North Marion's Cole Hammack can only watch while PHS senior Cole Beardsley drills one of his four 3-pointers. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

In the hallways and in the stands at halftime of Philomath High’s boys basketball showdown Tuesday night against North Marion, the banter among the crowd went along the lines of “I thought this was supposed to be a close game?”

Both teams came into the contest with 12-1 overall records with the Warriors ranked No. 1 and the Huskies No. 5. Yet, Philomath had looked invincible in the first half with a 45-16 lead at the break.

“They’re a top five team in the state and I did not expect us to come out and play like that,” PHS coach Blake Ecker admitted following the 80-37 rout. “We have some good pieces, no doubt about it, on our team and I think there’s still a lot of work we can do to keep getting better. I hope we’re playing this way in March.”

Senior Ty May, who scored 21 points, said it was crazy how the team was able to dominate the Huskies.

“I mean, we had what, three or four guys in double digits or something like that tonight,” May said. “If we can keep doing that game in and game out, we’re going to be fine. When you spread the scoring out like that, it makes the game fun.”

PHS senior Ty May, who scored 21 points, makes a strong move to the hoop. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Senior Cole Beardsley, who finished with a game-high 22 points, had a good feeling coming into the contest and believed Philomath had the potential to dominate.

“To be honest, I was telling our guys we should win by 30,” Beardsley said. “It’s no disrespect to them at all, I just feel we’re by far better than any team that gets in our way … just a lot of confidence.”

Philomath never trailed with junior Jacob Peters opening the game with a basket with an assist to Beardsley. The Warriors opened with a 14-2 run with Peters active under the hoop mixed in with effective drives by junior Preston Kramer, including a steal and a basket for a 12-point lead.

Ecker said the team did a nice job of moving around, playing off the ball and making the extra pass to score.

“They didn’t have the bigs that we did and we’re a little more physical inside than a lot of teams,” Ecker said. “Our goal right from the get-go was to attack inside and then out, which we did.”

PHS senior Chad Russell blocks a shot attempt by North Marion’s Cole Hammack in the first half Tuesday night. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Philomath put on a clinic in that area of the game by making those inside shots, which in turn opened up the perimeter for the outside shooters like Beardsley, who buried four 3-pointers in the win.

Peters was the third player in high double figures for scoring with 18. Meanwhile, Philomath’s defense shut down North Marion’s top shooters.

“No. 2 (Cole Hammack) is a heck of a player; I think he was averaging 24 points coming into the game … and that No. 4 (Dawson Schrenk) can really shoot and he got hot in the second half,” Ecker said. “Also No. 34 (Carter Reilly), he’s a load as well, very athletic and runs up and down well. So they had some guys that are good players and there’s a reason why they were 12-1.”

Jacob Peters scores two of his 18 points. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Hammock had a steady 15 points, Schrenk scored seven of his nine in the second half after the outcome had been decided and Reilley was limited to six.

“We had a film session right before this and we were just like, OK, (Nos.) 34, 2 and 4 were going to be their players,” May said. “And Chad (Russell) was like, I’ll take 34 and you know, he wanted that challenge and he shut him down. Cole, I mean, he’ll strap up just anybody he’s guarding … we just played so well together tonight.”

Junior Preston Kramer drives underneath. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Beardsley scored 10 points in the second quarter and the Warriors went in at the break with the 29-point lead. The script didn’t change in the second half with Philomath going up by 40 by the end of the third. Beardsley, May, Peters and Russell contributed to the scoring cause.

Among those third quarter highlights was a May slam dunk midway through the period after Beardsley had snagged an offensive board. May returned the favor in the final seconds on an effective pass to Beardsley for a 68-28 lead.

“We don’t have one weakness on this team,” Beardsley said. “Trey’s (Ecker) always telling us to buy into our roles, come out and be a team and that’s what we did.”

The fourth quarter went fast with a running clock entering the picture. Three-pointers by senior Brody Bushnell and May served as highlights down the stretch, which also included court time for the reserves — junior Kash Lindsey got the team score to 80 with 38 seconds left.

Philomath will play at home again on Friday with Sweet Home (1-14, 0-2) visiting the Warrior gym.

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.

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