PHS junior Hailie Couture pulls up for a jump shot on Tuesday night against Silverton. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

The opening minute of Tuesday night’s Philomath High girls basketball game against Silverton featured a few moments that have become common over the past few years. Senior Sage Kramer finds junior teammate Abigail Brown underneath for the game’s first two points. After a turnover, Kramer drives to the basket, dribbles behind her back and scores on a layup while drawing a foul, converting the free throw for a 5-0 lead.

But this game wasn’t going to be so easy. Despite the promising start, the Warriors ended up fighting foul problems all night, a situation that particularly limited Kramer’s minutes. On the other end, Silverton went on an 11-3 run to end the first half and then pulled away for good with a long-range shooting outburst in the third quarter.

The Foxes had the upper hand this evening, 53-42.

“The girls went out and competed and they played hard,” PHS coach Ben Silva said. “We were in there and struggled with a lot of foul trouble. Sage was in foul trouble early and then early again in the third quarter.”

PHS junior Abigail Brown goes strong to the hoop against the Foxes. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

Kramer probably saw about as little playing time as she’s ever seen through the first three quarters of the game. Coming out of halftime, she started the third quarter but picked up what could be called a questionable offensive foul just 20 seconds in. So with four fouls at that point, back to the bench she went, not returning until the final couple of minutes of the quarter.

“When we put her back in, I thought we were going to make a little run but we gave up three 3-pointers on three possessions in a row,” Silva said.

Kramer was able to play the rest of the way with four fouls and finished with 13 points with seven in the fourth quarter.

Silverton came in with a deceiving 0-2 record — the losses coming to a pair of 6A schools. The Foxes were ranked No. 3 in the OSAAtoday preseason coaches’ poll.

“We knew it was going to be a tough game,” Silva said. “Coach (Tal) Wold’s done a fantastic job up there. They’ve been a top team at the 5A level for the past quite a few years. They’re going to be around towards the end of the season.”

A bright spot for the Warriors could be found with No. 33. Junior Hailie Couture had a consistent hand throughout and finished with 21 points — 12 of those coming on four 3-pointers.

“Some other people stepped up — Couture shot the ball really well tonight and Abigail was tough inside,” Silva said. “Our offense still looks like early season. We put in a new offense this year and we’re not clicking on all cylinders yet. But we will be.”

Philomath High senior K Bacho looks to pass during Tuesday’s game against Silverton. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

Philomath led 10-9 after the first quarter. The Warriors had those quick five points early and after Silverton went on a 7-0 run, Brown scored inside to tie it up. Couture buried her first 3-pointer of the night with 4 seconds left.

Early in the second quarter, Couture scored on a jumper for a 12-11 advantage but that turned out to be the final lead of the night for Philomath. Couture hit her second 3-pointer with 1:28 left in the half but the visitors built a 22-15 lead by intermission.

In the second half, Silverton’s long-range shooting was too much with the Foxes hitting seven 3-pointers on the night — five alone in the third quarter.

“That’s going to be tough to overcome,” Silva said. “You can’t give up 22 points in a quarter.”

Philomath trailed by 23 points in the opening minute of the fourth quarter but the team didn’t just roll over and accept defeat. The Warriors fought back Couture and Kramer lighting up the scoreboard. At the final buzzer, Philomath had cut the deficit down to 11.

“It was an opportunity for us to learn and grow,” Silva said about the loss. “We’ve had some people in new positions and we’re learning how to play together as a team and things that we need to improve on. So we use a game like this as a learning tool.”

Sophomore Kyleigh Brown scored 22 points and junior Lily Hayashida added 18. Those two players accounted for 75% of Silverton’s offense. On Philomath’s stat sheet, Couture and Kramer scored 81% of the Warriors’ points.

Philomath (1-1) will hit the court again on Friday with a trip to Astoria.

Silverton 53, Philomath 42
Tuesday, Dec. 7, at Philomath HS

Silverton (1-2)91322953
Philomath (1-1)10571842
11 Lilly Horner#01-241
12 Paige Traeger#10-052
21 Lily Hayashida#61-2118
24 Rowan Reilly#10-022
33 Kyleigh Brown#83-6322
4 Kirsten Kuenzi20-104
5 Hannah Bashor00-010
20 Justina Semerikov10-112
23 Kalyssa Efimov02-302
# Starter
1 K Bacho#10-022
15 Sage Kramer#53-5513
32 Abigail Brown#30-036
33 Hailie Couture#81-3121
45 Reagan Larson#00-050
3 Mia Bennett00-020
13 Ingrid Hellesto0 0-120
23 Cassidy Lewis00-000
# Starter
3-Point Goals: Silverton 7 (Hayashida 4, Brown 3), Philomath 4 (Couture 4)
Fouled Out: Larson, Traeger, Kramer
Total Fouls: Silverton 17, Philomath 20
Technicals: None

Silverton 50, Philomath 28
Tuesday, Dec. 7, at Philomath HS

Philomath’s JV goes to 1-1 on the season. … Freshman Anneka Steen had a game-high 13 points for the Warriors — all of those coming in the second half. … Steen was the only PHS player to score on a basket in the second half; all of the team’s other points came on foul shots. … The JV team is scheduled to play at 5:15 p.m. Friday at Astoria.

Philomath 20, Silverton 18
Tuesday, Dec. 7, at Philomath HS

The JV2 team plays its first game with a two-point victory over a 5A school. … Freshman Mica Boynton scored four points in a pivotal fourth quarter and finished with a team-high seven. … Freshman Hannah Bennett also scored in the fourth and had six for the game. … The JV2 team is scheduled to play at 4 p.m. Friday at Astoria.

Conference Standings
(As of Dec. 7)

Oregon West ConferenceConfAllPFPA
Sweet Home

Tuesday, Dec. 7
Woodburn 50, North Marion 32
Harrisburg 47, Newport 31
Silverton 53, Philomath 42
Stayton 47, Banks 41
Sweet Home 45, Molalla 36
Sisters 36, Elmira 29
Cascade at Marist Catholic, late
Wednesday, Dec. 8
Crook County at Sisters, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 9
North Marion at Stayton, 5:30 p.m.
Tillamook at Newport, 7 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 10
Yamhill-Carlton at Newport, 5:30 p.m.
Sweet Home at Junction City, 6:30 p.m.
Philomath at Astoria, 7 p.m.
Woodburn at Dallas, ccd.

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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.