Philomath High junior Abigail Brown scored 15 points, grabbed six rebounds and blocked two shots. Said coach Ben Silva, "She was a monster today, I mean, she had a couple of finishes early on inside and stepped out and hit a 3. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

The Philomath High girls basketball team passed its first test at the Class 4A tournament on Thursday afternoon with a 58-30 win over Mazama in a quarterfinal matchup. Playing on Marshfield High’s court in Coos Bay, senior Sage Kramer hit for 22 points, junior Abigail Brown added 15 and the Warriors moved on to Friday’s semifinals.

“I thought we played fantastic team basketball,” PHS coach Ben Silva said. “Everyone came in and contributed, played their role and did what they needed to do.”

Brown had one of her top games of the season with those 15 points on seven field goals, including a 3-pointer, along with six rebounds and a couple of blocked shots.

“We’re starting to call her ‘big game ‘Gail’ — she just plays well when she’s down here,” Silva laughed, referring to her standout performances in last season’s 4A Showcase at Marshfield. “She was a monster today, I mean, she had a couple of finishes early on inside and stepped out and hit a 3. … We obviously knew going in with Mazama’s size that we had a mismatch inside but we were able to exploit that from various looks — Abigail inside and we also posted up our guards quite a bit.”

Kramer scored her 22 on nine field goals — two of those 3-pointers — and a pair of free throws. Kramer also had a game-high nine rebounds and was named as the Moda Health Player of the Game. About 4 minutes into the game, Kramer had a scare when she went down with a twisted ankle. 

“She was able to play; she wasn’t 100% but she gave us a gutsy, gutsy game,” Silva said. “It didn’t slow her down too much with 22 and she hit a couple of big 3s in the third that really put the game away.”

On defense, Silva said senior K Bacho caused all kinds of problems for Mazama up top on defense.

“She was tough for them to handle,” Silva said. “She created a lot of our early energy and a lot of turnovers early on.”

Philomath High senior Sage Kramer persevered an ankle twist and ended up scoring 22 points in Philomath’s win Thursday over Mazama. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

The Warriors (20-4) will play in the semifinals at 6:30 p.m. Friday against Hidden Valley in a rematch of last season’s 4A Showcase championship game. The game will be played at Marshfield

Hidden Valley, seeded No. 13, comes into the game with a 15-10 record, advancing with a 41-34 win Thursday over Marist Catholic after upsetting No. 4-seed Junction City in the first round, 51-42. The Mustangs beat Philomath, 44-39, on June 25 in the 4A Showcase finale on the same court at Marshfield High. But the Warriors defeated Hidden Valley earlier this season, 43-35.

In the win over Mazama, Philomath had a nine-point lead by the end of the first quarter. After Mazama scored the game’s first basket, the Warriors responded with six straight points — all by Kramer on two layups and two free throws. Mazama’s Kennedy Lease buried a 3-pointer to cut the Vikings’ deficit to one but Philomath scored seven straight to build an early cushion.

Brown hit a jump shot in the paint for an 8-5 lead. Kramer left the floor with the twisted ankle but the Warriors didn’t miss a beat with Brown hitting a 3-pointer and then Bacho scoring on a layup for a 13-5 advantage.

Following a Mazama hoop, Reagan Larson hit a free throw and Brown scored again for a 16-7 lead.

PHS senior K Bacho, seen here on the offensive end, had an exceptional game on defense. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

In the second quarter, Philomath took its first double-digit lead at 18-7 on a Kramer fast-break layup at the 6:35 mark. Mazama followed with a 3-pointer to cut the Warrior lead to eight but Philomath got it back up to 10 on an Ingrid Hellesto bucket.

Points by Kramer and Bacho had the Warriors on top by 14 with 2:47 left in the half. The Vikings scored on back-to-back baskets to get back to within 10 only to see Philomath respond with six straight to end the half. Kramer and Larson converted layups and Couture sank a jumper just before the buzzer.

The Warriors led 30-14 at halftime.

“It felt like we were very efficient … When we’re able to move the ball around and a couple people knock down shots, we’re tough to beat,” Silva said. “They can’t expend all of their energy focusing on one player when they know we have five on the court at a time that can be a threat.”

Senior Reagan Larson pulls up for a jumper against the Vikings. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

Philomath maintained its double-digit lead in the third quarter. Mazama cut its deficit to 13 at one point but the Warriors finished with an 8-2 run to go up by 19 headed to the fourth. Kramer scored all eight of those points late in the third with 3-pointers at the 2:25 and 53-second marks.

In the fourth, Philomath had a 9-0 run to go up by 25 points with 5:05 left. During that run, Brown scored on three straight layups and Hailie Couture hit a 3-pointer.

After the Vikings finally scored, Philomath then scored another seven straight on a Brown layup, Couture 3-pointer and Mia Bennett jumper. The Bennett basket gave Philomath a 30-point lead with 1:43 remaining.

The two teams traded points the rest of the way with Philomath getting two from sophomore Ahnika Tryon.

Junior Ella Baley scored 11 to lead Mazama (16-9).

Philomath shot 51% from the field compared to Mazama’s 34.2%. The Warriors hit 5 of 10 3-point attempts and held a 31-23 advantage on the boards.


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.