The Philomath High boys had two quarters to try to close out its regular season on a high note Friday night with Sweet Home in the building. The Warriors trailed by 11 points at the break — not the way they had envisioned things going while trying to exact revenge on Sweet Home for a six-point loss a couple of weeks earlier in the midst of a three-game losing streak.
Philomath had seen a 24-18 lead with 4:43 left in the second quarter turn into a 35-24 deficit by the time intermission arrived. That’s a 17-0 run to close out the first half for the Huskies.
“It was a tough situation — they were flying and hitting shots and they got on a roll,” PHS coach Blake Ecker said. “We weren’t playing defense very well, they hit well on their shots, we were letting them drive and get to the basket. I was pretty unhappy with them at halftime.”
But the tide turned in the third quarter. Philomath switched up things on defense and started to pile up points in transition. The Warriors went on a 15-0 run that stretched from the second half of the third quarter and into the fourth and then held on late for a 67-59 victory.
“In the third, we changed defense a little bit and went to a 1-3-1 and that helped spur some momentum and some fast-break lay-ins,” Ecker said.
Philomath goes to 9-3 on the season and will play in a culminating week tournament at Churchill, a Class 5A school in Eugene. The Warriors will face the host school at 4 p.m. Tuesday. Churchill brings a 7-7 record into the game. Philomath and Marist Catholic will be the only two 4A schools in the tournament with the rest all from 5A and 6A. Sheldon, North Eugene and Willamette will also be competing.
“It’ll be challenging,” Ecker said. “We’ll see if we can battle and fight. We’ll be the underdogs.”
Philomath had to battle and fight to pull out the win over Sweet Home on Friday. First, the Warriors had to regroup early after falling into an 8-0 hole to open the game.
Trailing 14-9 with 90 seconds to go in the quarter, the Warriors scored six straight for a 15-14 lead heading into the second. Sophomore Ty May scored on a put-back, junior Cole Matthews hit off the glass and senior Michael Lundy scored on a play that started on the other end with a Matthews block and Cole Beardsley rebound.
The two teams exchanged hoops early in the second but the Warriors built that six-point lead before the roof caved in and the Huskies put together the 17-0 run. The final points of the half came at the buzzer when Sweet Home senior Owen Towry buried a 3-pointer.
The game seemed to almost have a playoff-type atmosphere with more spectators than had been seen in the past. Several students were on hand to cheer on PHS, including most of the girls basketball team, which was supposed to play Friday at Sweet Home but saw the game canceled.
“It was pretty loud and I think some of our guys weren’t used to that in the first half,” Ecker said. “They were trying to call plays and were having a hard time listening. In the second half, we were able to run some plays, too, where we saw mismatches and were able to get some pretty quick buckets on them.”
Down 41-35 with 2:43 remaining in the third, Philomath started the game-changing 15-0 run with free throws by Lundy and Cole Beardsley. With 1:11 left in the quarter, Matthews scored inside to tie it up, 41-41.
Seconds later, Cole Beardsley came up with a steal and got the ball to his brother, senior Chase Beardsley, for two more points. Lundy sank two more foul shots late in the quarter for a 45-41 lead.
Early in the fourth, May scored on a lay-in and hit a free throw to extend the lead to seven points but the 6-foot-7 sophomore had to come out of the game after committing his fourth foul. A short time later, Sweet Home boiled over on the court and was hit with three technical fouls that ended with two Husky starters going to the bench, one ejected.
“We got the lead and held on to it and they got those technical fouls and got frustrated and we kept our composure,” Ecker said.
Philomath eventually added to its lead and had an 11-point advantage with 4:44 remaining in the game. The Huskies did come back and trim their deficit to 62-59 with 57 seconds remaining. Sweet Home had to foul and the Warriors hit enough of those foul-line opportunities to pull away. For the game, Philomath hit 20 of 29 free throws.
May finished with 19 points on seven field goals and 4 of 7 free throws. Lundy had 16 points on five baskets and 6 of 10 free throws. Matthews and Chase Beardsley each had nine and Cole Beardsley added eight.
Ecker said he was impressed with the contributions of Cole Beardsley and Cameron Ordway’s play off the bench. Ordway entered the game in the fourth quarter when May needed to sit out with four fouls. He responded with a lay-in, two free throws and a key defensive rebound.
Coulter scored 15, Aiden Tyler had 13 and Cole Baxter contributed 11 for the Huskies (7-6).
Philomath 67, Sweet Home 59
Friday, June 18, at Philomath HS
|Sweet Home (7-6)||14||21||6||18||35||59|
|3-Point Goals: Sweet Home 7 (Baxter 2, Holly 2, Towry, Coulter, Tyler), Philomath 3 (May, Co. Beardsley, Matthews)|
Fouled Out: Tyler, Towry
Total Fouls: Sweet Home 21, Philomath 18
Technicals: Towry 2, Coulter
Philomath 62, Sweet Home 25
Friday, June 18 at Philomath HS
|JV GAME NOTES|
|The JV team finishes the season with a perfect 11-0 record. … The Warriors dominated the first half with a 41-11 lead by the intermission. … Nine players scored points with Preston Kramer tossing in 16 on seven field goals, one of those a 3-pointer, and a free throw. … Brody Bushnell and Isaac Lattin each scored eight while Logan Carter, Cameron Ordway and Jacob Peters each had seven.|
JUNIOR VARSITY 2
Philomath 44, Springfield 39
Friday, June 18 at Springfield HS
|JV2 GAME NOTES|
|The JV2 squad goes to 8-1 on the season with one game remaining. … The Warriors trailed by four points going into the fourth quarter but pulled out the win with a strong final 8 minutes. … Simon King came up big in the pivotal fourth with three 3-pointers and 11 points. He finished the game with 19 points. … Connor Harms was a consistent scoring threat throughout the game with 18 points on seven field goals and 4 of 9 free throws. … The JV2 team will end the season on Saturday at home vs. Junction City.|
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