With a big game Saturday against a private school in Portland, the Knappa boys basketball team warmed up Thursday night with a victory over a private school in Portland.

After a slow start, the Loggers had a big second half in a 68-53 win at City Christian in Northwest League boys basketball action.

Knappa held a slim 14-11 lead after one quarter, but as the Loggers have done all season, they heated up in the second period and led 35-20 by halftime, thanks in part to a 7-1 run to start the quarter.

City Christian rallied and pulled to within 44-35 late in the third, but that’s as close as the Lions could get.

“Won an intense one,” said Knappa coach Paul Isom. “We battled through foul trouble and kept our composure in a really chippy game, which I was really happy with. We showed a lot of maturity and growth from when we started the year.”

Knappa’s Timber Engblom scored 27 points for the second game in a row, making that 54 points in two games. Eli Takalo added 18 for the Loggers.

“(Engblom) played really well tonight and kept us under control, even with some different lineups out there,” Isom said.

The Loggers improve to 12-2 in league play, behind first place Columbia Christian (13-0), which hosts Knappa for a Saturday afternoon game (4 p.m. tip-off).

Columbia Christian and Knappa have locked up the top two spots in the league standings (with Neah-Kah-Nie a distant third with an 8-6 league record). The two teams will meet a third time in the league playoffs to decide the No. 1 and 2 seeds to the state playoffs. The Knights and Loggers could also meet a fourth time at the state tournament in Pendleton.

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