opened the period with a short-range bank shot. Heugly followed with a banker of her own off a pass from Miller.

Heugly then went 2-for-2 from the free throw line to cap off the Wolves’ 8-0 run, which gave them a 25-24 lead with 5:33 left in the quarter.

Tualatin sophomore guard Madison Hall sank a pair of three-pointers later in the period, helping the Wolves take a 33-32 lead into the fourth quarter.

“We worked hard and played with a lot of heart,” Britta Hall said of her team’s strong start to the second half.

Madison Hall sank her third three-pointer of the game to open the fourth quarter, pushing the Wolves’ lead to 36-32. Tigard got a free throw from senior Julia Santos and a jumper by Risinger to quickly cut the margin to 36-35.by: DAN BROOD - IN ACTION -- Tigard junior guard Lexi Carter shoots over Tualatin junior post Savannah Heugly.

But Tualatin answered with a foul-line jumper by sophomore Alyssa Knudsen and a three-pointer by Britta Hall, giving the Wolves a 41-35 advantage with 3:51 left to play.

Tualatin would go on to take its biggest lead of the game, at 44-37, on a free throw by Britta Hall coming with 2:01 remaining to play.

But, the Tigers say, they weren’t concerned at that point.

“That’s a long time for us,” Risinger said. “We just had to get back to our game.”

“We were never worried,” Carter said. “We knew we had to execute on offense and put on some pressure on defense.”

Risinger sank a jump shot to trim the margin to 44-39 with 1:40 remaining. A pair of free throws by Carter made the score 44-41 with 57.7 seconds left to play. Tigard junior guard Emilee Cincotta then came up with a steal and she got the ball to Carter, who scored on a layup to make it a one-point game, at 44-43, with 48 seconds left to play.

A Tualatin turnover gave the ball back to Tigard with 28.5 seconds remaining. Risinger was fouled three seconds later. She made one of her two free throws to tie the game at 44-44.

Tualatin, working for the last shot, got a three-point attempt by Britta Hall with three seconds left, but her shot was just barely off the mark, sending the game to overtime.

Tigard scored first in the four-minute extra session, getting a pair of free throws by Carter to go up 46-44 with 3:20 left to play.

The Wolves came right back, getting back-to-back buckets by Britta Hall to take a 48-46 lead with 2:15 remaining. Tigard tied the game, at 48-48, five seconds later on a pair of free throws by Cincotta.

With both teams turning up the defensive intensity even more, the score was still at 48-48 going into the final minute of overtime.

A Tigard turnover gave the Wolves a prime opportunity with 50.7 seconds remaining. But, with 20.8 seconds left, Risinger came up with a steal underneath the basket and she was immediately fouled.

She calmly sank both of her ensuing free throws to give Tigard a 50-48 lead.

“It seems like I’m in that situation a lot,” Risinger said with a smile. “I knew I had to make them.”

Tualatin, looking to get a tying basket in the final seconds, got the ball to Britta Hall, who drove to the left side of the lane as time was running out. But Elise Conroy, Tigard’s 6-foot-1 freshman post, got a hand on Hall’s shot, and Carter grabbed the loose ball to wrap up the Tigers’ nail-biting victory.

“I told Elise to go block it, but don’t foul her,” Tigard coach Steve Naylor said. “And she got it done.”

The big defensive play ignited Tigard’s celebration.

“I just yelled,” Risinger said. “Both teams had so much intensity — that was so much fun.”

“That was so exciting,” Carter said. “It was definitely fun. It was a blast.”

“The girls played with a lot of heart,” Naylor said. “I’m really happy with that.”

Carter, in addition to her game-high 19 points, also had seven steals and five rebounds in the victory.

“That was one of Lexi’s better games,” Naylor said.

Risinger had 14 points, eight rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots.

Cincotta added six rebounds and four steals.

For Tualatin, Britta Hall had five rebounds and four steals to go with her 17 points.

“Everyone was focused and played with a lot of heart,” she said of the Timberwolves’ effort.

Madison Hall scored nine points. Miller had seven points, seven rebounds and a pair of steals.

Tigard picked up another victory on Tuesdsay, posting a 48-25 home win over McMinnville to move to 4-0 in Pacific Conference play.

Carter scored 14 points in that game. Santos added 10 points and Risinger scored nine.

Tualatin was edged 53-43 at Newberg on Tuesday.

Britta Hall scored 15 points for the Wolves in that contest and junior Lindsay Barrow added 12.

Both of the local squads will be back in action on Friday. Tualatin will host Hillsboro and Tigard will travel to Century for 5:45 p.m. league games. On Tuesday, Tualatin will play at Century and Tigard will host Hillsboro in 7:15 p.m. league contests.

The Tigers and Timberwolves will have their rematch Feb. 1 at Tualatin High School.

“Oh yeah, we’re looking forward to that,” Britta Hall said. “They’ll get better and we’ll get better.”

“We’re going to be excited to play them again,” Carter said.