Warriors senior Abigail Brown muscles her way inside against Cascade. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Visiting Cascade broke open a close game in the second quarter with an 18-1 run and went on to defeat Philomath in an Oregon West Conference girls basketball matchup on Monday night, 58-33.

With the victory, the Cougars claimed the league title outright as the Warriors had to settle for second place. The loss appears to have knocked Philomath out of an automatic berth into the playoffs with a likely play-in game coming on Friday.

“We’ll find a way to move on and make some improvements in the next week,” PHS coach Ben Silva said. “I don’t know, we’ll probably have to play in the play-in round now, I would imagine. We’re close to being that top second-place team but there’s a lot of movement with wins and losses, so I think we’ll probably play this Friday.”

The Oregon School Activities Association rankings will freeze after Tuesday night’s games. Heading into those final contests, Philomath is on the outside looking in for one of the two at-large berths. The Warriors would be playing at home.

“Hopefully we can come out and perform better than that on our home court,” Silva said. “The girls were not very happy with their performance and I need to do a better job of getting them ready to play.”

Warriors senior Hailie Couture shoots inside in the second half. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Philomath and Cascade traded baskets throughout the first quarter and a couple of minutes into the second. The Warriors took an 8-7 lead with 1:25 left in the first on a hoop by sophomore Anneka Steen off an in-bounds pass. Later with 6:26 remaining in the second, PHS went up 12-11 on a basket by senior Abigail Brown.

But then the game took a dramatic swing with the Cougars dominating the rest of the half. Cascade’s 18-1 run developed over a span of 5-1/2 minutes. The Warriors stopped the bleeding late in the half when senior Hailie Couture drilled a 3-pointer.

“They hit a lot of shots and we left a lot at the hoop,” Silva said. “It’s sort of starting to become a bit of a story — leaving points at the hoop that we should have.”

Coming out for the second half, Philomath would need to play catch-up quickly and Steen scored early on following an effective pass from Couture. But Cascade had all of the answers and put the game away with a 16-5 advantage in the third quarter.

“We had too many turnovers as well,” Silva said. “I thought we also played on our heels a little bit and there was too much tension, so I don’t know, they just looked tight the whole night.”

Junior guard Maddie Dustin scored 26 points for the Cougars. Freshman guard Olivia Bennett finished with 18.

For the Warriors, Couture had a team-high 11 points with nine of those coming on a trio of 3-pointers.

PHS freshman Emily Taunisila shoots from the perimeter in the second half. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.