Winning the Southern Cascade League title seemed like a pretty bold goal this spring considering the recent history of the Cascade Christian...
CENTRAL POINT — The North Medford girls basketball team left Crater High on Friday feeling optimistic.
The young and banged-up Comets walked away feeling a little overwhelmed.
The Black Tornado downed Crater 43-19 on Friday to earn its first Southern Oregon Hybrid victory of the year. Senior post/wing McKensey Peters had 20 points and eight rebounds to pace North (9-6, 1-4 SOH), which avenged a 49-48 loss to the Comets (5-9, 1-4) on Jan. 2 while snapping a three-game losing skid.
"It definitely feels good," North head coach Tim Karrick said. "It's been a long time coming."
The victory came against a Crater squad beleaguered by injuries (three of its starters were absent) and robust with youth (its only seniors were out and four junior varsity players were used). Britt Scott, Emmie Gavin and Courtney Setzer — a mix that represents the Comets' captains and scoring leaders — were all missing with injuries or illness. Scott (broken nose) could be out for two more weeks, Gavin (concussion) should be back in about a week and Setzer (illness) is out for an undetermined amount of time, Crater head coach JT Thomas said.
"It's a hard road that we are on right now," Thomas said. "But it's the gift that we got. We've got to make the most out of it."
The Comets led 9-8 after a sloppy first quarter that saw 17 combined turnovers, but they never recovered after being outscored 19-4 in the second period. After a straggly third quarter, Crater was held scoreless in the fourth.
"I don't know if it is out of fear or they are getting better at starting but we seem to start OK," Thomas said. "Then I think what we are dealing with is just a varsity conditioning versus a kid who was not expecting to be playing right now. And they don't have a choice, they just have to get out there and experience it."
Peters and senior post Maryssa Becker were a handful inside, pounding the Comets with putbacks and post-up moves.
"I am really glad she's back," Peters said of Becker, who has missed some time this season due to illness and an ankle injury. "She has helped me a lot."
Becker finished with 11 points. Bailey O'Connor turned in five points, six rebounds, three steals and two assists and Katie Williamson added three steals for the Black Tornado.
Becca Heard and Olivia Ryerson finished with six points apiece for Crater, which missed its first eight shots to start the second quarter and didn't score until the 1:10 mark.
The fourth wasn't much prettier — the Comets missed all nine of their attempts.
"When you start to have that panic mode then things start to go what we call windshield wiper," Thomas said.
North outrebounded Crater 34-17.
"I think we really stepped up and turned the corner and played as a team," Peters said. "We are getting there."
NORTH MEDFORD (43) — Ellis 3, Hogue 0, Anderson 0, Martin 0, Thomas 2, Peters 20, Koistinen 0, O'Connor 5, Williamson 2, Randleman 0, Becker 11. Totals: 17 7-9 43.
CRATER (19) — B. Heard 6, Ryerson 6, Noles 1, Fahndrich 4, Gavin 2, C. Scott 0, Bean 0, Laws 0, McElravy 0, M. Heard 0, Bascom 0. Totals: 7 5-8 19.
North Medford 8 19 8 8 — 43
Crater 9 4 6 0 — 19
3-point goals — North Medford 2 (O'Connor 1, Ellis 1).
JV result — Crater won.
Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or email firstname.lastname@example.org