Philomath High junior Ahnika Tryon hits a layup with 57 seconds remaining in the team's 57-37 victory over Crook County. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News) (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

FOREST GROVE — Walking off the court on Thursday evening after a 21-point loss to Gladstone in the state quarterfinals, the Philomath High School girls knew they had to come out strong on Friday morning to avoid a “two and through” appearance at the 4A tournament.

The Warriors were on a mission to finish strong.

“We didn’t want this to be the last game so everybody was on the same page,” PHS senior Abigail Brown said after a 57-37 victory over Crook County in the consolation semifinals. “I think there was a little bit of fire, definitely, after last night. That was a tough game … Gladstone was a tough team.”

Philomath (18-9) showed the Cowgirls (15-12) that it can also be a tough team.

“Gladstone’s very good but I don’t think anybody felt like we represented ourselves as best as we could yesterday on the court as far as how we played,” PHS coach Ben Silva said. “So the girls were determined to come out and show what we’re capable of doing and I think we did that.”

The Warriors will now have a chance at a fourth-place trophy with an 8 a.m. Saturday matchup against Henley. The Hornets advanced with an 81-77 win over Madras.

Said Brown, “It’s a good way to go out, especially because a lot of people didn’t think we’d be here at all this year.”

Freshman Emily Taunisila can only smile after she was called for a foul during a scramble for the ball. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Silva’s teams have been one of Class 4A’s best programs in recent years but some didn’t give the Warriors serious thought after former all-everything Sage Kramer graduated last season and took her talents to the next level.

“This group of seniors in their four years will have a first-place finish, a second-place finish, a first-place trophy and hopefully a fourth-place trophy,” Silva said. “That’s a fantastic four years and I’m really proud of them to give us this opportunity.”

Crook County never had a chance. Philomath shot out to a 13-0 lead with a run that included two baskets each by junior Ahnika Tryon and sophomore Anneka Steen, a layup by Brown and a 3-pointer by freshman Emily Taunisila.

“I’m very pleased with the way we showed up this morning,” Silva said. “These games can be tough sometimes but they came out with a lot of energy. It was a good team effort — we spread the ball around a little bit more.”

Philomath took a 15-4 lead into the second quarter and held a 17-point advantage at the break. Brown had eight points and 10 rebounds in the first half and Taunisila had a pair of 3-pointers.

PHS sophomore Anneka Steen drives toward the basket against Crook County. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Philomath went up by 19 points on two occasions in the third quarter. Steen buried a 3-pointer at the 3:37 mark to give Philomath a 34-15 lead. A little later with 2:20 remaining in the quarter, Taunisila got a friendly bounce on a 3-point attempt for a 39-20 advantage.

But Crook County had one final push to try to get back in the game. The Cowgirls went on a 10-2 run over the final minute of the third and about 3-1/2 minutes into the fourth. Senior Katelynn Weaver attempted a 3-pointer at the 4:25 mark to try to cut Philomath’s lead to eight but the shot missed, senior Hailie Couture rebounded and Tryon scored on the other end.

Crook County again got to within 11 on a couple of foul shots by senior  McKenzie Jonas but the Warriors responded with an 8-0 run with all but two of those points coming on free throws.

“They put the press on and we turned it over a couple too many times,” Silva said. “It’s still something we’re working on. We’d like to clean up those turnovers.”

Weaver finished with 19 points and Jonas had 16 for the Cowgirls.

Philomath’s Taunisila had a team-high 15 on her trio of 3s and a perfect 6 for 6 the foul line. Tryon scored 13 points on six field goals and a free throw. Steen and Brown each had nine.

PHS senior Abigail Brown secures one of her 19 rebounds against the Cowgirls. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

On the board, Brown dominated with 19 rebounds.

“She cleaned up the glass a lot for us, which was a huge help,” Silva said. “They weren’t very tall but they go to the offensive glass very hard — that’s what we saw in other games.”

Brown laughed, “I usually get yelled at by the coaches to rebound so it was like, I knew I had to do that today.”

Brad Fuqua

Brad Fuqua, Philomath News

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.

Leave a comment