The Tigers finish 14-0 with a 77-74 victory over Century

by: DAN BROOD - DRIBBLE DRIVE -- Tigard senior Evan Garrison (right) looks to drive past Century's Jamel Liggins in Tuesday's game. TIGARD — Before the start of the season, Evan Garrison had a proclamation to make to the coaches of the Tigard High School boys basketball team.

Garrison, a senior point guard in his third year on the Tiger varsity, told his coaches that he wasn’t going to leave Tigard without a league title. Well, not only did Garrison and the Tigers get that league title, but they also did it one better.

By scoring a wild 77-74 win over Century in a Pacific Conference finale on Tuesday, Tigard completed the league season unbeaten, going 14-0 conference games.

“That means a lot to us,” said Garrison, who scored a game-high 24 points in Tuesday’s game played at Tigard High School. “The last Tigard team that did that (in 2002) ran the table. We’re going to celebrate tonight and then get ready for the playoffs starting tomorrow.”

“This was a great way to finish the league season,” Tigard senior post Will Schaer said. “Going 14-0, oh man, that means a lot. It’s not the culmination for us, but a great step.”

Century, which finished in second place in the final Pacific Conference standings, finished regular-season play with an 11-3 league mark and an overall record of 17-7.

Tigard, which was undermanned in Tuesday’s game due to illness and injury, also finished its regular-season slate with a final overall mark of 17-7 — in addition to its perfect league mark of 14-0.

“That doesn’t happen very often,” Tigard coach Shawn Alderman said. “I’m super proud of the guys. That was a gutsy effort tonight.”

Century held a 19-17 at the end of the first quarter of Tuesday’s game and the Jaguars started to add onto that lead in the second quarter.

Century, getting a layup by senior Sam Devedjian and a three-pointer by senior Colson Gower to start the period, pushed its lead to 24-17.

Tigard, behind a three-pointer by senior Nick Kaelin and back-to-back baskets by Garrison and Schaer, stormed back to take a 27-26 lead with 4 minutes and 47 seconds left in the period.

Century again came back and pulled away, taking a 35-29 lead after getting a three-pointer by senior Madison McCaffrey with 2:37 left in the half.

But, the Tigers, with Garrison scoring three consecutive baskets in a time span of 33 seconds, rallied to tie the game at 35-35 with 1:25 remaining in the period. A buzzer-beating follow-up basket by Tigard sophomore post Joel Johnson kept the score tied, at 37-37, at halftime.

The teams battled back and forth throughout the third quarter, with the lead changing hands seven times during the period.

Tigard, getting back-to-back jumpers from junior Elijah Simon and a bank shot by Kaelin late in the period, took a 52-49 lead into the fourth quarter.

Things stayed wild in the final stanza.

Simon had a pair of baskets early in the period to give the Tigers a 56-50 advantage. Soon after, Garrison and senior Robby Chabreck had back-to-back hoops to keep the Tigard lead at six, at 60-54, with 4:47 left to play.

Century, getting four straight points by senior Sam Riddle, trimmed the margin to 62-60 with 3:19 remaining in the game.

But the Tigers weren’t going to be denied — and they weren’t going to miss a free throw.

Tigard wrapped up the win at the free throw line, going 12-for-12 as a team from the stripe in the final 2:06 of the game.

Simon went 6-for-6 from the foul line in that span. Garrison, Johnson and Kaelin each went 2-for-2 in crunch time, helping the Tigers get the 77-74 win.

“Our hustle brought us over the top, and then we made our free throws,” Schaer said.

“Guys stepped up. Elijah really stepped up,” Garrison said. “Everyone gave us something tonight. That was good. That was a fun game.”

Garrison scored his game-high 24 points on an 8-for-14 shooting night from the field. He also had six assists and a pair of steals.

Simon scored 14 points, all coming in the second half, and he had four rebounds. Johnson had 10 points, nine rebounds and a pair of blocked shots. Schaer had 10 points to go with eight rebounds and Kaelin scored nine points.

Tigard, as a team, made 27 of 51 shots from the field and the Tigers were also a perfect 19 for 19 from the foul line.

McCaffrey led Century with 19 points.

“They’re a load,” Alderman said of Century. “It took a gritty effort by our kids. I’m really proud of our seniors. They’re great leaders and they deserve this.”

Prior to the win over Century, Tigard bested Forest Grove 75-41 in a tame played Friday at Forest Grove High School. Kaelin scored 18 points in that victory. Garrison had 14 and junior guard Bryan Berg and Simon each added 12 points.

Tigard will next be in action Tuesday when it will play in a Class 6A state playoff first round game. The Tigers’ opponent, game site and starting time weren’t available when The Times went to press.

“We’re going to need to focus on defense and rebounding,” Garrison said of the playoffs. “We know we’ll do well on offense. We just need to keep playing loose.”

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