TIGARD — No one likes to lose.
That may be especially true when you're on your home court, at your home tournament. A loss may also have an extra sting to it if it happens in heart-breaking fashion.
But, if you can learn from that loss, it might not be such an awful thing after all.
And that's just what the Tigard High School boys basketball team is trying to do.
The Tigers, after leading most of the way, were edged 70-68 by Clackamas, which got a buzzer-beating three-point basket to get the victory, during play Saturday at the Cody Hardin Invitational, held at Tigard High School.
"Definitely, we're going to learn from this one," said Tigard senior Stevie Schlabach, who scored 31 points in the contest. "They got a ton of offensive rebounds, and we talked about that. It didn't come down to the last play, it was all the plays before that, when we gave up the points to them, and we have to fix that."
"We'll have to go to practice and work on our defense and block them out, because we didn't get that done tonight," said Tigard senior Diego Lopez, who scored 16 points for the Tigers.
With the win, Clackamas evened its season record at 1-1. Tigard, which has high hopes for the season, also moved to 1-1 on the season with the setback.
"We have potential, but we're still early in the season, and we're working on our chemistry and fixing the little mistakes," Schlabach said.
"I think our potential is endless," Lopez said. "We just have to all be on the same page and work hard together."
The Tigers got off to a strong start in Saturday's game. In fact, Tigard led 4-0 just seven seconds into the game, with Schlabach sinking a pair of technical-foul free throws before the start and following that up with a short-range bank shot.
Schlabach would end up scoring eight points in the opening period, with Lopez and sophomore Drew Carter each scoring four points, helping the Tigers take a 21-13 lead into the second quarter.
Lopez scored on a layup, off a pass from senior Carson Crist, to start the second quarter. He followed that up with a basket on a drive to the hoop, giving Tigard a 25-13 lead with 6 minutes and 43 seconds left before halftime. Clackamas responded with an 8-0 run, trimming the Tigers' lead to 25-21 with 4:44 remaining in the second quarter.
Tigard got a 12-foot jumper by senior Jazz Ross to end the Cavaliers' run, but Clackamas was able to cut the Tigard lead to five, at 30-25, at halftime.
The Tigers tried to pull away again early in the third quarter. Carter sank a three-pointer and Schlabach connected on back-to-back jumpers, giving Tigard a 37-27 advantage with 5:14 left in the period. A tip-in by Ross gave the Tigers a 41-29 lead with 4:35 remaining in the quarter.
But Clackamas fought back again. The Cavaliers, getting a three-pointer by sophomore Ryan Lewis with just three seconds remaining in the period, trimmed the lead to 47-41 going into the fourth quarter.
Clackamas continued its rally in the final stanza. The Cavaliers tied the game, at 56-56, on a free throw by senior Jailen Hammer, coming with 3:54 left in the game. Clackamas then took its first lead of the contest, at 59-56, when Hammer drilled a three-pointer with 3:21 remaining.
Tigard answered with a three-point play by Ross and a banker by Schlabach, giving the Tigers a 61-59 lead with 2:34 left to play.
The lead went back and forth from there. Lopez converted a three-point play to give Tigard a 66-64 lead with 38.8 seconds remaining. Lewis then sank a three-pointer to give Clackamas a 67-66 advantage with 29 seconds left to play.
Tigard then worked the ball down low to Schlabach, who sank a turnaround jumper, giving the Tigers a 68-67 lead with nine seconds left to play. Clackamas got the ball to Hammer right away and, after quickly bringing the ball up court, Hammer sank a pull-up three-pointer as the buzzer sounded, giving Clackamas a 70-68 victory.
"We did a good job of getting the ball inside," Lopez said. "We got up in the second half a bit, with the press, but, in the end we couldn't get it done."
Schlabach scored his 31 points on a 15-for-21 shooting night from the field. He also had seven rebounds. Carter and Ross each scored five points for the Tigers.
Tigard, as a team, made 29 of 49 shots from the field, with one three-pointer, and nine of 13 free-throw attempts.
Hammer led Clackamas with 29 points, getting 18 of those points in the fourth quarter. Lewis added 17 points for the Cavs.
Clackamas, as a team, made 27 of 56 shots from the field and 10 of 15 free throws. The Cavaliers also outrebounded Tigard by a 30-21 margin, with many of those rebounds coming on the offensive end.
The loss, for Tigard, may have given the Tigers an early-season indication of what they need to work on.
"Our goal is to make it to the Chiles Center (site of the Class 6A state tournament)," Schlabach said. "We think we can do that. We're going to play some good competition at the (Les Schwab Invitational), and that will help. We have to fix our mistakes if we're going to compete with the best."
Tigard opened it season Friday with an 85-79 win over David Douglas in a Cody Hardin Invitational contest. Lopez scored 24 points in that game. Schlabach had 23 and senior Luke Ness scored 15.
The Tigers will be back in action on Friday, when they host Westview in a non-league game starting at 7 p.m.
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