Tigard rallies past Tualatin to get the victory in the battle for first place

by: DAN BROOD - SHOWDOWN -- Tigard senior Emilee Cincotta (3) looks to get by Tualatin senior Lindsay Barrow during Friday's game.TUALATIN — First place was at stake.

And, early in the third quarter, the defending Pacific Conference champion Tigard High School girls basketball team found itself facing a 10-point deficit at the hands of their rivals.

Time to panic?

Heck no.

It was time to pick up the intensity, time to put on the press and time to get a crucial victory.

With sole possession of first place in the Pacific Conference standings on the line, the Tigers rallied to score a 46-38 win over rival Tualatin in a conference showdown played in front of a large, loud crowd Friday at Tualatin High School.

“This was very big,” Tigard senior guard Lexi Carter said after the win. “It’s always fun to beat your rivals.”

“This was amazing,” Tigard sophomore post Elise Conroy said. “Tualatin was ready to play, but we brought the intensity in the second half.”

“This is a huge win,” Tigard senior guard Emilee Cincotta said. “It’s a big rivalry, and we had a blast.”

With the victory, Tigard improved to 3-0 in conference play at that point (8-5 overall), putting the Tigers all alone atop the league standings.

“That means a lot to us,” Cincotta said. “But we’re taking every game one at a time.”by: DAN BROOD - OUTSTRETCHED -- Tigard sophomore post Elise Conroy (12) challenges a shot by Tualatin senior Jasmine Miller.

“We want to stay there,” Carter said. “We’re taking it one at a time.”

With the loss, Tualatin moved to 2-1 in conference play at that point (7-4 overall), putting the Timberwolves in a tie with Century, Hillsboro and Glencoe for second place in the league standings.

“That was tough,” Tualatin senior post Jasmine Miller said. “I think we should have beat them. We played well in the first half, but it sucked to come out and not play like we can in the second half.”

Tigard grabbed the early advantage in Friday’s game, going up 8-2 after Cincotta came up with a steal and layup with 4 minutes and 8 seconds left in the first quarter. However, the Tigers wouldn’t be able to score again in the period.

Meanwhile, Tualatin got a three-pointer from Miller, a short-range jump shot from senior post Savannah Heugly off a pass from Miller and a follow-up hoop by Miller to claim a 9-8 lead at the end of the quarter.

The Wolves carried their momentum into the second quarter.

Tualatin opened the period with a 6-0 run that included another jumper and a layup by Heugly and a pair of free throws by senior Madi Hall, giving the home team a 15-8 lead with 3:04 remaining in the half.

Tigard ended its 9:16 scoreless drought when senior Faithe Wantland scored on a drive to the basket with 2:52 left in the half, cutting the Tualatin lead to 15-10. But the Tigers would score just two more points, on free throws by Cincotta, in the remainder of the first half.

Tualatin, getting another basket by Heugly and a free throw by sophomore Tamika Etherly, went on to claim an 18-12 lead at the intermission.

Tigard made just one of 14 shots from the field in the second quarter and shot at a 5-for-24 clip from the field in the first half.

“We just couldn’t get our shots to fall,” Cincotta said.

“We started off really slow,” Carter said.

Things got worse for Tigard early in the third quarter.

After Carter sank a three-pointer from the corner to start the period, Tualatin went on a 7-0 run, which included a three-pointer by Hall, a pair of free throws by Miller and a short-range banker by Heugly, to take its biggest lead of the game, at 25-15, with 4:55 remaining in the quarter.

by: DAN BROOD - BIG-GAME ACTION -- Tualatin High School senior post Savannah Heugly goes for the all during Friday's showdown with Tigard. Heugly had 14 points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots in the contest. Tigard got a 46-38 victory. But the double-digit deficit didn’t seem to bother the Tigers.

“I was confident,” Carter said. “I knew we could come back. We made some adjustments.”

One of those adjustments was applying a tenacious full-court press. But, to do that, the Tigers first had to make some baskets — and they did.

The 6-foot-3 Conroy got that started with back-to-back baskets. Carter then scored five straight points, in a span of 1:05, to trim the Tualatin lead to 25-24 with 1:48 left in the quarter.

Tualatin senior Lindsay Barrow ended the Tigers’ 9-0 run with a three-pointer from the corner, giving the Wolves a 28-24 lead.

But Tigard ended the period with a follow-up basket by Conroy and a basket on a drive to the hoop by Cincotta, tying the score at 28-28 going into the fourth quarter.

The Tigers continued their scoring run in the early part of the final stanza. Cincotta sank a three-pointer, Conroy had a layup off a pass from Wantland and Cincotta drilled a foul-line jumper to give Tigard a 35-28 lead.

A three-pointer by Hall ended the run, but Tigard started right up again. The Tigers got a basket by senior post Jessie King, a free throw by Cincotta and a steal and layup from Carter to open a 40-31 advantage with 3:19 left to play.

Another Hall three-pointer trimmed the lead to 40-34 with 2:55 remaining, but the Wolves couldn’t get any closer as Tigard closed out the 46-38 victory.

“We were motivated in the second half,” said Conroy, who scored all nine of her points after the intermission. “We didn’t have good communication in the first half.”

“We were able to press in the second half,” Cincotta said. “We got better shots and kept our composure.”

“We picked up the energy and pressed them,” Carter said. “I think the press is what got us the win.”

Cincotta was the game’s top scorer with 16 points. She also had five rebounds and three steals.

Carter added 14 points, 12 coming in the second half, with four rebounds and three steals. Conroy had nine rebounds and three blocked shots to go with her nine points.

Tigard, as a team made 19 of 48 shots from the field. The Tigers shot at a 14-for-24 clip in the second half.

Heugly paced Tualatin with 14 points. She also had seven rebounds and three blocked shots. Hall sank three three-point baskets and scored 11 points. Miller had a strong overall game with seven points, seven rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals.

The Wolves made 12 of 40 shots from the field.

“We could have played better,” Miller said. “We made too many mental errors.”

Both teams picked up conference wins on Tuesday. Tualatin scored an 87-47 home win over Newberg to improve to 3-1 in league play.

Heugly scored a game-high 22 points in that game. Junior Katie Nelson sank three three-point baskets in the fourth quarter on her way to scoring 14 points. Miller had 13 points and Hall scored 11, all coming in the first quarter.

Tigard posted a 52-12 victory at McMinnville on Tuesday to improve to 4-0 in conference games. The Tigers held the Grizzlies to just two first-half points as they held a 28-2 lead at the break.

Carter was the leading scorer in that game with 14 points. Junior Kaylie Boschma added nine points. Cincotta had seven and Conroy scored six.

Both squads will be back in action on Friday. Tigard will be home to face Century and Tualatin will travel to Hillsboro for 5:45 p.m. conference games.

On Tuesday, Tualatin will host Century at 6:45 p.m. and Tigard will play at Hillsboro at 7:15 p.m.

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