TONASKET – Agustin Pedregon’s winning percentage as the Tonasket boys basketball coach will never be higher.
The Tigers won their new coach’s opening game 60-50 over Liberty Bell on Friday, Nov. 30, to lift Pedregon to a technically-unbeaten 1-0 record on opening night. They also made it a bit interesting in doing so.
Tonasket led by as many as 16 points twice in the third quarter before the Mountain Lions came back to make a game of it, but the Tigers pulled away in the final four minutes for the victory.
“Defensively, we have a long ways to go,” Agustin said. “We can do better, but we have a long ways to go until all five cylinders are running at all times.”
Indeed, part of the reason Liberty Bell was able to get back in the contest was that Pedregon used the game, especially the latter part of the third quarter, to experiment with different combinations of players to see what worked and what didn’t.
But after Liberty Bell went on a seven point run midway through the fourth, capped by Liam Daily’s 3-pointer, the big Tiger lead had been whittled down to two. Two of the Tigers’ posse of experienced juniors, Dyllan Gage and Michael Orozco, wrested control of the game back as Gage hit a short jumper and Orozco hit two free throws after a back-court steal on the ensuing inbounds pass.
Tonasket hit 6-of-8 free throws, including 3-of-4 by sophomore post Colton Leep, to seal the verdict.
“We’re still figuring out our rotations seeing what some of the kids can do and trying new combinations,” Pedregon said. “That’s what these (nonleague) games are for. We’ll definitely be a work in progress these next three games.”
The Tigers controlled most of the first half, working the ball inside to Leep, getting slashing drives from Trevor Terris and jumpers from Gage, as well as a 3-pointer from Ian Young.
Pedregon was most concerned about the Tigers’ 25 turnovers.
“We do need to control the ball better,” he said. “That’s 25 shots we never got to take. We shot the ball pretty well and we hit our free throws. Mostly I’m happy that we played with intensity from beginning to end.”
Gage and Leep led a balanced scoring attack with 14 points apiece, with Orozco adding 13. Terris chipped in with 10 while Derek Sund tallied six first quarter points. Orozco added seven rebounds, five assists and four steals while Leep added seven rebounds.
Tonasket (1-0) plays at Lake Roosevelt on Tuesday and hosts Oroville on Friday, Dec. 7.