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Tigard powers its way by Tualatin

The Tigers tightens their grip on first with its 67-59 win


by: DAN BROOD - UP FOR TWO -- Tigard senior Evan Garrison gets off a jump shot between Tualatin's Jacob Bennett (42) and C.J. Michael. Garrison scored 31 points in the Tigers' victory. TUALATIN — Last week, Evan Garrison was battling a bout of the flu and wasn’t feeling so well.

But, Friday night, he was feeling so, so, so very much better.

An amazing performance and a huge victory in front of a packed gym just might do that for you.

Garrison, a senior guard on the Tigard High School boys basketball team, fought off the flu to pour in 31 points, helping lead the Tigers to a 67-59 win over rival Tualatin in a Pacific Conference showdown played in front of a large, loud crowd at Tualatin High School.

“These games are always fun, and this was my first win here in four years,” Garrison said after the game. “I had the flu a couple days ago. I wasn’t feeling good at first tonight, but then I started feeling really good.”

With the win, Tigard, which also downed Tualatin 78-59 at home on Jan. 11, strengthened its grip on first place in the Pacific Conference standings. The Tigers, who entered the contest just a game ahead of the Timberwolves, improved to 9-0 in league play and to 12-7 on the season at that point with the victory.

“This was a big one,” Tigard senior wing Nick Kaelin said. “The league title is very important to us. This was a very big win, but we’re taking nothing for granted.”

“The league title is real important. It’s been a goal from the beginning of the season,” Garrison said. “We knew who we had to beat, but we’re taking it one game at a time.”

Tualatin, which scored more than 100 points in each of its three previous games, moved to 7-2 in Pacific Conference play, putting the Wolves in a tie with Century for second place in the league standings, and to 12-6 on the season with the setback.

“We just didn’t hit our shots,” said Tualatin senior C.J. Michael, who led the Wolves with 18 points in Friday’s game. “It wasn’t like the past few games. But this game will motivate us.”by: DAN BROOD - FLOATING -- Tualatin senior C.J. Michael looks to go past Tigard's Will Schaer on his way to the basket in Friday,s game. Michael scored 18 points to lead the Timberwolves.

Tualatin took an early advantage in Friday’s game, grabbing a 5-2 lead when junior Joey Fishback sank a three-pointer with 6 minutes and 28 seconds left in the first quarter.

But Tigard took charge from there. Garrison scored six points over the final 5:58 of the period. Junior guard Bryan Berg added a 16-foot jumper and Kaelin had a follow-up basket to help the Tigers take a 12-6 lead at the end of the opening quarter.

The Wolves struggled to final their shooting touch in the period, making just two of 13 shots from the field.

Things didn’t get any better for the home team early in the second quarter, as Tigard started to add on to its lead. Back-to-back baskets by Garrison and junior Elijah Simon gave the Tigers an 18-9 lead with 6:44 left in the period.

Tigard opened up a double-digit advantage, at 26-16, when Garrison buried a foul-line jumper with 4:18 left before halftime.

But the Wolves then got their up-tempo game rolling.

Tualatin senior Connor Scott sank a 6-foot bank shot and, soon after, Michael scored six straight points to trim the Tigard lead to 27-23 with 1:31 left before halftime.

After a free throw by Simon, Tualatin got a basket on a turnaround jumper by sophomore Karter Cook to close the gap to 28-25 with 58 seconds left in the half.

Then, as time in the quarter was ticking away, Tualatin senior Randall Tainer was fouled after coming up with a steal. He sank both of his ensuing free throws to cut the Tigard lead to 28-27 at halftime.

“With our offense, we knew that it would take one streak to put us back in it,” Michael said.

Tualatin took its momentum into the start of the third quarter. Timberwolf junior Taylor Boos drilled a three-pointer from the top of the circle to start the period, giving the Wolves a 30-28 lead.

That seemed to awaken the Tigers. Sophomore post Joel Johnson scored on a layup off a pass from senior Conner Olson and Garrison followed with back-to-back baskets to give the Tigers a 34-30 advantage with 5:18 left in the period.

Garrison continued his hot shooting throughout the rest of the quarter. He scored 10 points in the period, making five of his six shots from the field.

Tualatin, getting another basket from Boos and a three-pointer by Tainer, stayed close, trailing 44-38 going into the fourth quarter.

Tigard slowly started to pull away in the final stanza. Garrison sank another jumper and Johnson scored five points to help the Tigers open a 53-43 lead with 4:12 left to play.

Tualatin, getting a short-range basket by Michael and a pair of free throws by Boos, trailed 55-47 with 2:26 remaining.

Tigard pulled away again. Garrison went 4-for-4 from the free throw line and Johnson had a rim-rattling, two-handed dunk off a pass from Garrison to help Tigard open up a 63-51 advantage with 45 seconds left to play.

But the Wolves kept trying to fight its way back. Michael scored on a drive, senior Jon Fishback added a free throw and sophomore Jacob Bennett sank a long-range three-pointer to cut the lead to 64-57 with 14 seconds left to play.

“We knew we had to keep battling,” Michael said.

But Tigard got free throws from Garrison and Kaelin in the final 10 seconds of the game to close out its 67-59 victory.

“We stayed with our pace,” Kaelin said. “And we tried to hold their scoring down. We worked hard on defense and got rebounds. We also knew we had to execute on offense and make them play defense.”

“We stayed composed and stuck to our style of basketball,” Garrison said. “When they had their run, we got together and talked about staying composed. We weren’t worried about them getting 100 points. We take a lot of pride in our defense.”

Garrison, in scoring his 31 points, made nine of 14 shots from the field and he shot at a 13-for-16 clip from the free-throw line.by: DAN BROOD - ON THE MOVE -- Tigard senior Nick Kaelin (right) looks to move the ball up court as Tualatin's Joey Fishback puts on the pressure in Friday's game.

“I started feeling like I was in the zone,” said Garrison, who also had eight rebounds and three steals in the victory. “Even the shots that didn’t feel good were going in. This was real fun. I look forward to these games.”

Johnson, Tigard’s 6-foot-7 sophomore post, scored 10 of his 12 points in the fourth quarter. He also looked to be a strong presence inside on defense, blocking a number of shots in the win.

“He’s getting better and better,” Kaelin said. “It’s fun to watch him grow as a player.”

Kaelin scored eight points, Berg had five points and six rebounds and senior post Will Schaer had four points and six rebounds for the Tigers.

Tigard, as a team, made 23 of 41 shots from the field and 21 of 32 free throws. The Tigers also outrebounded Tualatin by a 35-20 margin.

For Tualatin, Michael led the way with 18 points on a 7-for-13 shooting night from the field.

“We’ll come back strong from this,” he said. “It will happen.”

Boos added 13 points for the Wolves. Tainer had seven points, Scott added six and Bennett pulled down a team-high seven rebounds.

Tualatin, as a team, made 20 of 63 shots from the field and 13 of 25 free-throw attempts.

Both teams picked up league victories on Tuesday. Tualatin ran to a 105-49 win at Newberg.

Tainer and Bennett each scored 19 points to pace the Wolves in that contest. Michael scored 17 points while senior Scott Allred and Scott each had 12.

Tigard posted a 57-37 home win over McMinnville. Garrison continued his hot play with 25 points in that victory. Berg and Schaer each scored eight.

Both local squads will be back in action on Friday. Tigard will host Newberg in a league game starting at 7:15 p.m. Tualatin will travel to McMinnville for a 7:15 p.m. league contest.

On Tuesday, Tualatin will travel to Century and Tigard will be home to face Hillsboro in 7:15 p.m. league games.



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