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Skyhawks Stay Close, but Ultimately Fall to Tigers 60-54 in the Les Schwab Invitational

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Skyhawks Stay Close, but Ultimately Fall to Tigers 60-54 in the Les Schwab Invitational

Kyle Pinnell

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After coming into the Les Schwab Invitational on a high note– winning seven of their first eight games– the Southridge Skyhawks have hit a little bit of a skid.

Their most recent defeat came against the Tigard Tigers who pulled away in the fourth quarter to defeat the Skyhawks (6-4) 60-54 in a game where neither team could gain separation until the very end.

The defeat is the Hawks third straight while the Tigers (6-5) win marks their first victory of the tournament.

Senior Brock Henry led the Hawks with 19 points and eight rebounds. Tigers’ Stevie Schlabach finished with a double-double of 20 points and 11 rebounds.

“When it comes down to it it’s just a few possessions, a few more extra effort plays like Vesel’s been preaching, and we’re right there,” Henry said.

One thing that Southridge head coach Philip Vesel has been preaching to his team lately is physicality. This morning the Tigers outrebounded the Hawks 37-24 which led to 11 Tigard second-chance points.

“We knew they were going to be really physical, and they destroyed us on the boards,” Vesel said. “The thought is just to compete really, and we haven’t done a lot of that consistently at this tournament.”

One of the differences between the two teams came from turnovers as the Skyhawks 15 turnovers led to 24 points for the Tigers. In a six-point game, that can make all the difference.

The Skyhawks started the game really well as they led by three after the first quarter. In the second quarter, the Tigers used a 9-2 run to take the lead and went into halftime with a 28-26 advantage.

The Skyhawks used a 7-2 run late in the game to pull within five with just over a minute remaining, but that would be as close as they got.

Against Columbia Christian Thursday night the Skyhawks struggled with playing together as a cohesive unit. On Friday, Henry thought that the team showed definite improvement over their first two games despite the loss.

“We were playing together a lot more as opposed to drifting apart,” he said. “We really rallied together, and we relied on each other today and played together as a team.”

The Skyhawks will play their final game of the Les Schwab Invitational at 8:30 a.m Saturday morning against the South Salem Saxons, a team that was undefeated and ranked third in state coming into the tournament.

“You have to stop Skinny [Jaden Nielsen-Skinner], one of the top players in the state,” Henry said when asked about the upcoming game. “We have to make it hard for him all day, that will probably be the key. If he has trouble getting going than the whole team struggles to score.”

What Vesel wants from his team is effort.

“What I want to see is whether we play possessions and compete because we’re doing it in spurts and not consistently, so I just want to see us come to play,” he said. “The score takes care of itself when you learn how to compete and play together; that’s what we’re looking for.”

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Skyhawks Stay Close, but Ultimately Fall to Tigers 60-54 in the Les Schwab Invitational