Philomath High’s defense didn’t allow much and the Warriors steadily pulled away through the first three quarters to deal Hidden Valley a 44-28 loss in the Class 4A state tournament semifinals on Friday evening.
The Warriors (21-4) will play Corbett for the state title at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at Marshfield High School.
Sage Kramer, the Philomath High senior who seems to be a shoo-in for Class 4A Player of the Year, scored 17 points in the win. Kramer had what would be considered for her to be an off night shooting at 5 of 14 from the field with a Hidden Valley defense that was obviously focused on her. But the Warriors went to other offensive weapons with both junior Hailie Couture and junior Abigail Brown scoring 10 points apiece.
Kramer’s night included a 6 for 7 performance from the free-throw line, eight rebounds and seven steals. Brown also had eight boards and blocked two shots. Junior Ingrid Hellesto had six rebounds — five of those on the offensive glass — and also had two blocks.
Philomath dominated in every aspect of the game with advantages for points in the paint (24-8), points off turnovers (17-9), second-chance points (18-7), fast-break points (6-0) and bench points (7-0). Philomath shot 40.5% for the game and held Hidden Valley to a dismal 20.5%. The Mustangs made just 3 of 17 3-point attempts.
Philomath never trailed in this one, although the game was close through a good portion of the first half. Kramer had a steal and hoop for the first two points and then a few seconds later, repeated the feat for a 4-0 lead.
Couture hit the first of her two 3-pointers and added a jump shot in the first quarter. Brown had a basket inside as well and it all added up to an 11-7 Philomath lead going into the second.
The Warriors got two straight baskets from Hellesto early in the second quarter to build a 15-7 lead. Hidden Valley, which defeated Philomath in last season’s 4A Showcase title game, started to settle down and got back to within four midway through the quarter.
But Philomath got the lead up to nine at the break. After the Mustangs started to threaten, Brown hit a jumper at 3:08, Kramer made a couple of free throws at 1:44 and then to finish off the half, sank two more with 2 seconds left.
In the third quarter, Philomath pulled away for good. The Warriors took their first double-digit lead on a Kramer 3-pointer 1:27 into the half. Not long after, Brown hit a layup for a 12-point lead.
Hidden Valley attempted to get back into it with a 5-0 run that cut Philomath’s lead to 26-19. The Warriors regrouped and finished the quarter with a 10-1 run, however, to send a message that there would be no comeback by the Mustangs on this night.
The late-third run covered just over 2 minutes of clock time and got started with a Brown basket in the paint. Kramer followed with six straight points — a traditional three-point play, a layup and a free throw. On that last appearance at the foul line, 4 seconds were on the clock and Kramer missed the second attempt. But Couture was in position for the rebound and she scored just before the buzzer. Philomath would take a 36-20 lead into the fourth quarter.
The rest of the game played out with Philomath’s lead hovering in the 15- to 18-point range. The Warriors’ largest lead was 18 on two occasions — with 6:31 remaining on a Hellesto jumper and with 5:28 remaining on Couture’s second 3-pointer.
Skylar Willey led Hidden Valley in scoring with 10 points. The Mustangs end the season with a 15-11 record.
Kramer was named as the PHS Moda Health Player of the Game.
The Warriors will face a Corbett team that comes in with a 22-3 record. All three of those losses by the Cardinals occurred in Tri-Valley Conference play and the team finished third in the standings behind Madras and Gladstone. Corbett crushed Sisters in a play-in game and was seeded 11th for state.
In the playoffs, the Cardinals have won all of their games by double digits. Banks went down 66-48 in the first round. In the tournament, Corbett defeated Baker, 61-46, in the quarterfinals and Madras, 60-36, in the semifinals.
The two schools have four opponents in common this season — Astoria, Sweet Home, Sisters and Banks. Philomath and Corbett were a combined 11-0 against those teams.