By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– With the Capitol City Classic entering its Quarterfinal round, Tigard and Sprague matched up Wednesday night with an opportunity to advance to Thursday’s semi-final round.
When the game tipped off, it was the Tigers who drew first blood as they took advantage of nine Olympian turnovers and turned it into a 21-7 lead over Sprague entering the second round of the bout.
Tigard was feeding off of how Tuesday’s game versus Cleveland to open the CCC at Willamette University as they built that lead in their 77-57 win Thursday night.
“It all comes off of last game, last game we came out flat so we decided a chance in practice and a change in mindset,” said Stevie Schlabach, who had a game-high 35 points. “Everyone came out dominate from the beginning and that’s what we did.”
The Olympians settled down and kept the lead from getting too far out in front of them entering the second half. Mason Lomax, Kobe Withers and Greyson Salinas all helped get Sprague back to within ten, trading baskets with Tigard and had opportunities to get the game into the single-digits.
For the Olys, it looked like what their offense was supposed to look like in the second half with their ball movement around the court compared to the first half where bad decisions plagued them as they dueled with Schlabach’s 17-point third quarter in their comeback effort.
“We did a really good job in the second half coming back and getting into our offense,” said Sprague’s Kobe Withers, who had 15 points in the game. “We really didn’t do that in the first half, but we really did well with that in the second half. We didn’t come out strong, we needed to come out work harder in warm-ups and get ready for the game so we’re ready to go.”
But Sprague couldn’t capitalize on the few opportunities they had to get it to single-digits with Tigard pulled away in the closing minutes of the game, they fed off each other’s energy in this game that started with their bench that worked its way to the court.
“Our bench was really good in this game. Our players on-the-court, off-the-court. We just had more energy, we just kept it going and we didn’t stop,” said Schlabach.
Tigard will be off to face Centennial of California Thursday at 7:30pm after Centennial’s 95-47 win over Roosevelt. The Roughriders will be facing Sprague at 3:30pm for a spot in the fourth-place game Saturday.
“We’re going to come out in warm-ups, come out harder. Get in our offense early so we won’t have to bounce back from a loss,” said Withers on coming in with a better mindset than they did Wednesday.
Lomax had a team-high 18 points for Sprague and Salinas added another 12 for the Olympians. Carter had 15 for the Tigers and Luke Ness added another eight in the win.