Ty May and Cole Beardsley
Ty May and Cole Beardsley (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

The Philomath High School boys basketball team saw a comfortable 14-point halftime lead evaporate in the third and fourth quarters as Junction City came from behind to steal a 43-41 victory on Saturday night.

With their first two games going down to the wire, the Warriors (1-1) will now take a six-day break from competition. The team will play its home opener on Friday, Dec. 10 against Class 5A Central.

In the game at Junction City, senior Cole Matthews buried a 3-pointer, followed up with a drive for two more and then junior Chad Russell scored inside to give the Warriors an early 7-0 lead. Philomath had its first double-digit advantage at 12-2 when junior Ty May converted on a three-point play — scoring two after a steal and pass from junior Cole Beardsley, drawing the foul and hitting the free throw.

The Warriors first bucket of the second quarter put the team up by 12 points. On the play, sophomore Preston Kramer got lost behind the Junction City defense and easily scored on a layup on a pass from Beardsley. Philomath later in the quarter had its biggest lead of the game at 15 when senior Carson Gerding scored, drew a foul and hit the free throw for a 24-9 advantage.

However, in the second half, the Warriors’ offense hit a wall. Junction City opened the third with a Court Knabe 3-pointer followed by a steal and hoop from Kaleb Burnett. Philomath regrouped for a few moments and scored five straight to get the lead back up to 35-21. Matthews hit his second 3-pointer of the game. Then, Beardsley got a steal and missed on the other end, but senior Cameron Ordway was trailing the play and scored on the follow-up.

But that would be it for the third. By the end of the quarter, Junction City had trimmed the Warrior lead down to 35-28.

The Tigers put together a 9-0 run to end the third and carry over into the fourth. Matthews scored to end the Philomath drought and to give the Warriors a 37-30 lead. Junction City chipped away at the deficit, however, and tied the score 37-37 on a steal and dunk by Colby Evans.

Philomath regained the lead moments later on a Russell hoop. Then, the Warriors got a big defensive play out of Matthews, who came up with a blocked shot and got the ball to a teammate. May ended up going to the hoop on the ensuing fast break and drew a whistle. He made 1 of 2 foul shots with Junction City still trailing by one possession.

The Tigers pulled to within 40-39 with a couple of Burnett foul shots on a 1-and-1 opportunity. Philomath got one of those back on a free throw by Kramer to make it 41-39.

The Warriors wouldn’t score the rest of the way. Knabe came up big on his home floor, tying the game on a jump shot and then giving Junction City its first lead of the game on a drive to the hoop in the final seconds.

On the final play, Philomath attempted a full-court pass to Russell, who was situated near the basket. But he wasn’t able to finish and the Tigers could celebrate the comeback.

On the stat sheet, May finished with a team-high 15 points and Matthews had 12. Knabe scored 18 for the Tigers and Burnett had 16. The Knabe-Burnett attack accounted for 34 of Junction City’s 43 points.

Junction City 43, Philomath 41
Saturday, Dec. 4, at Junction City HS

Philomath (1-1)15155641
Junction City (2-0)511121543
4-Logan Carter#00-000
10 Cameron Ordway#10-002
11 Cole Matthews#50-0312
30 Cole Beardsley#10-012
53 Chad Russell#20-134
13 Ty May54-6415
22 Preston Kramer11-213
23 Carson Gerding11-103
25 Jacob Peters00-010
33 Isaac Lattin00-000
# Starter
3 Kaleb Burnett#63-4316
10 Chris Ohman#20-015
14 Jaxson Kister#00-030
24 Court Knabe#63-5318
40 Colby Evans#10-042
4 Keivon Riley10-012
20 Gabe Ward00-010
32 Giovanni Dolci00-000
# Starter
3-Point Goals: Philomath 3 (Matthews 2, May), Junction City 5 (Knabe 3, Ohman, Burnett)
Fouled Out: None
Total Fouls: Philomath 13, Junction City 16
Technicals: None

Philomath 44, Junction City 34
Saturday, Dec. 4, at Junction City HS

Junction City7157534
Philomath’s JV goes to 2-0 on the season with a strong second half at Junction City. … Sophomore Kash Lindsey hit five field goals and 4 of 5 free throws for a game-high 15 points. … Sophomore Conner Harms finished with nine points with seven on those in the first half. … Philomath trailed 22-20 at halftime but limited the Tigers to just 12 points over the final two quarters. … Lindsey scored seven points, including a 3-pointer, to highlight the third quarter when PHS outscored Junction City, 15-7. … The JV team plays next on Dec. 10 at home against Central.

Philomath 37, Junction City 32
Saturday, Dec. 4, at Junction City HS

Junction City74101132
The JV2 squad regrouped after its season-opening loss to take care of Junction City by five on the road. … With the game tied, 11-11, at halftime, the Warriors had the upper hand in the third quarter with freshmen Eli Bush and Kaden Wenger each hitting 3-pointers. … Freshman Silas Pittman threw in 13 points on six field goals and a free throw with four in the fourth quarter. … Freshman Grant Niemann had seven points, five of those in the third quarter. … Philomath’s JV2 team is scheduled to next see action on Dec. 10 against Central on the home floor.

Conference Standings
(As of Dec. 1)

Oregon West ConferenceConfAllPFPA
Sweet Home

Wednesday, Dec. 1
Philomath 51, Corvallis 45 (OT)
Cascade 65, North Marion 37
Newport 71, Tillamook 56
Redmond 72, Sisters 35
Stayton 83, Estacada 48
Sweet Home 44, Elmira 26
Thursday, Dec. 2
Sisters 44, Estacada 43
Friday, Dec. 3
Cascade 57, Central 39
Siuslaw 60, Newport 43
Seaside 53, Stayton 34
Woodburn 61, South Albany 59
Saturday, Dec. 4
Gladstone 39, Sweet Home 33
Junction City 43, Philomath 41
Monday, Dec. 6
Banks at Stayton, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 7
Elmira at Sisters, 5:30 p.m.
Cascade at Marist Catholic, 5:45 p.m.
North Marion at Woodburn, 7 p.m.
Molalla at Sweet Home, 7 p.m.
Newport at Harrisburg, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 9
North Marion at Stayton, 7 p.m.

PhilomathNews.com has no paywall and to keep it that way, we rely on voluntary memberships. If you’re already a member, thank you for contributing. To join our community as a member or to make a one-time contribution, please CLICK HERE.