Tigard Girls Pull Through on the Pacers

In the chaos of the game, Tigard’s Delaney Leavitt (#22) starts her rush in for a buzzer-beater at the end of the first half. The period finished 35-23. Photo by Henry Kaus.

Game one went to the Pacers, but game two belonged to the Tigers.

In round two and game 11 of Three Rivers League play, the Tigard girls Varsity team stayed on the home court against Lakeridge. In the first match against the Pacers, Tigard suffered a close 40-46 loss.

With six games and a rack of improvements from both teams, their latest matchup was bound to be of a different kind.

“We had redemption written on our board, they beat us at their house and they celebrated big time afterwards,” Kennedy Brown said. “It was important that we came back and that we could say we’re just as good as that team. We had to show it not just to them, but to us too.”

‘Just as good’ came in the form of a first-quarter dominance. Unable to score, Lakeridge could only manage a three-pointer with 20 seconds left in the first term. Brown had already acquired nine points by then and Rachel Denham (#22) with the assist from Karen Spadafora (#3) was able to finish out quarter-one 17-3 with a buzzer-beater. Brown was four of six from the field and would keep excelling into quarter-two.

Tigard’s Kennedy Brown (#2) throws up one of her six two-point field goals. Photo by Henry Kaus.

Freshman Hailey Shimojima (#14) began Q2 with a three to be shortly followed by Lakeridge. Brown then shot two back-to-back three-point field goals for the Tigers with even a few moments to compose herself.

By the end of the half, the girls enjoyed a healthy lead of 12 with 35-23 and Delaney Leavitt (#22) on another buzzer-beater.

“We had an advantage on them in the inside with Sarah [Lamet] so we tried to give Sarah the ball and if they were doubling, it gave Delaney [Leavitt] and I an open shot,” Brown said.

Brown would dawn the third term once again for her third three-pointer and a layup bringing the score to 40-28 with 4:38 left in Q3. But these would be her last when on her way down from her points, she fell and sprained her ankle. She was out for this game as well as the following one.

“I landed wrong and my foot just folded inward. It was just a quick pop,” Brown said. “I’ve torn my ACL twice so I’ll take an ankle sprain over an ACL any day.”

Although the highest scorer was down, the team took her place just fine. Ajae Holdman (#15) finished out the quarter with an unexpected steal into an open-court layup with two-for-two free throws.

Lamet would prove to take over quarter-four with seven points and a slew of blocks giving the Tigers a 63-50 win over the Pacers.

Brown took the title of most points despite the injury with 22 points, including her three three-pointers. Ajae Holdman also scored 13 while scoring five of six from the free throw line.

Overall, the team had shot 24 of 51 from the field and 11 of 13 frees. “We were due for a big game like that I mean with our record and everything, we just needed to come out and play hard and I think that’s the mindset that everyone had,” Brown stated. “I don’t think it’s about wins or losses anymore. It’s about how much effort we put into the game and everyone came into the game knowing that we could beat this team.”

The effort brought the Tigers to a 3 – 8 league record (4 – 17 league) and although the team’s record slants towards their losses, Tigard isn’t about to give in.

Brown said that “getting a fourth win of the year under our belt really helps us in getting our mindset up there. If someone makes a mistake, it’s important for all of us to tell them to flush it. Knowing that our mental mindset can get a little discouraging with how we’ve been playing, it’s really important that we keep each other positive.”

With the regular season meeting its end in the final days of February, the Tigard girls will face off against Lake Oswego, Tualatin and Oregon City for their last 2019-2020 season games.