From the exploits of Division I recruits Kyle Singler and Michael Harthun to balanced efforts by South Medford that led to stellar runs in the Les Schwab Invitational and Bass Pro Tournament of Champions, the Panthers have put together quite a boys basketball campaign for 2006-07.
The following is a breakdown of some key games for the Panthers thus far through the regular season and state playoffs. South Medford (24-3) opens play in the Class 6A state tournament tonight against Grant.
South Medford 80, Mountain View 60
Kyle Singler scores 32 points and Michael Harthun adds 23 as the Panthers shake off a first-quarter deficit to begin the season with a rout of Mountain View, which opens the season as one of the favorites to claim the Class 5A state title.
South Medford 78, Canby 56
The Panthers shoot a blistering 79 percent (15-for-19) from the field in the first quarter and take a 38-13 behind 16 points from Michael Harthun en route to the win over former South Medford player Clint Chapman and seventh-ranked Canby.
Les Schwab Invitational
South Medford 71, Lake Oswego 63
The rematch of last season's state title game goes to the Panthers, thanks to a team-high 24 points from Michael Harthun. The junior point guard keeps the ship afloat and actually helps South pad its lead with Kyle Singler on the bench in foul trouble in the semifinal contest.
Oak Hill Academy (Va.) 99, South Medford 90
In a championship game for the ages, the Panthers rally from 27 points down to put a late scare in the nation's No. 1 team. South climbs to within five points (93-88) with under a minute to play but can't maintain the surge. Kyle Singler has 39 points and Michael Harthun splashes in 30.
Bass Pro Tournament
South Medford 75, Raleigh Egypt (Tenn.) 63
Michael Harthun pours in 12 of his game-high 24 points in the fourth quarter and Kyle Singler just misses a triple-double with 22 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists as the Panthers edge by the Memphis, Tenn., school in a tournament semifinal.
South Medford 77, Lake Howell (Fla.) 72
The Panthers cap a remarkable run through the prestigious tournament with the win over a nationally ranked team. Kyle Singler scores 34 points and is named the tournament's most valuable player.
South Medford 83, Roseburg 52
The conference opener for both teams turns into a rout behind 34 points, six rebounds and four steals from Kyle Singler.
South Medford 89, North Medford 53
Less than 72 hours after a four-day grind at the Les Schwab Invitational, South Medford still has enough firepower to run away for a victory behind Kyle Singler's game-high 31 points and seven assists. The triumph, however, is marred by an unfortunate on-court incident that leaves Conner Egan hospitalized with a concussion. Egan, one of South's top reserves to this point, later misses three weeks of school and makes his only return to the court in uniform in the final four seconds on March 3 against Oregon City.
Sheldon 65, South Medford 61
The Irish climb out of an eight-point hole to take the lead for good and shock then top-ranked South Medford. The loss is the first to a team from Oregon since the setback against Lake Oswego in the state championship game a year ago.
South Medford 64, Grants Pass 46
Michael Harthun and Kyle Singler each net 17 points as the Panthers clinch what is believed to be the outright Southwest Conference championship. The Panthers are later required to share the conference crown with Sheldon after a violation of the OSAA rules forces South to forfeit an 87-38 victory over Roseburg on Feb. 16
Class 6A State Playoffs
South Medford 77, Oregon City 59
Kyle Singler scores 26 of his game-high 35 points in the second half to help the Panthers secure a berth in the state tournament. Seventh-ranked Oregon City had led 27-15 in the second quarter before South Medford rallied behind the play of Singler and Michael Harthun, who nets 22 points. Jon Grimes, Mitch Singler and E.J. Singler also excel in defensive roles to stymie the high-octane Pioneers.