CORVALLIS — Now in his third season as a varsity starter, junior Ty May realizes the importance of players interacting with one another in a productive manner on the hardwood.
Take two seasons ago when he was a freshman. May said the team played well together, they clicked, and they went 20-4 and reached the state tournament as a No. 2 seed before the pandemic prevented a trophy run. Then last season, when the virus forced schools to play an abbreviated schedule in the spring, it didn’t come together quite in the same sort of way.
Based on how things unfolded Wednesday night at Corvallis, it appears that this Philomath squad just might have the right formula — even though the Warriors are only one game into a challenging schedule.
“We came together, you know, we were all working together to climb ourselves out of a hole that we put ourselves in,” May said after Philomath’s season-opening 51-45 overtime victory over the 5A Spartans. “It helps having everybody trust each other. I think trust was a big part of it.”
Ah yes, trust.
Trust that the big guys underneath will secure rebounds to limit second-chance shots. Trust that a teammate will make an accurate pass on the fast break. Trust that subs will come off the bench and hit the court running. And trust that long-range shooters can bury a 3-pointer at just the right moment.
Beyond those intangibles, the team needs to execute on both ends of the floor.
“It was a good learning game for us, no doubt about it,” PHS coach Blake Ecker said. “They had some good guards and played pretty well and hit some shots against us … we’ve got a lot to learn from that.”
With the game tied early at 7-7, the home-court Spartans ended the first quarter on a 7-1 run to take a six-point lead into the second quarter. Corvallis later held a 17-10 lead to put Philomath into its first hole of the evening.
Sophomore Preston Kramer provided a spark off the bench, including a 3-pointer with 5:37 left in the first half to momentarily disrupt the Spartans’ momentum. But Corvallis regrouped and again built a seven-point lead at 22-15.
Philomath responded in a big way with an 11-3 run to end the half. Senior Logan Carter scored inside, drew a foul and buried the free throw to pull the Warriors to within 22-18. Still, Corvallis hit a 3 to again go up by seven.
In the final 2 minutes of the half, however, sophomore Jacob Peters scored twice — the first after an offensive board and the second on an effective pass from senior Cole Matthews. May drove for two and Kramer scored off the glass to give Philomath a 26-25 lead at the break.
“I give credit to some of those guys that when we missed a shot, they’d get an offensive rebound, a tip, something, and that was a nice job getting those things,” Ecker said.
A couple of non-starters were especially effective.
“I thought Jacob Peters and Preston (Kramer) did a really good job,” May said, adding that Peters “works hard” and “flies around to make plays.”
“I was going up for a rebound on one possession and he came out of nowhere and just grabbed it out of my hands and I was like, ‘OK, this is how it’s going to be,” May said.
In the third, neither team could do much offensively and the game was tied 30-30 going into the fourth. The Warriors needed to regroup offensively.
“We kind of talked about getting the ball inside more because we had advantages inside,” Ecker said. “And then we were able to play a little more solid defense where we weren’t overplaying and giving up a good look.”
Corvallis opened the fourth with six straight points to build a bit of a cushion but the Warriors would not go away. Following a timeout with that six-point deficit, May scored on a fast-break jump shot with an assist to Kramer. About a minute later, Philomath cut the deficit to 36-34 on a second-chance bucket by Peters.
The two teams traded points and the Spartans held a 40-37 advantage with 1:21 remaining. Peters sank a pair of free throws with 1:02 left in regulation to cut the Corvallis lead to one and then after the Spartans hit a foul shot, Philomath tied it on two free throws by May.
The Warriors had an opportunity to win it at the buzzer but just missed to send the contest into overtime.
Philomath took a 43-41 lead 28 seconds into the extra time on a Kramer basket while Corvallis had trouble finding any room to operate against the PHS defense. With 2:40 remaining, junior Cole Beardsley buried a 3-pointer from the corner to give Philomath a 46-41 advantage.
“Cole Beardsley hit that dagger 3 in the corner — that was his first bucket of the night and it was just huge,” Ecker said.
Matthews hit a pair of free throws and then Kramer scored on a fast break with 1:22 left in OT to give Philomath a 50-41 lead. Corvallis scored a couple of times in the final minute to make things somewhat interesting but Philomath had the win secured.
