Mia Rust
PHS senior Mia Rust goes up for two during Philomath's 73-29 victory Friday night over Sweet Home. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

If the Philomath High girls basketball team advances to a 4A state tournament during culminating week, the Warriors would like to have earned a few battle scars from the regular season.

The team routinely crushes opponents — Sweet Home went down 73-29 on Friday night — and rarely needs to fight to the end to pull out a victory. Coaches and players find out a lot about themselves in tight situations. It becomes a learning experience, a way to get better so that when a very good opponent does come along, the team knows how to respond.


The Warriors found a challenge in Cascade on the road Wednesday, pulling out a 48-43 victory in a game that had been tied in the final minute.

“The Cascade game was good to see,” PHS coach Ben Silva said. “They came out, made some adjustments and really made us work for it. It was back-and-forth the entire game … It was good to have that sort of a game to see how they would react.”

Philomath junior Sage Kramer scored 25 points in 2-1/2 quarters of court time. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

Senior Kaili Saathoff, a multi-sport talent for the Warriors, knows the team didn’t take the Cascade game seriously.

“It was definitely a wake-up call for us, we needed that,” said Saathoff, who scored seven points and grabbed seven rebounds vs. the Huskies. “Just crushing everyone, we’ve kinda been in a rhythm going into every game thinking we’re going to beat them. We went into Cascade knowing they were going to be harder competition but we also were expecting to beat them.”

Silva knows teams can be much tougher the second time around. It happened last year with Stayton when Philomath escaped 43-41. Two years ago after beating the Eagles in the first meeting, Stayton beat the Warriors in the rematch by 10 points.

“Our athleticism gets teams the first time we play them and then they know what to expect,” Silva said. “A lot of times we jump up by so much, so quickly, that they’re on their heels for the rest of the game. The second time we play them, they know what that feels like and they can pick up the pace a little bit.”

PHS sophomore Abigail Brown came off the bench to score 15 points vs. Sweet Home. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

Philomath appears to be in the driver’s seat for the conference title but that pesky bunch from Stayton could be a team that derails the Warriors’ postseason plans. The two schools will square off on June 15 in the PHS gym. 

“We’re not counting our chickens before they’re hatched, but we’re hoping to be playing in a tournament at the end for sure,” Silva said.

Philomath increased its strength of schedule recently by adding Class 5A Corvallis to the slate. The Warriors will step out of Oregon West play on June 10 to see how they match up with the Spartans, a team that is currently undefeated at 8-0.

“They’re a top-notch program in 5A. … It’ll definitely be a tough game for us,” Silva said. “We definitely want that sort of experience again.”

Philomath moved to 7-0 on the season with the 44-point victory over Sweet Home on Friday. The Warriors trailed by two points in the first 20 seconds but then reeled off 20 straight points to pretty much put the game away. Junior Sage Kramer and senior Mia Rust were unstoppable during the early-game run with one of those two players involved in the first 18 points for Philomath.

By halftime, the Warriors led 46-18 and midway through the third quarter, Silva pulled out his starters. Kramer scored 25 points and grabbed nine rebounds in basically 2-1/2 quarters of action. Rust finished with 12 points — eight of those coming in the first quarter.

Philomath’s non-starters picked right up where the starters left off and outscored Sweet Home by even more down the stretch. In the fourth quarter, sophomore Abigail Brown went strong to the hoop and scored nine of her 15 points.

Sophomore Brooke Burke had a notable evening for Sweet Home (4-4) with 20 points, a performance that included four 3-pointers.

The Warriors are scheduled to play next on Tuesday with a home appearance against Woodburn.

Philomath 73, Sweet Home 29
Friday, June 4, at Philomath HS
Sweet Home (4-4)108831829
Philomath (7-0)271912154673
4-Brooke Burke#64-5020
10-Natalie Rodgers#20-005
11-Chloe Fairchild#00-020
23-Katie Miller#10-022
33-Katie Robeck#10-052
12-Kailey James00-030
3-Meeja Bitter00-000
30-Madison Duncan00-000
# Starters
13-Mia Rust#52-3012
15-Sage Kramer#110-1125
33-Hailie Couture#20-004
34-Kaili Saathoff#31-217
45-Reagan Larson#00-000
1-K Bacho10-012
32-Abigail Brown55-7115
10-Bailey Bell10-032
4-Madeline Fields30-006
23-Cassidy Lewis00-000
5-Ingrid Hellesto00-010
12-Elizabeth Morales00-000
# Starters
3-Point Goals: Sweet Home 5 (Burke 4, Rodgers), Philomath 3 (Kramer 3)
Fouled Out: Robeck
Total Fouls: Sweet Home 12, Philomath 8
Technicals: None

Philomath 35, Sweet Home 2
Friday, June 4, at Philomath HS
Junction City002002
The JV team’s record remains perfect at 6-0. … The Warriors played with only seven players available. … Ingrid Hellesto scored 12 points on six field goals. … Philomath made just 1 of 6 free throws. … Junction City only two points of the game came in the third quarter. … The Wildcats were 0 for 4 at the foul line. … The JV team is scheduled to play Tuesday at home vs. Woodburn.

Philomath 20, West Albany 19 (OT)
Friday, June 4, at Philomath HS
The JV2 team’s record is now 4-0 on the season. … Mia Cook hit a free throw in “sudden death” overtime to give Philomath the victory. … The game was played with two 18-minute halves with a running clock. … With the game tied at the end of regulation, the teams went to OT with the win going to the first team to score. … Cook was Philomath’s top scorer with 10 points on four field goals, including a 3-pointer, and the game-winning free throw. … The JV2 team is scheduled to play Tuesday at home against Molalla.

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