Cameron Ordway
Cameron Ordway works the ball during Thursday's win over Newport. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

Ordway, Matthews, May, Russell with key plays in 4th quarter

Trailing early in the fourth quarter, the Philomath High School boys basketball team found itself in a true battle against Newport — a sub-.500 Oregon West Conference opponent but a senior-heavy group that kept hitting 3-pointers and finding answers every time the Warriors tried to pull away.

But with just over a minute to play, junior Cole Matthews and senior Cameron Ordway both came up big to break Newport’s back. With 1:18 left, Matthews sailed high and blocked a shot on a 3-point attempt out of the corner. A short time later, Ordway came up with a steal and scored on a layup for a six-point lead with 1:04 remaining.

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Newport managed to hit a hoop with 40 seconds left but Philomath put it away for good with a couple of free throws by Matthews. The Warriors had survived a somewhat unexpected scare, 49-43.

Ordway felt the team got a big boost in the fourth quarter through home-court advantage.

“Definitely, the noise from the crowd and our bench — we just got a whole lot of energy going after all of those bad calls from the beginning,” Ordway said. “It got real loud and just sparked energy.”

Ty May (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

PHS head coach Blake Ecker said that in the fourth, the team just needed to toughen up and run its offense.

“That was the biggest thing — just playing tough with the ball,” he said. “We just weren’t running our offense; we’d just get out of it, out of sync, and try to do it all ourselves. But when we run it, we’re great.”

Philomath’s offense found its way just in time. The Warriors trailed 34-33 after three quarters and didn’t score until nearly 3 minutes into the fourth — but neither did Newport. Junior Ty May buried a 3-pointer at the top of the key with 5:14 remaining to give the home team a 36-34 lead.

Philomath took advantage of the transition and followed with high-percentage points. With just under 5 minutes left, May crashed the boards for a key rebound and started a fast break that ended with junior Chad Russell scoring to put the Warriors up by four.

After Newport junior guard Markus Everitt hit a 3 to keep the Cubs close, May drew a foul to get to the free-throw line. The whistle forced Newport senior co-captain Kaden Bruns off the floor with five fouls.

May hit one of his two foul shots for a 39-37 lead but a play that really gave Philomath momentum soon followed. Junior Cole Beardsley spotted Ordway sprinting to the other end and hit him in stride with a full-court pass. Ordway finished and the Warriors held a 41-37 advantage.

Seconds later, May got a steal and a slam dunk for a six-point PHS lead.

But Newport would not go away quietly. Junior Caleb Malloy scored on a put-back to get the Cubs back to within four with 2:26 remaining — plenty of time for the game to go either way. Philomath’s Ordway scored another basket, this time with an assist from Russell, to make it 45-39.

The Cubs again responded with a pair of free throws and the Philomath lead was again just four with 1:36 left. The Matthews block and Ordway steal and basket followed to help the Warriors improve to 14-4 on the season overall, 8-1 in the Oregon West.

Cole Matthews (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

“I believe we’re starting to come together after these last two games,” Ordway said. “It’s a tough stretch but I think it’s bringing us together and we’re just going to succeed from here.”

May finished with a game-high 17 points for Philomath while senior Jonathan Fritz and Bruns hit double figures for the Cubs with 12 and 10 points, respectively. Newport (7-12 overall, 2-6 Oregon West) hit eight 3-pointers in the game — three by sophomore Braxton Blaser off the bench.

Banks will be up next for the Warriors with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday in the PHS gym. The nonconference matchup shows the potential to be an interesting showdown with both schools positioning themselves for the postseason. The Braves come in with a 14-5 record.

“It should be a great game,” Ordway said. “It will test our team ability but I think we’re ready.”

Cameron Ordway

Philomath 49, Newport 43
Thursday, Feb. 10, at Philomath HS

JUNIOR VARSITY
Philomath 60, Newport 48
Thursday, Feb. 10, at Philomath HS

JUNIOR VARSITY 2
Philomath 34, Newport 20
Thursday, Feb. 10, at Philomath HS