Top Ranked Teams: Tigard vs Lake Oswego

Drew Carter (#5) receives the ball with eight seconds left in the first quarter for his last attempt at the basket. Photos by Henry Kaus.

“We knew it was going to be a tough game since the last time we lost to them by three in overtime. I have respect for them and today was a battle,” – Drew Carter (#5)

With two games before the playoffs, ranked seven Tigard (third in league) played ranked ten Lake Oswego (first in league). The Lakers had been undefeated in league play with a 9 – 0 league record and Tigard on a 5 – 4 TRL record.

Lake Oswego was a powerhouse and they had a streak to show for it. “They’re a good team like us so we gotta play them like us. We gotta take everything personally,” freshman Malik Brown (#12) said.

Tigard’s Jake Wihtol (#10) dunking on Lake Oswego’s Grant Brauner (#21). Photo: Henry Kaus.

Even still, Tigard had a few key victories of their own with a recent 84-74 win on West Linn and matches before league play including wins against South Salem (65-57) and Parkrose (77-52).

With Lake Oswego, Tigard took the early lead after Steven Long (#3) scored for two with Carter on an additional two and an early three-pointer bringing the lead to 7-2.

After a missed long-shot, Carter was fouled on, bringing him three chances at the basket, where he knocked them all in. With a maintained lead of five, the Lakers had brought the game back tied with 3:43 left in Q1.

Lake Oswego managed a layup for the lead only for Carter to match with the first term to eventually fall in favor of LOHS: 16-20.

The Tigers found themselves with a case of the ‘butterfingers’ in combination with Lake Oswego’s strong ability to change from defense to offense. “They are really good at transition offense, they got a couple guys leaping out that gave us trouble,” Carter said. “We needed to hit shots and just get back on defense.”

The Lakers took quarter-two to increase their lead. Tigard had the energy, but not the accuracy. With 2:50 left, LO led by ten: 21-31.

With a minute on the clock, Tigard wasn’t through. Kalim Brown (#11) sunk a three which was quickly followed by Jake Wihtol (#10) finding an open stretch and dunking hard for the Tigard crowd. Halftime score: 28-35.

The Tigers became more prominent on the court in quarter-three—especially with back-to-back running blocks by Long and Carter after a Long three-pointer while the scores were two points apart. But, with a LO three-point buzzer-beater, they kept their seven-point lead.

“They could knock it down from the perimeter and we couldn’t stop them. And when they got it inside, we either fouled or they gave us a bucket,” Malik Brown said.

Unfortunately for the Tigers, quarter-four played out similarly with a few big shots by Carter and Kalim Brown, but the final score in LO’s favor: 59-67.

“We just gotta keep fighting, we can’t trade baskets with the other team,” Malik Brown said.

“Overall, we didn’t win. That was our ultimate goal, but we’re going to brush this off,” Carter added.

With the game, Tigard and Lake Oswego swapped overall rankings, but both are expected in playoffs where the stakes are of a much higher degree. “Playoffs is one game and you’re done so we really got to take one game at a time, prepare for each week like it’s the last,” Carter said.

Carter finished out his game with 16 points with a three-pointer and three-for-three from the free throw line. Kalim Brown and Long both sunk two three-pointers with Brown on 13 points and Long on eight.

Overall, the team scored 22 of 56 shots from the field including six three-pointers and a dunk while scoring nine of ten free throws.

What remains in the 2019-2020 season is the Tigard-Tualatin rivalry rematch and an Oregon City home game. From there, it’s all playoffs.