Posted On: 01/19/18 4:05 AM
They say that in rivalry games, you can throw the records out. 7-6 Tigard hosted 12-2 Tualatin on Wednesday and, well, the records didn’t matter. In a tense, exciting game, Tigard proved they belong with the Three Rivers League’s best with a 65-62 win over Alexis Angeles and the Tualatin. Here’s what stood out:
Who was the best player on the court?
That’s not an easy question. Alexis Angeles was as impressive always. But because of his big fourth quarter and because his team won, the nod will have to go to Tigard junior Stevie Schlabach. The 6-foot-3 wing scored 13 of Tigard’s 14 fourth quarter points to seal a win in a game that was as exciting as regulation games get. He finished with 24 points, 7 rebounds and two first quarter blocks. “Stevie was huge tonight. It seemed like he couldn’t miss,” said senior post Austin Dufort.
Schlabach is a similar player to West Salem’s Kyle Greeley in that he isn’t super quick, but uses his body to score from just about anywhere. He hit two three-pointers early, but all of his fourth-quarter points came inside or at the free-throw line. Schlabach’s mid-range fadeaways are nearly impossible to stop, especially against smaller defenders. He hit both ends of a one-and-one with 8 seconds left to preserve the win.
But what about Alexis Angeles?
Tualatin was spearheaded, as usual, by defending TRL player of the year Alexis Angeles. He finished with 27 points. There really is no stopping Angeles. He is smooth and is difficult to guard one-on-one. Honestly, I think he should take over half of Tualatin’s shots.
“You can’t stop him,” Tigard coach Shawn Alderman said. “He’s a great player, he can get to the rack and he can shoot the ball. So we knew we couldn’t stop him, but we just tried to make things tough on him.”
Schlabach was tasked with defending him for most of the evening. He said: “It’s really tough guarding him. I get tired a lot.”
Who is Derek Leneve?
In a pivotal second quarter (who are we kidding, it was all pivotal), Angeles was restricted to the bench with two fouls. But Tualatin got a big lift from reserve guard Derek Leneve. The 5-foot-9 junior nailed three three-pointers and then, in the closing seconds of the half, stole the ball and turned it into a breakaway layup for all 11 of his points. Tualatin led 34-32 at the break. He played a few minutes elsewhere, but his play in the second quarter was huge.
Who was the best big?
Tigard’s inside presence is Austin Dufort. The Tigers played most of the first half of their season without the 6-foot-6 post, who was injured. Partially as a result, they started 1-5. Effective throughout, he finished with 12 points. He even hit his only three-point attempt.
Who is the best team in the Three Rivers League?
This might be the best question of all. It could be Tigard. It could be Tualatin. It could be Lake Oswego or West Linn. All four teams are 4-1 in league play. On Wednesday, Tigard looked strong, but they have a worse resume (now 8-6) than any of the aforementioned teams. The Tigers also have a young gem in freshman Drew Carter, who started at quarterback for Tigard’s 6A semifinal football team.
Outside of the dramatic finish, Tigers supporters got loudest when Carter performed a speed dribble and a spin move that led to an and-one to give Tigard a 51-47 lead at the end of the third quarter. The Tigers faithful accurately chanted, “He’s a freshman!” He finished with 11 points.
“He doesn’t play like a freshman. He can do a little bit of everything,” Alderman said.
(For more prep hoops coverage, follow @HayesGardner.)