Tualatin hits triple digits in rematch win over Lakeridge

by: DAN BROOD - KEEPING CONTROL -- Tualatin High School senior C.J. Michael keeps a firm grip of the ball as he keeps it away from Lakeridge seniors Michael Walker (left) and Patrick Jaco. TUALATIN — Maybe it’s the catch-and-shoot attitude.

Maybe it’s the willingness to go full bore for 32 minutes.

Maybe it’s the pressuring, clutch defense.

Maybe it’s the strong team chemistry.

Well, whatever it is, it turned out to be pretty darn impressive.

The Tualatin High School boys basketball team, taking its up-tempo style of play to a new level of efficiency, rallied to score a 103-91 win over Lakeridge in a non-league thriller played Friday at Tualatin High School.

“That was great,” said Tualatin senior Connor Scott, who led all scorers with 32 points in the contest. “We started out great in the first half, but then got out of rhythm. Coach (Rick) Osborn challenged us before halftime and we did it. Not a bad day.”

“It was contagious,” Tualatin senior Randall Tainer said of the Timberwolves’ strong shooting performance. “Once one person is feeling it, it spreads.”by: DAN BROOD - GREAT SCOTT -- Tualatin High School senior Connor Scott (left) goes up to the basket against Lakeridge's Patrick Jaco for two of his game-high 32 points in the Wolves' 103-91 victory.

And that’s been happening for a long time for the current group of Wolves.

“We’ve been together since elementary school,” Tualatin senior Jack McDonnell said. “We’ve got great team chemistry.”

Lakeridge, which scored a 92-83 win over Tualatin back on Dec. 22, fell to 7-4 on the season with the loss. Tualatin improved to 5-4 on the season with the victory.

“We did a good job,” Osborn said. “We challenged the guys at halftime, and they stepped up. We did some good things on defense in the second half. We made some adjustments and changed the press a bit.”

In a game where nearly 200 total points were scored, it may have been the Wolves’ defense that made the difference. Lakeridge scored 57 first-half points on 24-for-37 shooting. But, in the second half, the Pacers scored 34 points, making 16 of 36 shots from the field.

“That all starts with Scott,” Scott said of Tualatin senior Scott Allred. “And we depend a lot on Jack and (sophomore) Jacob Bennett inside.”

“My job is to mainly focus on defense,” Allred said.

Meanwhile, on offense, the Wolves made 39 of 70 shots from the field in the game, shooting at an 18-for-30 clip in the decisive second half. Tualatin also had just 13 turnovers in the game while helping force Lakeridge into 25 turnovers.

“We were really motivated tonight,” Allred said, referring to Lakeridge’s win over Tualatin earlier less than a week earlier. “And we always want to get better.”

Tualatin, and Scott, got off to a flying start to the contest. The Wolves made the first five shot from the field and, with Scott scoring 10 quick points, they held a 19-10 lead with 4 minutes and 33 seconds still left to play in the first quarter.

But Lakeridge came storming back in a big way. Pacer senior Michael Walker scored 12 points in the final 3:51 of the opening period, helping Lakeridge rally to take a 32-27 lead at the end of the quarter.

Lakeridge continued its hot play in the second quarter. The Pacers upped their lead to 51-39 on a follow-up shot by senior Madison Pihl coming with 3:55 left in the half.

The Wolves battled back. Scott had two more baskets, giving him 21 points in the first half, and Tainer scored six points in the final 1:48 of the quarter to help Tualatin trim Lakeridge’s lead to 57-51 at halftime.

But Lakeridge started to pull away again early in the third quarter. The Pacers took their biggest lead of the game, at 65-53, when Pihl scored on a layup with 6:03 left in the period.

Persistent Tualatin came storming back again — in a big way.

Three pointers by Allred, junior Taylor Boos and McDonnell quickly got the Wolves back to within five, at 69-64, with 3:57 remaining in the third quarter. Tualatin continued its rally, tying the game at 73-73 with 1:25 left in the period following back-to-back baskets by Tainer and C.J. Michael.

Michael had three more baskets before the period ended, helping the Wolves take a 77-75 lead into the fourth quarter.

The teams battled back and forth in the opening minutes of the final stanza. Lakeridge took an 89-87 lead on a basket by Pihl coming with 3:54 left in the game. Tualatin, getting a follow-up basket by Scott and a free throw by senior Junior Okon, came back to take a 90-89 lead with 3:17 left.

Lakeridge regained the lead on another hoop by Pihl coming with 2:42 left to play. But that would be the Pacers’ final lead of the game.

Michael sank a 12-foot jumper off a pass from Bennett to give the Wolves a 92-91 advantage with 1:46 left. Tainer followed with a three-pointer, Michael went 2-for-2 from the foul line and Scott added a free throw to give Tualatin a 98-91 lead with 47.3 seconds left.

Okon was then fouled with 37.1 seconds remaining and, with the Tualatin students chanting “chalupa, chalupa,” he sank both of his ensuing free throws to up the margin to 100-91.

Scott and Okon sank free throws in the final 21 seconds to wrap up the 103-91 victory.

The win also marked Tualatin’s second 100-point performance of the season.

“It’s a goal,” Allred said with a smile.

And, while Tualatin was cruising to triple digits, Lakeridge seemed to struggle late in the game as it tried to keep pace with the Wolves.

“We could feel when they started getting tired,” Michael said.

“They started making mental and physical errors,” Tainer said.

Scott scored his game-high 32 points on a 12-for-21 shooting night. He also had four rebounds.

“Connor played a gutsy game,” Osborn said.

And, with Scott on the bench for a good part of the second half, Michael picked up the scoring slack, getting 16 of his 23 points after the break.

“That was a lot due to Connor,” said Michael, who shot at a 10-for-17 clip from the field while also pulling down six rebounds. “He kept cheering and keeping us all in it.”

Tainer had 17 points to go with three assists and a pair of steals. Allred sank three three-pointers and had 10 points. McDonnell had a strong all-around game with nine points, six rebounds and five steals.

Tualatin, as a team, made 39 of 70 shots from the field with nine three-point baskets.

Walker led Lakeridge with 27 points and junior guard Reggie Oliver added 22 for the Pacers.

The Wolves will be back in action Friday when they host McMinnville in a Pacific Conference opener set to start at 7:15 p.m. at Tualatin High School. On Tuesday, Tualatin will travel to Forest Grove for a 7:15 p.m. league contest.

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