May finished 16 points on five field goals and 5 of 6 on free throws. Kellen Sullivan led Corvallis with 18 points in a performance that included a trio of 3-pointers and 5 of 5 foul shots.
“A good win — it’s good to come over here and get a win against Corvallis,” Ecker said. “Put a feather in our cap and move on to Saturday.”
Philomath (1-0) will head to Junction City on Saturday to face the Tigers. The game is scheduled for a 7:15 p.m. tip-off. Junction City opened the season Wednesday with a 53-13 laugher over North Valley.
The Spartans (0-1) will play at home again Friday when Thurston pays a visit.
Philomath 51, Corvallis 45 (OT)
Wednesday, Dec. 1, at Corvallis HS
TEAMS (RECORDS) 1 2 3 4 OT FINAL Philomath (1-0) 8 18 4 11 10 51 Corvallis (0-1) 14 11 5 11 4 45 PHILOMATH FG FT-FTA PF TP 10 Cameron Ordway# 0 0-0 0 0 11 Cole Matthews# 3 3-4 1 9 13 Ty May# 5 5-6 3 16 30 Cole Beardsley# 1 0-2 2 3 53 Chad Russell# 0 0-2 3 0 4 Logan Carter 1 1-1 0 3 22 Preston Kramer 4 1-2 0 10 23 Carson Gerding 0 0-0 1 0 25 Jacob Peters 4 2-3 0 10 33 Isaac Lattin 0 0-0 0 0 TOTALS 18 12-20 10 51 # Starter CORVALLIS FG FT-FTA PF TP 10 Kellen Sullivan# 5 5-5 2 18 11 Zach Robel# 0 0-0 4 0 15 Karsten Sullivan# 4 2-4 4 11 22 Owen Sahnow# 2 2-4 1 6 25 Nate Thompson# 3 0-0 4 6 0 Avi Arora 0 0-0 0 0 3 Tommy Wright 1 0-0 0 2 4 Trey Johnson 0 0-0 0 0 33 Will Cronn 1 0-0 1 2 TOTALS 16 9-13 16 45 # Starter 3-Point Goals: Philomath 3 (May, Kramer, Beardsley), Corvallis 4 (Ke. Sullivan 3, Ka. Sullivan)
Fouled Out: None
Total Fouls: Philomath 10, Corvallis 16
Philomath 35, Corvallis 29
Wednesday, Dec. 1, at Corvallis HS
TEAMS 1 2 3 4 FINAL Philomath 9 5 8 13 34 Corvallis 4 11 8 6 29 JV GAME NOTES Philomath’s JV opens the season with a victory behind a strong fourth quarter. … Sophomore Owen Heiken scored a team-high 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting and 4 of 6 free throws. … Sophomore Kaden Muir hit for nine points with seven coming in the second half. … Logan Matthews scored eight points with six in the all-important fourth when the Warriors pulled away. … Philomath pretty much put the game away with 1:06 remaining on a Matthews hoop with an assist to Heiken. … Kash Lindsey, Muir and Heiken had key rebounds in the final minute. … The Warriors are scheduled to play Saturday at Junction City with the tipoff scheduled for 4 p.m.
JUNIOR VARSITY 2
Corvallis 63, Philomath 18
Wednesday, Dec. 1 at Corvallis HS
TEAMS 1 2 3 4 FINAL Philomath 6 6 0 6 18 Corvallis 18 14 20 11 63 JV2 GAME NOTES The JV2 squad opens the season with an 0-1 record. … Freshman Grant Niemann scored 10 of the team’s 18 points with eight of those coming in the first half. … Freshman Silas Pittman added four points. … The team shot 0 for 4 from the foul line. … Philomath’s JV2 team heads to Junction City on Saturday with a start scheduled for 5:45 p.m.
(As of Dec. 1)
Oregon West Conference Conf All PF PA Cascade
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 at Estacada
Friday, Dec. 3
Cascade at Central, 7 p.m.
Siuslaw at Newport, 7 p.m.
Stayton at Seaside, 7:30 p.m.
Woodburn at South Albany, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 4
Sweet Home at Gladstone, 5 p.m.
Philomath at Junction City, 7:15 p.m.
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