Tiger Tony Bautista, no. 4, charges past Loyalton Grizzly Luis Rivas, no. 13. Photos by Mari Erin Roth

Tigers pounce on Grizzlies

Tiger Mya Wilson shoots.

The Portola High School basketball teams had a busy week on the courts. Playing against Loyalton on Jan. 16 in Portola, the Tigers came out on top in both the girls’ and the boys’ games.

Portola vs. Loyalton girls, Jan. 16

The lady Tigers had one heck of a game against Loyalton; the final score was a victory for PHS 37-36.

For the entirety of the game, the Tigers could not take the lead from those Grizzly Bears. They would get close, but be unable to overtake Loyalton; the first period ended 6-4, the second 23-13, the third 28-27.

That all changed when, with just a couple minutes left in the game, the “Portola Maddies” came through. PHS’s Maddie Boyd sunk the basket that finally moved the Tigers out front, 35-34, for the first time in the game. The crowd went wild.

Then Portola’s Maddie Wilson added another two points for good measure, 37-34. That was a really good thing for the Tigers because the Grizzlies were able to muster up enough force to add another basket. Thanks to the two Maddies, it wasn’t enough. “I think when I picked the ball and we took possession that that switched the momentum,” said Boyd. “And then we were able to take control of the ball,” said Wilson, and they kept it until the seconds ticked off.

Tiger’s basketball coach Matt Compton commented after the game, “I really liked the way the girls persevered. They weren’t shooting that good in the first half, but they did better in the second half.”

The Portola ladies went on to win a conference game against Maxwell, 47-20, on Jan. 19.

Portola vs. Loyalton girls, Jan. 20

The Tiger girls traveled to Loyalton to meet the Grizzlies on their home court Saturday. The girls won again, by a close 6 points, 55-49. The first period ended with the ladies trailing 15-11, but that was the end of that. In the second period, the score was 23-22, the third 40-34. The Tigers learned their lesson to keep a safer distance from those Loyalton Grizzlies.

Portola vs. Loyalton boys, Jan. 16

The boys beat the Grizzlies 58-45. Senior Antonio Bautista and sophomore Keegan Folchi each hit 16 points for the Tigers, leading the way on the scoreboard. Junior Ricky Johnston put up 10 points and senior Eric Jacobson and junior Austin Griffin each added 8 points.

Instigating instantaneous cheers from the crowd, Folchi hit two for two of his 3-pointer attempts. The Tigers are an animated and a fun team to watch as they pour tons of energy into the game.

As a team, Portola picked up 21 rebounds to the 15 the Grizzlies were able to gather. Helping the Tigers control the boards was Bautista with 13 rebounds and Johnston with 10. Jacobson picked up seven rebounds, Griffin picked up six and Folchi grabbed five.

The Tigers were charged with 18 personal fouls during the game and the Grizzlies were charged with 22.

Leading the Loyalton scoring was junior B. Martinez with 11 points, 6 points of which were 3-pointers. The Tigers will see this player next year with sophomore J. Armstrong scoring 10 Grizzly points including six 3-point attempts.

The boys went on to play the Maxwell Bulldogs on Jan. 19 in a league game and lost by a close score of 52-49. Scores by quarters were Maxwell taking the lead 16-13, 32-25, and 42-38.

Leading the effort for the Tigers were Ricky Johnston with 17 points, Keegan Folchi with 12 points and Eric Jacobson with 9. Folchi hit two 3-pointers and Jacobson one. Johnston led in rebounds as well, picking up 22.

Portola vs. Loyalton boys, Jan. 20

The boys’ second game against Loyalton was a loss, 65-52. The Grizzlies earned the lead in the first period 13-10, but the Tigers took if from them 26-24 by the half. In the third quarter, the Grizzlies tapped into their inner bear and put 29 points on the boards to the Tiger’s 13. The score going into the fourth period was 53-39. The Tigers matched the Grizzly effort the fourth period 13-12, but the lead was too great to change the outcome.