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Tigers take aim at another title

The Tigard boys have reason for high hopes in 2013-2014


by: JOHN LARIVIERE - SLAM IT HOME -- Tigard junior post Joel Johnson (left) goes up for a dunk over Oregon City's Austin DeWitz during Friday's game. The Tigers scored a 73-60 victory over the Pioneers. TIGARD — They’ve got talent.

They’ve got experience.

And they’ve got a conference championship they want to defend.

In other words, the Tigers seem to have a lot going for them.

And, with that in mind, the Tigard High School boys basketball team is taking some high hopes into the 2013-2014 season.

“We have a bunch of returnees, including three kids who received all-league recognition, so we feel good about our experience,” Tigard coach Shawn Alderman said. “We hope to compete for another league title.”

The Tigers have a number of key returnees from last year’s squad that won the Pacific Conference crown at 14-0 while going 19-8 on the season.

Among those returnees is senior point guard Bryan Berg (6-foot-2), who was a first-team All-Conference selection last year, when he served as Tigard’s sixth man.

The Tigers also return senior wing Nick Kaelin (6-1), who was a second-team all-conference selection last year.

“Berg and Kaelin return in the backcourt and both bring leadership as well as being good players,” Alderman said. “Kaelin is one of the best perimeter defenders that we have had in quite awhile.”

In the post, Tigard has a returning starter in junior Joel Johnson (6-7), who was an honorable mention all-conference pick las year as a sophomore.

“Joel Johnson should have a very good year, as he has worked very hard on his game and in the weight room,” Alderman said.

Tigard has three other senior returnees who all gathered plenty of playing time last year in wings Elijah Simon (6-4), Nathanael Ditton (6-3) and Jett Even (6-4).

The Tigers have another returnee, of sorts, in senior wing A.J. Hotchkins (5-10). Hotchkins, a football standout at Tigard, saw some varsity basketball action as a Tiger freshman, but he didn’t play basketball the past two years.

Newcomers to the Tigard varsity roster include senior wing Daniel Webster (6-1), junior point guard Brady McGetrick (6-1), senior wing Troy Scott (6-0), senior post Niko Niblack (6-3) and junior wing Nick Brown (6-2).

“Depth, experience and athleticism are our strengths,” Alderman said. “Chemistry will be a key for us this year.”

And, while Tigard is looking to successfully defend its Pacific Conference championship, the Tigers understand that won’t be an easy task.

“We hope to fight for another league title, but know that it will be tough,” Alderman said. “Our league is underrated — always has been. Tualatin and McMinnville are always tough games and Forest Grove is very talented. Century has (Jamal) Liggins back and are extremely well coached.”

Tigard picked up its first win over the season on Friday, when it posted a 73-60 victory over Oregon City in a non-league games at Oregon City High School.

Berg led the way for the Tigers in the win with 18 points and five assists. Johnson added 14 points along with seven rebounds. Hotchkins scored 13 points in the victory.

Tigard picked up another victory on Tuesday as it notched a 58-29 win over Roseburg in a non-league played at Tigard High School.

Berg, Johnson and Kaelin each scored 11 points to pace the Tigers in that win.

With the two victories, Tigard upped its early-season record to 2-1.

The Tigers will be back in action Friday when they host Jesuit in a non-league game starting at 7:30 p.m. at Tigard High.



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