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It was truly a tale of two halves for the South Medford boys basketball team on the opening day of the Abby's Holiday Classic at South Medford High Thursday.
The Panthers nearly squandered a 20-point halftime lead, but Bryson Carpenter drilled a 3-pointer from the corner with 29 seconds remaining to put South Medford up for good in a 58-56 victory over North Salem.
"North Salem, they just kept competing," said Panthers coach Dennis Murphy. "They came out aggressive and attacked and we rolled back on our heels. (We've) got to grow from this and learn from it."
South Medford, which squares off against Redmond tonight at 7:45, was excellent in all facets of the game in the opening half and grabbed a 39-19 lead at the intermission.
But North Salem steadily chipped away at the deficit in the third quarter before opening up its rally with an 8-0 run to start the fourth.
What was shaping up to be a blowout in favor of the Panthers turned into a seesaw battle throughout the fourth quarter until Carpenter hit the trey that gave the Panthers a 57-56 edge.
After Carpenter's big basket, North Salem worked the ball into the paint for one final shot but missed. The Panthers' Mark Winans hauled in the rebound and was fouled with two seconds remaining.
Winans missed the one-and-one free throw and the Vikings snagged the ball off the rim and took a timeout. However, they threw the inbounds pass out of bounds.
When South Medford inbounded, Jesse Mondry was fouled and made a free throw before intentionally missing the second to run out the clock.
Carpenter led the Panthers' balanced scoring with 11 points, while Winans, Mondry and Matt Toreson scored 10 points apiece.
Mondry also pulled down six rebounds and Tristian Lallo added seven boards and four assists.
NORTH SALEM (56) — Sauseda 2, Quevedo 1, Taussig 6, Cueanas 4, Green 5, Jones 8, Lowe 10, Williams 6, Leaks 14, Bobbitt 0. Totals: 19 16-24 56.
SOUTH MEDFORD (58) — Carpenter 11, Toreson 10, Garcia 2, Winans 10, Robertson 7, Orndoff 6, Massey 0, Mondry 10, Keepes 0, Lallo 2. Totals: 21 9-14 58.
North Salem 8 13 16 19 — 56
South Medford 13 22 11 12 — 58
3-point goals — North Salem 2 (Leaks 2), South Medford 7 (Toreson 2, Robertson 2, Carpenter 1, Winans 1, Mondry 1). Fouled out — Garcia.
SOUTH EUGENE 63, CRATER 51 — Crater came out flat, failing to score in the first six minutes of the contest as South Eugene snapped the Comets' five-game winning streak at South Medford High.
The Comets (5-4), who were invited as a one-game replacement team for the event, fought back from a 35-18 halftime deficit to get within nine midway through the fourth quarter.
Cody Dismukes had 15 points and seven rebounds for Crater, and Connor Lane hauled in 11 rebounds to go with his five points. Evan Erskine added four assists and four steals.
Sophomore Eli Lininger scored 24 points before fouling out for the Axemen, who will face North Medford today at 6 p.m. at South Medford High.
SOUTH EUGENE (63) — Green-Richards 8, Strgar 0, Chubb-Fertal 2, Moran 4, Kiplinger 0, Lininger 24, Bassett 0, O'Neil 7, Lea 13, Thompson 1, Richardson 4. Totals: 22 17-22 63.
CRATER (51) — Bennett 9, Erskine 3, Martin 6, Marineau 4, Dismukes 15, Jaasko 0, Lane 5, Reiter 2, Asher 0, Orozco 3, Morgan 4. Totals: 19 7-19 51.
South Eugene 18 17 14 14 — 63
Crater 6 12 11 22 — 51
3-point goals — South Eugene 2 (Lininger 1, O'Neil 1), Crater 6 (Bennett 3, Martin 2, Dismukes 1). Fouled out — Lininger, Lane.