Rebounding, defense lead Tigard to a win over Newberg

by: DAN BROOD - SLICK NICK -- Tigard High School senior Nick Kaelin (2) goes up to the basket during the first quarter of the Tigers' game with Newberg. Kaelin had 11 points and six rebounds in the 69-46 victory. TIGARD — It wasn’t exactly the best shooting night for the Tigard High School boys basketball team.

But, as it turned out, that didn’t really matter.

The Tigers more than made up for it.

Thanks to a big night of defense and rebounding, Tigard kept its Pacific Conference winning streak going in impressive fashion.

The Tigers, despite suffering through a bit of an off shooting night, rolled to a 69-46 win over Newberg in a league game played Friday at Tigard High School.

“Our hustle was pretty great tonight,” said Tiger senior post Will Schaer, who helped Tigard claim a 38-16 advantage in rebounds in the contest. “We made up for our poor shooting.”

“We all play with a lot of energy and we like to run,” said Tigard junior Elijah Simon, who came off the bench to tie for game-high scoring honors with 13 points. “And we always play strong defense.”

Newberg dropped to 1-10 in league games and to 1-19 on the season to that point with the setback.

With the victory, coupled with a 62-33 home win over Hillsboro on Tuesday, Tigard improved to 12-0 in Pacific Conference play and to 15-7 on the season. With those two victories, Tigard also clinches at least a share of the Pacific Conference championship.

“That’s really important to us,” Simon said following the win over Newberg.

“It’s been one of our goals since day one,” Schaer said.

In Friday’s contest, Tigard fell behind 2-0 in the opening seconds of the game, but the homestanding Tigers quickly took charge from there.

Senior guard Evan Garrison sank a three-point basket from the left corner to ignite a 9-0 Tigard run. Senior Nick Kaelin scored on a drive to the basket, senior Conner Olson sank a close-range banker and then Olson put in a layup off an assist from Schaer to give Tigard a 9-2 lead with 2 minutes and 30 seconds left in the opening quarter.

Tigard made just six of 15 shots from the field in the first quarter, but the Tigers ended the period with a 16-8 lead, thanks in part to getting 10 rebounds in the quarter. Schaer had three offensive rebounds on his own in the period.

“Will really helped us on offense,” Simon said.

“I pride myself on that,” Schaer said. “I like getting after the boards.”

Tigard made just six of 17 shots from the field in the second quarter, but the home team continued to pull away. Kaelin and junior guard Bryan Berg each scored four points in the period. Junior Jett Even sank a three-pointer and Simon added three points to help Tigard open up a 33-20 halftime lead.

Tigard discovered its shooting touch in the third quarter, making 10 of 14 shots from the field, and then really took charge.

Garrison scored eight points in the period. Kaelin sank a three-pointer on his way to scoring five points in the quarter. Olson and sophomore post Joel Johnson each added four points in the period, helping Tigard stretch the its lead to 56-30 going into the fourth quarter.

Simon and senior Robby Chabreck each scored four points in the final stanza and junior Nathanael Ditton added his second three-pointer of the game to help Tigard cap off the 69-46 victory.

“Everyone played hard and we got contributions from a lot of kids,” Tigard coach Shawn Alderman said. “I’d like for us to shoot better, but we had a good night on the offensive boards.”

Garrison scored 13 point for Tigard in the win. The Tigers also got a definite spark from Simon and his 13 points.

“Elijah had a heck of a game,” Alderman said. “He’s come a long way and he’s got a knack for scoring.”

“I felt like I was ready for this game,” Simon said.

Kaelin had 11 points and six rebounds in the victory. Johnson had nine rebounds and four blocked shots and Berg dished off three assists in addition to having a breakaway dunk in the fourth quarter.

Tigard made 27 of 64 shots from the field in the contest. The Tigers had just seven turnovers while helping force Newberg into 20 turnovers.

Junior Barry Vernon led Newberg with 12 points.

Garrison scored 20 points for Tigard in Tuesday’s win over Hillsboro. Chabreck added 13 points, Berg scored eight and Kaelin had seven.

Tigard will be back in action Friday when it plays at Forest Grove in a Pacific Conference game starting at 7:15 p.m. The Tigers can clinch sole possession of the league championship with a win in that game.

On Tuesday, Tigard will host Century in a Pacific Conference finale set to start at 7:15 p.m.

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