The Philomath High School girls and boys basketball teams will open the Class 4A state playoffs on Friday with first-round home games. The girls are scheduled to play at 5:30 p.m. against Henley with the boys following at 7:15 p.m. against North Marion.
The girls, under the direction of coach Ben Silva, earned the No. 1 seed for the postseason. The Warriors bring an overall record of 18-4 into the contest while the Hornets head in with a 15-9 record. Philomath won the Oregon West Conference title and Henley tied for second in the Skyline Conference. The Hornets advanced to state with a 52-39 play-in victory on Saturday over Woodburn.
Philomath has lost two of its last three games with an upset road loss against Stayton on Feb. 17 and a playoff-tuneup loss this past Friday against 5A playoff team Ridgeview. But the Warriors have been a force to be reckoned with all season with most contests ending as blowouts. The team won 12 straight games over a 40-day stretch until the stumble at Stayton and has a 16-1 record against 4A opponents.
The Philomath boys, meanwhile, enter the postseason as the No. 5 overall seed with an 18-5 record. The Warriors tied Cascade for first place in the conference standings. North Marion, which will be rejoining the Oregon West next academic year through the most recent Oregon School Activities Association realignment, went 12-10 and defeated Mazama, 79-69, in the play-in round. The Huskies finished in a tie for third in the Tri-Valley Conference.
Veteran coach Blake Ecker’s crew wasn’t able to arrange a game against another school this past Friday and so the team ran against an alumni squad. In official games, the Warriors are currently on a four-game winning streak with the last loss coming on Feb. 12 against Banks, the No. 11 seed in the playoffs.
Teams winning on Friday will punch their ticket to the Class 4A tournament at Coos Bay. The OSAA moved the tournament from Forest Grove after that school requested that it be relieved of hosting responsibilities. North Bend and Marshfield high schools will serve as game sites.
Fans wishing to attend the game Friday have the option of purchasing tickets online but Athletic Director Tony Matta said they can still be purchased at the door for these games. Prices set by the OSAA are $8 for adults (19 and older) and $5 for students (age 5 to high school senior).
Later at the state tournaments, fans will be required to purchase tickets digitally.