Tigard starts fast on its way to posting a win over the Bowmen in Three Rivers League play

DAN BROOD - Tigard High School senior post Austin Dufort (left) goes up to the basket against Sherwood junior Braden Thorn during Friday's Three Rivers League contest. SHERWOOD — A large, spirited crowd.

Two determined teams.

A key league game.

It all came down to who had the hot hand — and who didn't.

The Tigard High School boys basketball team, shooting at a 54.8 percent clip from the field, ran to a 61-46 win over Sherwood, which struggled at times to find it's shooting touch, in a competitive Three Rivers League game played Friday in front of an enthusiastic crowd at Sherwood High School.

"That was a lot of fun," said Tigard senior post Austin Dufort, who recently returned to action after missing the first part of the season due to a knee injury. "I struggled a bit, but the team picked me up. We just really wanted this."

"They played hard, and we played hard," said Tigard junior wing Stevie Schlabach, who led all scorers in the contest with 20 points. "In the second half, they made some runs at us, but we made some runs for ourselves."

DAN BROOD - Tigard junior Jazz Ross (left) and Sherwood senior Owen Grubbe battle for the ball during Friday's Three Rivers League contest. With the win, Tigard evened its record in TRL play at 1-1 (5-6 overall), putting the Tigers in a tie with the Bowmen for fourth place in the league standings at that point.

"This sets an example for the rest of the league," Schlabach said. "This shows that we're ready to go."

"We needed it," Dufort said. "It's a big confidence booster. It was a good way to get us going."

Sherwood moved to 1-1 in TRL games and to 8-4 on the season with the setback.

"We played a good second half," said Sherwood senior guard Billy Hale, who scored 11 second-half points in the contest. "We needed to have more energy in the second half."

"It was rough," said Bowmen sophomore point guard Jamison Guerra, who tied for team-high scoring honors with 15 points. "We didn't do well in the first half, but we came back in the second half. We have to come out better to start the game."

The Bowmen actually grabbed the first lead of the game. Sherwood, getting back-to-back baskets by senior post Jace Sucher, the second coming off a pass from junior Braden Thorn, claimed a 4-0 lead with 6 minutes and 5 seconds left to play in the first quarter. But the Bowmen could manage just two more points, coming on free throws by senior Owen Grubbe, the rest of the opening period.

DAN BROOD - Sherwood senior Jace Sucher (left) looks to drive against Tigard senior Austin Dufort during Friday's game.Meanwhile, Tigard, getting a layup by freshman Drew Carter, off a pass from junior Jake Leavitt, a three-pointer by Leavitt and a basket on a short-range banker by Dufort, rallied to take a 7-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Tigers kept rolling in the second quarter. They opened their period with a 9-0 run, which included a pair of free throws by junior Jazz Ross, a three-pointer by Ross, a basket on a turnaround jumper by junior Luke Ness and a layup by Ross, giving Tigard a 16-6 lead with 6:01 left before halftime.

Carter took over from there. The freshman wing sank three three-point baskets in a time span of 3:04. The second of his back-to-back three-pointers gave the Tigers their biggest lead of the game, at 27-11, coming with 27-11 left to play in the second quarter.

Guerra closed the scoring in the period with a three-point play, leaving Tigard with a 27-14 advantage at halftime.

But it seemed to be a fired-up Bowmen squad that took the court for the second half. After Carter sank a free throw to open the scoring in the third quarter, Sherwood answered with three straight points by Hale and four straight points by Sucher, trimming the Tiger lead to 28-21 with 6:06 left in the period.

DAN BROOD - Tigard freshman Drew Carter (left) and Sherwood junior Tyler Hix battle for a loose ball during Friday's game.Tigard fought off the Bowmen rally attempt, getting three-pointers from Carter and Schlabach, upping its lead to 34-23 with 4:52 left in the quarter.

But Sherwood got three more points from Hale and a three-pointer by senior Nick Koronko later in the period, cutting the Tigard lead to 39-31 going into the fourth quarter.

The Bowmen were able to get a little closer early in the final stanza. Sucher sank a short-range jumper off a pass by Hale to make the score 41-34 with 5:32 left to play in the game.

But Tigard wouldn't let Sherwood get any closer after that.

Schlabach scored 14 points — eight coming from the foul line — in the final 5:15 of the game, and Dufort added a basket and a pair of free throws to help Tigard pull away for the 61-46 victory.

"It was important for us to answer their runs," Schlabach said. "This showed that we can deal with pressure."

"The guys off the bench gave us a real spark," Dufort said. "And I thought we played really well on defense."

Schlabach scored 18 of his game-high 20 points in the second half. He also had eight rebounds and a pair of assists.

DAN BROOD - Tigard junior Jazz Ross (left) shoots over Sherwood senior Nick Koronko during Friday's game.Carter sank five three-pointers on his way to scoring 18 points. Dufort had 10 points and a pair of steals. Ross added nine points off the bench.

Tigard, as a team, made 17 of 31 shots from the field, with seven three-pointers, and 20 of 29 free-throw attempts.

Sucher and Guerra led Sherwood with 15 points apiece. Sucher also had six rebounds while Guerra had four rebounds and a pair of steals. Hale added 11 points for the Bowmen. Koronko scored three and Grubbe had two.

Sherwood, as a team, made 16 of 51 shots from the field and 11 of 18 free-throw attempts. The Bowmen, who have shined from three-point range so far this season, made just three of 20 attempts from beyond the arc.

"If we make our usual amount of three-pointers, it would have been totally different," Guerra said.

"We played better in the second half," Hale said. "The second-half runs came because of our pressure. We were flying around and getting steals."

Both teams seemed to enjoy playing in the boisterous conditions at Sherwood High School.

"It was a lot of fun here, with their crowd talking smack," Schlabach said with a smile.

"It's always a fun atmosphere here," Dufort said.

DAN BROOD - Sherwood senior Owen Grubbe looks to drive the baseline during Friday's game with Tigard."I love our student section," Hale said. "It helps. When your crowd gets behind you like that, it pumps you up."

"We love our student section," Guerra said. "We feed off their energy."

Both teams picked up league wins on Tuesday. Sherwood won 65-55 at home against Lakeridge. Hale led the Bowmen with 23 points in that game.

Tigard posted a 67-53 home victory over Newberg. Dufort scored 23 points for the Tigers in that game, and Schlabach added 18.

Both teams will be back in action on Friday. Sherwood will travel to Lake Oswego and Tigard will play at Lakeridge in league games starting at 7 p.m. On Wednesday, Sherwood will play at Newberg at 7 p.m. and Tigard will host Tualatin in a 7:15 p.m. game.

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