In a statistical feat rarely seen, all five of Philomath High’s starters in Friday’s 72-27 win over Madras hit double figures for scoring. Sure, the team’s most prolific scorers, Cole Beardsley and Ty May, were up there as usual but teammates Justin Kramer, Jacob Peters and Chad Russell all got their points as well.
The White Buffaloes (6-6) hung around early but it soon became clear that they didn’t have a chance against an aggressive Philomath attack that served up an example of what it means to have balanced scoring.
“Five guys in double figures — that’s a lot,” PHS coach Blake Ecker said. “I thought in the first half, we were pretty sluggish coming out. I mean, we had all kinds of good opportunities at the basket; we just couldn’t hit shots.
“But you know, in the second half, we started making some shots and got some steals and easy buckets out of transition.”
Philomath had a similar type of game unfold on Tuesday in a 59-41 win at Estacada when the Warriors stumbled out of the game.
“We had a slow start shooting-wise inside,” said Peters, a junior, who was one of those hitting double digits. “In both first halves (in the last two games), we just struggled inside and just with shooting in general.”
Peters, who seems to personify the blue-collar, hard-working player who can often be found banging underneath for rebounds and putbacks, has increased his offensive visibility in recent games. He scored 10 against Madras.
“I think we started off really hot, you know, and made a lot of shots,” Peters said about how his offensive role has changed a bit. “But then we slowed it down and that created more chances for rebounds and I kind of get a lot of rebounds.”
The No. 1-ranked Warriors (11-1) never trailed but the visitors took only a four-point deficit into the second quarter. However, Philomath settled down in the second quarter for a 16-point lead by halftime. Again, balance was the key, with all five starters scoring in the second.
The game turned into a rout in the third quarter with Philomath outscoring the White Buffaloes, 25-5, during a torrid pace over those eight minutes. Kramer was especially active with more drives to the basket that resulted in three hoops and four trips to the foul line. He finished with 11 points.
Then in the fourth, Philomath put a nice bow on the win, which included appearances by the rest of the players that suited up for the Warriors. Beardsley, who scored 14 points on six field goals and a free throw, endured a flagrant foul two minutes in. May sat in the fourth after scoring 13 points on six field goals.
Senior Brody Bushnell sank a 3-pointer with 5:30 left in the game to cap a 21-4 Philomath run over an eight-minute stretch of the third and fourth quarters. Sophomore Hudson Rabb came off the bench to hit a 3-pointer and junior Connor Harms scored six points in the final two minutes.
Along with Beardsley, May, Peters and Kramer, the Warriors also got 10 points from Russell, three of his hoops coming in the second quarter when Philomath started to pull away.
Philomath made its first appearance on its home court in 40 days going back to the season opener. Ecker admitted that it felt strange after 10 straight games on the road.
“It’s so much different playing at home than on the road, it’s so much more physical on the road no matter where we play. It’s hard for a 16- or 17-year-old man to comprehend the difference,” Ecker said, a reference to different officiating styles among the associations. “And so it’s very difficult for us as a team to even play at home with how things are officiated … it’s been very difficult for our guys to adjust.”
Players also hit the court on Friday night with an odd feel hanging in the air.
“It felt weird playing at home again just because this is only our second home game,” Peters said. “But everybody really likes playing at home.”
Philomath’s next game will be on the road when the Warriors head to Newport on Jan. 20 to open the Oregon West Conference portion of the schedule. The next home game will be Jan. 24 against North Marion.