The Philomath High School girls basketball team certainly hasn’t avoided any tough games through its first four on the schedule this season. The Warriors have faced three Class 4A teams ranked in the coaches poll top 10 along with a game on the road against an unbeaten 5A opponent.
Losses to No. 2 Gladstone and No. 7 Marist Catholic in the latter team’s tournament on Friday and Saturday sent the Warriors home to regroup this week in practice with a 1-3 record.
After defeating then-No. 9 Junction City in the season opener, 50-18, the No. 3-ranked Warriors lost to South Albany 35-30 to take a 1-1 record into the tournament. Philomath opened the two-day, four-team Marist Classic on Friday with a 55-50 loss to unbeaten Gladstone, the team that would go on to win the tournament on Saturday with a 61-53 victory over Henley.
The Gladiators erupted for 22 points in the second quarter behind a barrage of 3-pointers to turn a 10-8 lead at the end of the first quarter into a 32-18 advantage over PHS at halftime.
Philomath battled back in the third quarter to cut its deficit to single digits going into the fourth. Senior Abigail Brown, who finished with a game-high 24 points, and sophomore Zoee Howard, who came off the bench to score 12, each had two baskets in the third. Junior Ahnika Tryon sank all four of her free-throw attempts, Howard had a free throw as well and senior Mia Bennett hit a shot.
But the comeback bid fell short in the fourth quarter. Philomath put up another 17 against the Gladiators over the final eight minutes with Brown scoring nine of those points. Howard and freshman Emily Taunisila also hit baskets and Philomath made 7 of 9 free throws.
But the Gladstone 3-pointers proved to be the difference in the game. Both teams hit 17 field goals and 16 free throws but the Gladiators had six 3-pointers spread around among five players.
Sophomore guard Ryme Jaekel had a team-high 15 for Gladstone.
On Saturday, Marist Catholic methodically pulled away for a 40-17 victory as Philomath failed to get anything going offensively. The Warriors were limited to just seven points in the first half and all of those were scored in the first quarter.
Marist was coming off a 56-55 loss to Henley on Friday and took it out on the Warriors. The Spartans didn’t do anything spectacular on offense but did hit a trio of 3-pointers while getting 13 points out of senior guard Paige Doerr.
Philomath finished with six field goals, one of those a 3-pointer by Howard, and 4 of 8 on free throws.
The Warriors have been playing without injured starter Hailie Couture since the first quarter of the South Albany game.
The Warriors are scheduled to open the Dec. 15-17 Les Schwab South Coast Tournament in Coos Bay against Mazama. Those games are being played at Marshfield High School. Then after an 11-day break from competition, the team heads to Alaska for the Clarke Cochrane Christmas Classic on Dec. 28-30.