Stiff Defense, Balanced Scoring, Hot Shooting Lead Newberg Past Franklin 65-54

Photo: Eric Watkins

Newberg — The Newberg Tigers entered Monday evening craving a winning streak and consistency, as the Tigers had won three games entering the game but had failed to put together a winning streak thus far. Coming off their win over Bend on December 21st, Newberg had nine days to prepare for Franklin, a team with 6’11” post presence Tucker Pellicci and two other players over 6’5″. The Tigers prepped and it showed, as they led their way past Franklin on their way to their first winning streak of the season.

The Lightning opened the game with a bang, as a Pellicci layup and Cayden Wagner trey put Franklin up 5-0 in the early going. Jovy Ogles responded with a trey and Spencer Lanier had a putback bucket to knot it up at five each. Pellicci and Wagner double dipped with another layup/trey combo to make it 10-5 Franklin, but Lanier, Corban Muthiah, and Vaibhav Brooks combined for a 6-0 run to give Newberg the lead 11-10 late in the quarter. After a pair of Lightning free throws made it 12-11, Brooks drilled a trey to make it 14-12 Newberg after one quarter.

Leading 15-14 early in the second, Caleb Jackson and Jake Gaunt started dousing the Lightning with some rain, as they hit back to back treys to make it a 21-14 football score lead for Newberg. Franklin hit a pair of free throws after the treys, but another three bomb by Newberg made it 24-16 midway through the second. Trailing 25-18, Franklin got themselves some momentum courtesy of a Wagner trey and a Jake Roe bucket, cutting the game to a 25-23 deficit. Newberg would ignite some dynamite to end the half, as the Tigers closed it out on an 11-0 run to lead 36-23 at the half. Cayden Wagner led all scorers with 11 points at the half, Corban Muthiah and Jovy Ogles had six points apiece for Newberg.

Photo: Eric Watkins

Franklin and Newberg traded buckets to open the second half, while Muthiah and Gaunt went on a 5-0 run immediately afterwards to make it 43-25 Tigers. Franklin responded with a 4-0 run to make it 43-29, and after a Gaunt bucket, went on a 6-0 run to trim it all the way back to 45-35 Newberg out front. The Tigers would hold the lead 50-37 after three quarters at home against the Lightning.

In the fourth, Franklin got a free throw, but Newberg turned up the offensive dial and brought the rain with three treys in a row, blowing open a 59-38 lead early in the fourth quarter. Franklin would continue their struggles controlling the ball offensively, allowing Newberg to pick up the W 65-54 over the Lightning and establish their first winning streak of the season. Jake Gaunt led with 14 points for the Tigers, while Franklin’s Caleb Wagner led all scorers with 22 points.

With their first winning streak established, Newberg’s Jake Gaunt and Spencer Lanier discussed the offensive and defensive game plans, along with the Tigers getting ready to enter Pacific Conference play in the near future.

Photo: Eric Watkins

Jake Gaunt on the offensive approach to Franklin, “For this particular game, the plan was to just play basketball. When we were able to drive in, we kicked it out because they were collapsing and we were able to shoot the ball well, so it really worked out well.”

Spencer Lanier on the defensive game plan for Franklin, “Well we were trying to rattle them, and trap their guards at half court to force them into a bad pass so we could pick it off. It worked really well for us.”

Jake Gaunt on the Tigers establishing consistency, “Playing Sherwood, Forest Grove, and others, its about finding confidence. Our guys are a really good shooting team this year, so when we come in with confidence we are able to shoot the ball, and like you said limiting turnovers is huge for us. We’ve got to limit our turnovers and play with poise.”

Spencer Lanier on the Tigers strengths entering conference play, “I think our senior guards with their leadership, especially Jake (Gaunt) and Luke (Esmond), along with the other guys in there. I think our shooting, press, and just our team chemistry will help.”

Newberg (4-5) hosts Summit on Friday, Franklin (4-3) travels to Beaverton on Friday

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