By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Tigard remembered all too well that 62-48 loss to South Salem at the Capitol City Classic on December 20. They used it for their motivation Friday night when the two teams met again in South Salem.
They won the rebounding game over the Saxons in their 65-57 road win. They collapsed the lanes in the key, creating stops and turnovers to set the pace early.
At one point in the second quarter, it was 27-15 Tigers as Tigard led 29-22 at the halftime break.
“This win meant a lot to us, we didn’t want to lose to them again,” said Tigard’s Drew Carter. “Everyone played a tremendous defense, we talked a lot and it was very physical. Again, we were taking it very personal, we didn’t want to lose to this team again.”
But, there was something to that 7-2 Saxon run to close out the first half that had gave some momentum for South Salem entering the second half. Along with the halftime adjustments the Saxons slowly chipped away at the deficit, eventually knotting up the game at 46-apiece following Nick Zuro’s 2-for-2 trip at the free throw line with 6:13 left in the game.
The comeback spoke once more, as it did against Lanier (Gerogia) on December 23 in that same Capitol City Classic tournament, that this team has the ability to compete with any team. It’s just a matter of getting over the hump and cutting down on the mental miscues of taking plays off.
“Sometimes with the team (and) I’m guilty of this, I take plays off. Plain and simple,” starts Zuro. “I should’ve gone up and got a few more boards. Everyone is guilty of something especially me, I take accountability. We just need to keep playing hard…just keep playing through it because we’re capable of beating that team.
“This just fuels the fire, We had a really deep conversation in the locker room and we’re going to be more focused in practice. We’re not going to take this lightly, we’re going to use this as motivation for sure.”
It took Carter until the second quarter to score his first point, but the Senior guard was matched by freshman Malik Brown. Brown scored 12 points as Carter finished with 30 in the win as the two helped the Tigers re-build a lead starting with Brown’s three-pointer by the 5:25 mark of the fourth quarter as they enter Three Rivers League play 10-2.
“He does a very good job pushing the ball and he’s doing great for what his age is. He’s very matured at his age. So I think he’ll be great throughout the season,” said Carter of Brown.
“They got some good players period,” adds Zuro of Carter and Brown. “Drew is a great player, it’s tough. He’s makes tough plays as well along with (Brown), they’re both phenomenal players. We did our best to contain them and things did turn out the way we wanted them to tonight.”
South Salem once more made a rally, getting it down to 58-55 with 1:24 remaining after a Emorej Lynk’s basket, but Carter would go 5-for-8 down the stretch at the free throw line to seal the victory.
Zuro finishes with 18 points Friday night as South Salem opens Mountain Valley Conference Tuesday at Mountain View with a 7-3 overall record. Trey Galbraith added 14 points for the Saxons.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald