With nearly 2 minutes gone in the second quarter, the game’s outcome had been decided. Philomath High’s boys basketball team had a 28-2 lead over visiting Newport.
“Coming out and creating havoc with intensity, that’s always what you want to do to get a jump on teams,” Warriors senior Dillon Olsen said after what ended up as a 66-31 victory. “It makes the game flow better for you and all of your teammates and you try to carry the game out from there.”
Sophomore Ty May had a career night with 30 points on 13 field goals, two of those 3-pointers, and a pair of free throws. May scored 19 in the first half.
“It was a good start … they missed a bunch of shots to start off but we did a pretty good job of contesting for the most part early on,” PHS coach Blake Ecker said. “Then we slacked off a little bit and they had some open looks, so we had to pick up the defensive energy quite a bit more.”
Ecker was referring to a stretch midway through the second quarter when Newport buried three consecutive 3-pointers to cut a 28-point deficit down to 19. After a timeout, the Warriors finished the half on a 7-0 run with a Chad Russell lay-in, a pair of Chase Beardsley free throws and a May 3-pointer.
“Offensively, we had a lot more weapons than they did for sure,” Ecker said. “The last two games, we’ve done a pretty good job.”
Philomath (8-3) has three straight victories after working through a three-game losing streak, a rare occurrence for Warriors basketball. Olsen, who will be one of three seniors recognized in the final home game on Friday, said the team was able to work through its issues.
“It all started in practice after we had a three-game stretch where we kinda fell apart and it just came down to us working the ball around and getting the looks that we knew we could get and trying to play as a team instead of doing everything individually,” Olsen said. “… Once we found that in games, then it started to really click for us and we’re back to winning again.”
One player who appears to have moved his game up a notch in recent games is Russell, a sophomore who with May gives the Warriors a height advantage against most opponents.
“Early in the year, it was the first time I had played with a lot of these guys and it was a little uncomfortable but I was playing,” Russell said. “Then, Ecker pulled me out and said I need to start producing a little more.”
As the season has progressed, Russell believes he’s now more comfortable on the court. In the win over the Cubs, he had a major impact disrupting Newport’s attack while grabbing rebounds. He’s also been scoring more points lately.
Russell said he stands 6-foot-6, the roster shows 6-7 and Ecker said he might even be 6-8 now. But whatever his height may be, it plays a key role with Philomath’s capabilities inside.
“It definitely helps out but sometimes it’s kind of a pain because you have these little guys that come out of nowhere and come up with a steal,” Russell said.
Ecker said Russell’s making good progress.
“He’s scoring some points, he’s understanding how to stay out of foul trouble,” Ecker said. “He doesn’t necessarily have to jump for every blocked shot but if he’s long and hands up, it’s hard to shoot over him.”
Philomath’s largest lead of the game was the final margin of 35 points. Reserves were able to get some good minutes in the fourth quarter with Isaac Lattin, Preston Kramer and Brody Bushnell all finding the hoop in the final 5 minutes.
In addition to May’s 30 points, senior Mike Lundy also hit double digits with 14 points on five field goals, including three 3-pointers in the second quarter alone, and a free throw.
Junior Carson Braxling scored 21 points to lead Newport (1-11).
The Warriors now turn their attention to Sweet Home for the regular-season home finale. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday.
“We definitely need to come together as a team to make sure we don’t lose the rhythm we’ve got and carry this into practice tomorrow and hopefully come out Friday and make a big statement against Sweet Home,” Olsen said.
Philomath 66, Newport 31
Wednesday, June 16, at Philomath HS
|3-Point Goals: Newport 8 (Braxling 5, Everitt 3), Philomath 5 (Lundy 3, May 2)|
Fouled Out: None
Total Fouls: Newport 8, Philomath 4
Philomath 60, Newport 24
Wednesday, June 16, at Philomath HS
|JV GAME NOTES|
|The JV team’s record goes to 10-0 on the season. … Philomath’s defense allowed only three field goals in the second half. … Mark Grimmer and Jacob Peters each scored 12 points and Preston Kramer finished with 10. … Grimmer scored 10 of his 12 in the second quarter. … Grimmer, Brody Bushnell and Caleb Jensen each had 3-pointers. … The JV team plays Friday at home vs. Sweet Home.|
JUNIOR VARSITY 2
Philomath 51, Cottage Grove 45
Wednesday, June 16, at Cottage Grove HS
|JV2 GAME NOTES|
|The JV2 team played on the road and improved its record to 7-1 overall. … Simon King scored 20 points on nine field goals, two of those 3-pointers. … King scored 18 of his 20 in the first half. … Connor Harms finished with 15 points on seven field goals and a free throw. … Philomath plays Friday at home against Sweet Home and will finish the season on Saturday at home vs. Junction City.|
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