Falcons Keep it Close Most of the Way, but Skyhawks get Back to Winning Ways After Defeating La Salle Prep 76-55

Kyle Pinnell

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All streaks must come to an end.

Last Friday night the Tigard Tigers came into Southridge and defeated the Skyhawks 54-50 while snapping their 44-game winning streak against in-state opponents. The last time the Hawks were defeated by an Oregon foe came two years ago in the Nike Interstate Shootout where they fell to the La Salle Falcons.

On Tuesday night the Skyhawks (3-1) played La Salle (1-2) once again, but this time they used the game to get back on track as they pulled away late to defeat the resilient Falcons 76-55 at Southridge High School.

The Skyhawks were led by captain Cameron Brink who finished the game with 29 points on 13-16 (81%) shooting from the field. McKelle Meek finished the game with 19 points and four assists.

The Falcons were able to keep the game close for the majority of the night, but eventually the Hawks were able to get into a rhythm and find easy baskets in the fourth quarter. They used a late 12-3 run to seal the game and make the final margin look a lot larger than it felt.

“They played man defense in the fourth and that’s when we were able to score more and pound it in the post,” Meek said. “I was able to attack more and get to the line as well.”

Both teams went blow for blow to start the game. Every time the Hawks threatened to pull away the Falcons found an answer of their own. The Hawks pressed high up the floor to try and disrupt their rhythm, but in doing so the Falcons found themselves in two-on-one situations where they were able to find open shooters.

“A part of that is when you press; sometimes you’re doing it just to tire them out,” Southridge head coach Michael Bergmann said. “They have energy at first, but eventually they are going to ware down and we can keep throwing people at them.”

Eventually, the Hawks were able to strew together a few stops, helping them take a 46-30 lead into the break.

While the Falcons were down at halftime, they definitely weren’t out. They clawed back into the game and outscored the Hawks eleven to four in the third quarter as both offenses became stagnant.

However, while the Skyhawks couldn’t buy a bucket in the third quarter, they scored 26 points in the fourth quarter to finally put the game away.

“It’s just attacking the paint whether by pass or dribble, not settling,” Bergmann said about the difference between the third and fourth quarters. “I think we came out again with that attitude like ‘okay we got this win,’ instead of ‘we got to get better.’”

A few days ago, Tigard showed other teams that the key to defeating the Skyhawks was by running a zone defense that blankets the post on both sides. La Salle ran that type of zone and many of their future opponents will use it as well. It’s a defense that the Hawks will have to deal with a lot this year and something they will need to take advantage of.

In order to do that however, they need to be able to hit the wide-open three’s that are conceded by a defense that is more concerned about giving up points in the paint than allowing the Hawks to bomb away.

Against Tigard the Hawks were not able to make the defense pay. However, against La Salle they knocked down 8-16 (5-%) of their three’s which stretched the defense and caused problems later on.

“I mean me personally I know I have to knock it down if we want to stay in the game and I think that’s what everyone else has in their minds as well,” Meek said.

The Skyhawks will play one more game before flying down to Phoenix to take part in the Nike Tournament of Champions. In their first game of the tournament they take on Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, CA), the #1 ranked team in the nation.

‘I thought our effort was better which is what we were trying to do, Bergmann said. “Put more ball pressure, have more effort, play better as a team. I thought we did that. We didn’t have a great game, but I thought we played hard and that’s the first step.”