Cole Beardsley
PHS junior Cole Beardsley plays defense in a game earlier this week. (File photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

Warriors come up big in 4th quarter to down Stayton, 68-50

The Oregon West Conference’s top scoring offense and top scoring defense clashed on the court Thursday in a key matchup that impacted the chase for the league championship. When the final buzzer sounded, visiting Philomath had defeated Stayton, 68-50, to remain in contention for the Oregon West Conference regular-season title.

Philomath’s defense has been stellar this season with the Warriors allowing just 39.5 points per game. Stayton’s offense, meanwhile, scores an average of 60.9 points per game and the 50 points on Thursday was the most scored against PHS in league play this season. But Philomath also scored 15 points above its offensive average to win going away.

The game remained close through three quarters. Philomath had slim leads of 14-13 after the first, 28-27 at halftime and 44-40 going into the fourth. But over those final eight minutes, the Warriors threw in 24 points and limited the home-court Eagles to just 10.

Success at the free-throw line proved to be big in the fourth with junior Cole Beardsley converting on nine of 10 attempts (finishing 11 of 12 for the game). Beardsley finished with 17 points in all with his other points coming on a pair of 3-pointers.

Junior Ty May, who sat out Tuesday’s game with an elbow infection, was able to return to the court and he responded with 17 points of his own on seven field goals and a pair of free throws.

In addition to the team’s 83.3% success rate at the foul line, Philomath was also hitting on its long-range attempts. Along with Beardsley’s shots, senior Carson Gerding also hit a pair of 3-pointers — both coming in the fourth. Senior Cameron Ordway, senior Cole Matthews and May also had 3s.

Philomath remains tied for first place in the Oregon West — both teams with just one loss — and it appears that that will not change at the conclusion of the regular season. The Warriors have the tougher road remaining with a trip on Tuesday to what will certainly be an upset-minded Newport squad. Cascade has games remaining against the bottom two teams in the league — tonight at Sisters and Tuesday at Sweet Home.

Philomath and Cascade split the season series between the two with each winning on their home courts. Both schools are in the top four in the latest Oregon School Activities Association rankings.