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Slamming down a big win


Tigard claims first place with its 77-56 victory over Century

by: DAN BROOD - DUNK YOU VERY MUCH -- Tigard junior Bryan Berg goes up high for a slam dunk after coming up with a steal in the third quarter of Friday's game. Berg scored a game-high 23 points in the win. HILLSBORO — A super efficient offense.

Pinpoint shooting.

A swarming defense.

Glass-cleaning rebounding.

It looked to be a near-perfect game for the Tigard High School basketball game.

And junior Bryan Berg slammed down the exclamation point in that impressive performance.

With first place in the Pacific Conference standings at stake, the Tigers sprinted past Century to get a 77-56 victory in the league showdown played Friday at Century High School.

“This is a pretty big win for us,” said Berg, a 6-foot-tall guard, who scored 23 points off the bench while also providing the main highlight of the game with a thunderous two-handed dunk in the third quarter. “A team goal is to win league, and we’ve been practicing hard every day for that.”

“This is huge,” Tigard senior guard Evan Garrison said. “We’ve had this game marked on the calendar since the start of league.”

Century, which went into Friday’s game tied with Tigard for first place in the Pacific Conference standings, fell to 10-5 on the season and to 4-1 in league play at that point. With the victory, its fifth straight, Tigard improved to 5-0 in Pacific Conference games and to 5-0 on the season.

“This definitely was our biggest win so far,” Tigard sophomore post Joel Johnson said. “They’re looking like our main rival in league.”

Johnson seemed to play a big part in the victory. On defense, he helped hold Century post Austin Flues to just five points and he also pulled down a game-high 16 rebounds.

“I worked hard on rebounding and boxing out,” the 6-7 Johnson said.

“He played like a grown man tonight, not like a sophomore,” Garrison said with a smile.

“Joel Johnson did a great job on defense and in hitting the boards tonight,” Tigard coach Shawn Alderman said. “On offense, we executed and shot well. It might have been our best overall game."by: DAN BROOD - TIGER ON THE MOVE -- Tigard senior guard Evan Garrison heads up court ahead of Century's Jamel Liggins in Friday's game.

For the contest, Tigard made 30 of 58 shots from the field (shooting at a 16-for-29 clip in the second half) while also outrebounding Century by a 37-23 margin.

“If we play this way every night, we can go far,” Garrison said.

Tigard got off to a quick start in Friday’s game, taking a 4-0 lead behind a pair of early baskets by junior Nick Kaelin.

But Century came storming back. The Jaguars got eight straight points from senior Sam Riddle and senior Colson Gower added a short-range back shot to give the home team a 12-6 lead with 2 minutes and 40 seconds left to play in the first quarter.

Garrison scored the final two baskets of the period to cut the margin to 12-10 going into the second quarter. And that’s where the Tigers took charge.

With Century clinging to a 17-16 lead, Tigard senior wing Conner Olson sank back-to-back three-pointers to give Tigard a 22-17 advantage — and the Tigers wouldn’t trail again.

Berg scored seven points in the final 5:24 of the quarter, and Garrison added five points in that span, to help the Tigers take a 37-30 halftime lead.

Century got a pair of free throws from junior Jamel Liggins to start the third quarter, trimming the margin to 37-32.

But Tigard took off again.

The Tigers got a follow-up basket by Berg, a three-pointer from Garrison and a layup by Johnson, following a Garrison steal, to up the lead to 44-32 with 6:22 left in the period.

Then, it happened.

Berg, after coming up with a steal in back court, drove hard to the basket with no one in his way. He soared upward toward the hoop and then slammed the ball through the basket with booming force, earning him a roaring response from his Tiger teammates and the Tiger fans.

“It was pretty easy for me,” Berg said with a smile, talking about his first dunk of the season. “I got the steal up top and I was just going to lay it up, but no one was running back.”

The dunk seemed to spark the Tigers, and Berg, even more.

The junior guard, following his dunk, scored nine more points in the final 5:13 of the period, helping the Tigers claim a 64-45 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Tigard was never really threatened in the final stanza. A pair of baskets by Garrison gave the Tigers a 70-50 lead with 4:15 remaining in the contest.

Tigard kept its foot on the gas pedal. The Tigers got a 17-foot jumper by junior Jett Even with 9 seconds to play, giving the team its biggest lead of the game, at 77-56, which turned out to be the final score.

“We feel good about it,” Garrison said of being alone in first place. “But we have a lot more games to play. We have to play like this every game.”

“We played real good team defense tonight,” Johnson said. “And we executed well on offense.”

Berg scored his game-high 23 points (20 coming in the second and third quarters) on a 10-for-16 shooting night from the field. He also had four rebounds and three assists.

Garrison scored 19 points on 7-for-13 shooting while also pulling down six rebounds. Johnson had six points to go with his 16 rebounds, which included 12 boards on the defensive end.

Senior post Will Schaer added eight points for the Tigers while junior Elijah Simon and Olson each scored six.

Riddle led the Century with 18 points and Liggins added 11. The Jaguars made 21 of 61 shots from the field.

Tigard picked up another league win on Tuesday, as it posted a 61-21 win over Hillsboro in a league game played at Hillsboro High School. Berg scored 18 points in that game and Garrison added 13.

The Tigers will be back in action Friday when they host Forest Grove in a league game set to start at 7:15 p.m. at Tigard High School.

On Tuesday, Tigard will travel to Glencoe for a 7:15 p.m. league tilt.