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- Written by Allan Classen
- Published on December 15, 2012
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Tigard’s hopes of knocking off No. 5 West Linn in the first round of the Halligan Winter Classic vanished on the wings of an eight-point play. The Tigers were soaring with a 44-37 lead late in the third period when an extraordinary eight-point bomb brought them to earth.
It began with a layin by West Linn’s freshman point guard, Payton Pritchard. The referee called a blocking foul during the shot, and Pritchard made the free throw for the three-point play.
Tigard coach Shawn Alderman argued that the call should have been a charge. Before calming down, he advised the ref, “I have the game film,” triggering a technical foul. West Linn made both of the technical foul shots.
The technical also returned possession to the Lions, which they turned into a three-point basket. So a seven-point lead evaporated and became a 45-44 West Linn lead. The Lions would stretch the run with four more points before Tigard scored again.
Tigard clawed back within a point in the last two minutes of the game, but West Linn made all the key plays down the stretch and won 61-53.
The game featured an intrigued matchup between Tigard’s superb senior point guard, Evan Garrison, and West Linn’s Pritchard, who resembles him in style, size and potential. Garrison has run the offense for Tigard since his sophomore season, when he scored 11 points per game, and made honorable mention all-league. He was second-team all-Pacific Conference as a junior. He has gotten better, stronger and more poised each year, but Pritchard’s arc may exceed his. Pritchard, after all, is launching his career as a freshman.
Tigard also has a young player with a promising future. Joel Johnson, a towering sophomore post, is an excellent rebounder and shot-blocker who twice cuffed inside power shots by West Linn’s 6-5 post Ryan Shearmire, who made first team all-6A-tournament last March. Johnson is listed at 6-7, but he had at least four inches on Shearmire.