The Dalles Wahtonka boy’s basketball team battled back from a seven-point deficit to start the fourth quarter, but could not complete a furious comeback bid in its 48-46 loss Tuesday night to Franklin in non-league hoops action in Portland.

After one frame played, the Eagle Indians inched ahead with a slim 15-14 lead on the Quakers.

The positive roll kept going in the second quarter, as TDW built on their early advantage with an 11-9 spurt to jump out in front by a 25-23 halftime margin.

After the break, Franklin found a source of renewed energy to kick off the second stanza, as it dropped 20 points on the Tribe for a 20-10 rally to move out in front, 43-36 entering the final frame.

TDW wound up outscoring Franklin 10-5 in the final quarter, overcoming a seven-point deficit to regain control at one point.

“It was a back-and-forth game,” said TDW coach Bob Townsend. “We retook the lead with about 4:30 to go in the fourth (quarter), but could not hold on. We had several opportunities at the end down two, but couldn’t capitalize.”

Senior point guard Steven Bartells led the Eagle Indians with 15 points, and Coby Conlee muscled his way to 12 points.

Senior swingman Zach Nerdin, capped a trio of double-digit scorers, adding 11 to the scoresheet.

For an opening matchup against a good 5A program, Townsend liked the aggressiveness he saw from his Tribe team.

Last year, TDW allowed an average of 50.9 points, so to hold the Quakers to 48 at this point in the season shows that TDW still has the athletes to shut down an opposing squad. Now it is a matter of getting all of the phases working on all cylinders.

“Overall, our defensive intensity was good, but we gave up too many offensive rebounds, and had a couple of costly turnovers,” the Eagle Indian coach said. “I was pleased with effort, but we have to minimize our mental mistakes to win on the road.”

The schedule does not get any easier for TDW (0-1 overall), as it caps an early two-game roadtrip with a long-distance showdown versus Beaverton at 5:45 tonight.

After that contest, the Tribe hosts Oregon City at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Radio station 1440 AM KODL will broadcast the game.

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