Ingrid Hellesto
Philomath junior Ingrid Hellesto scores on a jump shot in the first half. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Coming off the high of a 54-35 win on Tuesday over Cascade on the road, the Philomath High girls basketball team had put together possibly its best performance of the season heading into Friday night’s home appearance.

“I don’t think that we’ve had anything that was less than a one-possession game up there,” Warriors head coach Ben Silva said. “It was a heck of an effort.”

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Philomath needed to refocus to face a sub-.500 Sweet Home squad that was hungry to pull off a major upset. The Warriors took a 48-34 win but it was not smooth sailing.

“Sweet Home does a good job,” Silva said. “They have the (Brooke) Burke girl who shoots the ball from way deep and came in and hit two 3s right off the bat; she’s able to score from anywhere and creates a lot for them.”

Burke did have a good night with 21 points — one of the top individual performances this season against Philomath’s defense. But the Warriors have too much firepower, including the 33 points put up by senior Sage Kramer.

“I felt like we struggled really getting into a rhythm on both sides offensively and defensively,” Silva said. “There wasn’t a lot of flow to the basketball game.”

PHS senior Sage Kramer looks to score underneath Friday night against Sweet Home. Kramer did plenty of scoring with 33 points. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Still, despite an off night in those ways, the Warriors still won the game by double digits — the mark of a good team.

“Yeah, we’re very tough and Sage scored really well in the first half,” Silva said. “Probably just not quite where we want to be or where we’re going to be, you know, but hopefully over the next couple of games we can play a little better.”

Kramer’s point production dominated the game and helped Philomath to a 32-14 lead at halftime. Over those first two quarters alone, Kramer scored 24.

The Warriors led by as many as 22 with 1:38 remaining in the game before Stayton finished strong. Burke scored her last eight points with five free throws — including three when fouled attempting a 3-point shot — and a 3-pointer with 2 seconds left.

In addition to Burke’s 21, senior Adaira Sleutel finished with nine for the Huskies (7-12 overall, 3-5 Oregon West).

For Philomath, Kramer’s 33 came on 12 field goals, including four 3 pointers, and 5 of 8 on free throws. Junior Abigail Brown had nine points on three baskets and 3 of 4 on foul shots.

The Warriors (13-2 overall, 7-0 Oregon West) will play three games next week — all at home. Philomath is scheduled to play Tuesday against Woodburn, Thursday against Newport and Saturday against Banks, a nonconference affair that could be a good test.

Philomath junior Abigail Brown goes strong to the basket. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

With the regular season’s end in sight, the Warriors are sitting in an advantageous position. Philomath is unbeaten in the Oregon West, hasn’t lost to a 4A opponent all season and is ranked No. 1.

“In two of the last three games, we played fantastic basketball,” Silva said, referring to wins over Stayton and Cascade. “We moved the ball really well on the offensive end and we’ve been tough on the defensive end.”

Is there a key ingredient to help push Philomath toward the top trophy when it’s all said and done.

“Just keep progressing the way that we are and I think we’re going to put ourselves in a good position,” Silva said. “The team’s really come together and the girls enjoy the time together — really cohesive as a unit. I think we just need to continue what we’re doing.”


Philomath 48, Sweet Home 34
Friday, Feb. 4, at Philomath HS

JUNIOR VARSITY

Philomath 48, Sweet Home 34
Friday, Feb. 4, at Philomath HS

Ingrid Hellesto