Chad Russell
Junior Chad Russell goes hard to the hoop during Friday night’s 51-48 win over Cascade. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

While watching game film on Cascade and knowing the matchups that could happen on the court, Philomath High boys basketball coach Blake Ecker scrawled in his notes, “Chad’s going to have a great game.”

Referring to 6-foot-6 post Chad Russell, Ecker’s prophecy — which he shared with the team during Thursday’s practice — turned out to be accurate. Russell was one of three Philomath players to hit double digits and the big man was a terror on defense with rebounds and blocks on Friday night in the Warriors’ 51-48 victory.


“He was phenomenal tonight, he did a great job,” Ecker said. “He stayed out of foul trouble for the most part and it was a good all-around effort. It was a team effort, a lot of guys played well.”

Junior Ty May had a team-high 14 points, Russell scored 11 and senior Cole Matthews finished with 10 in a key Philomath win to open Oregon West Conference play.

PHS coach Blake Ecker smiles while the bench celebrates during Friday night’s 51-48 win over Cascade. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

The combination of May and Russell down low can take over a game.

“I can shoot it mid-range but we can go high level all day,” Russell said. “There’s not too many people out there who’s going to stop this combination, especially with our guards out there who can shoot it pretty well, too.”

Putting a tally mark in the win column out of the gate is big in a tight league like the Oregon West. The OSAAtoday coaches poll, released earlier in the week, had Cascade at No. 2 and Philomath at No. 6 to thicken the plot on the game’s importance not only in the league, but in all of Class 4A.

“They’re a good team — they’ve got guys left and right that are athletic, they’re long, they have all of the right pieces,” Ecker said. “We battled and fought and scrapped and it was great.”

The game remained close most of the way but Philomath did have to play from behind from about the midway point of the second quarter until the final minute of the third. The Warriors took a 41-39 lead into the fourth after junior Cole Beardsley drilled a 3-pointer moments after he had come up with a steal on the defensive end.

In the fourth, May’s 3-pointer with 6:03 remaining put Philomath up by five. But Cascade came back and tied it up, 44-44, on a pair of Ty Best free throws and a Kellen Sande 3-pointer. To make things a little hairier, May picked up his fourth foul with 3:34 left.

Senior Cameron Ordway moves the ball against Cascade. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

Cascade took a 46-44 lead when Best dunked. May countered on the other end with a second-chance basket that again tied it, 46-46, but then Best scored on a put-back to give the Cougars a two-point lead.

With 1:04 left in the game, senior Cole Matthews put Philomath on top with a 3-pointer. After stopping Cascade on the other end, the Warriors went up 51-48 on a Russell basket with 18 seconds left.

Junior Ty May goes up for a shot against the Cougars. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

The Cougars had a chance to force overtime with 1 second remaining when Best went to the free-throw line. He had drawn a foul from beyond the arc in the act of shooting so he could tie the game by sinking all three free throws. Instead, he missed the first two and then bounced the ball off the backboard in an unsuccessful attempt to create a scoring opportunity.

“In the first half, we were getting a little frantic because they were putting pretty good ball pressure on us,” Russell said. “But coming out in the second half, I think we really pulled together as a team. We actually started moving the ball around and we calmed down … I think we played very well tonight.”

Beyond those three Warriors that hit double figures, Beardsley finished with nine points on a trio of 3-pointers and senior Isaac Lattin came off the bench to score five.

“We had bench guys coming off that just were phenomenal,” Ecker said. “Like, Isaac Lattin, he came off and hit some buckets, hit a free throw and was rebounding — that was awesome, it was great to see.”

Best ended up with 20 points and Sande had 18 for Cascade. Sande was a constant threat from long range with five 3-pointers on the night.

Philomath and Cascade are both 7-3 overall and the two rivals will meet again on Feb. 1 in a rematch that should go a long way in determining the league champion. The Warriors will next head to Sweet Home on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. matchup.

Philomath 51, Cascade 48
Friday, Jan. 7, at Philomath HS

Cascade (7-3)101514948
Philomath (7-3)109221051
5 Ty Best#84-8220
11 Samuel Horne#00-012
12 Spencer Horne#11-244
20 Kellen Sande#61-2118
42 Dominic Ball#20-234
32 Isaac Schnepp00-120
33 Brady Rasmussen00-010
3 Austin Thatcher00-000
# Starter
10 Cameron Ordway#00-000
11 Cole Matthews#40-0210
13 Ty May#52-2414
30 Cole Beardsley#30-009
53 Chad Russell#51-2311
4 Logan Carter00-000
22 Preston Kramer10-022
25 Jacob Peters00-010
33 Isaac Lattin21-205
# Starter
3-Point Goals: Cascade 6 (Sande 5, Sp. Horne), Philomath 7 (Beardsley 3, Matthews 2, May 2)
Fouled Out: None
Total Fouls: Cascade 14, Philomath 12
Technicals: None

Cascade 57, Philomath 47
Friday, Jan. 7, at Philomath HS

The JV team falls to 3-2 on the season. … Freshman Hudson Raab scored 11 points on four field goals and 3 of 4 on free throws. … Freshman Caleb Russell hit double digits as well with 10 points on two 3-pointers and 4 of 6 on free throws. … Freshman Logan Matthews and sophomore Conner Harms each scored seven. … The JV team is scheduled to play at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Sweet Home.

Philomath 48, Cascade 40
Friday, Jan. 7, at Philomath HS

Philomath started to pull away in the third quarter after Cascade had held a 22-21 lead at halftime. … Freshman Grant Niemann scored 11 of his 15 points during the pivotal third quarter. Niemann had five field goals, one of those a 3-pointer, and was 4 of 4 on free throws. … Freshman Caleb Russell scored 14 points, a performance that included four 3-pointers, in two quarters of play. … Sophomore Kallen Albi scored seven points. … The JV2 team’s next game is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Sweet Home.

Chad Russell