Sage Kramer
PHS junior Sage Kramer scored 34 points in Thursday's semifinal win over Valley Catholic. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

The Philomath High School girls basketball team survived a late scare with a key 3-pointer by Reagan Larson and perfect free-throw shooting from Sage Kramer in a 55-48 win Thursday afternoon over Valley Catholic.

The Warriors (12-1) now advance to the 4A Showcase Final 8 Tournament’s championship game at noon Friday at Marshfield High School. The Warriors will play Hidden Valley, which came in seeded No. 2 and defeated La Grande in the semifinals, 48-40.


Playing in North Bend High’s gym, the two teams battled back and forth the whole way, although the Warriors did open up a bit of a lead in the third quarter. Valley Catholic kept coming back, however, and the Warriors ran into trouble in the fourth.

With the game tied 46-46 with just under 2 minutes remaining, Larson buried a 3-point shot to put the Warriors on top 49-46. Valley Catholic had to start fouling and Kramer went to the foul line and sank all six of her attempts down the stretch.

“We did a good job of taking care of the ball and the foul count was pretty lopsided in the second half, it was like 8-2 with under 2 minutes, and they had to foul a bunch to get us to the free throw line,” PHS coach Ben Silva said.

Reagan Larson
Philomath junior Reagan Larson guards Valley Catholic senior Josie Napoli during Thursday’s Warriors win. Besides an exceptional defensive effort on the Valiants’ top player, Larson hit a key go-ahead 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

The Larson 3-pointer and Kramer’s free throws were the only points of the fourth quarter for Philomath.

“We kinda struggled there, they made some adjustments and Sage sat a little bit,” Silva said. “She picked up her fourth foul with probably about 5 minutes to go so we sat her.”

Kramer finished the game with 34 points on 12 field goals and 8 of 9 free throws.

“There were big shots back and forth in both directions,” Silva said. “Sage hit a number of significant shots.”

Valley Catholic point guard Josie Napoli, who will play collegiately at Pacific Lutheran, scored 17 for the Valiants. But those were hard-fought points.

“Reagan Larson guarded her the whole game and did a fantastic job. I’d argue that we have one of the best on-ball defenders in the state if not the best in Reagan,” Silva said. “She still got her points, she got 17, but every single one of those points was earned, she didn’t get any easy ones.”

Philomath had most of its offensive success in the second and third quarters.

“We had done a great job of getting the ball in close,” Silva said. “Abigail Brown had some big shots, Mia Rust had some good looks in the first half getting the ball inside. So they just kinda sagged in, sagged in and they were giving us open shots outside.”

Philomath missed a few of those outside shots, Silva added, but Kramer took advantage of most of those opportunities.

“She had a great step-back 3 she hit in the third quarter that was an answer to a 3 they had just hit on the other side,” Silva said. “But in the fourth, we struggled a little hitting those outside shots until Reagan nailed that one.”

Team celebrating
Philomath now moves on to the tournament’s championship game on Friday. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

Philomath now advances to Friday’s game to try to win the tournament, which is serving as this pandemic season’s version of the 4A state playoffs.

“Everybody played their role and did a great job,” Silva said about Thursday’s win. “It’s great to win a tight one like that.”

Philomath 55, Valley Catholic 48
Thursday, June 24, at North Bend HS
Valley Catholic (10-2)14915102348
Philomath (13-1)10171992755
2-Cameron Wilder#10-043
3-Josie Napoli#54-5417
14-Mariella Gunther#33-319
15-Anna Kinder#21-345
34-Lauren Snook#60-0312
5-Tori Pitt00-000
12-Ella Trecker10-012
# Starters
13-Mia Rust#21-225
15-Sage Kramer#128-9434
33-Hailie Couture#10-023
34-Kaili Saathoff#10-022
45-Reagan Larson#10-003
1-K Bacho10-012
32-Abigail Brown30-036
# Starters
3-Point Goals: Valley Catholic 4 (Napoli 3, Wilder), Philomath 4 (Kramer 2, Couture, Larson)
Fouled Out: None
Total Fouls: Valley Catholic 17, Philomath 14
Technicals: None

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