Cascade Christian High has been able to take pride in numerous athletic achievements over the years, but wrestling hasn't exactly seen a surplus of...
Dan Clark put in his time as a junior varsity head coach and varsity assistant at Sheldon. Now that he has the keys to the program, the fresh-faced first-year head coach is savoring a roster loaded with talented seniors.
His fourth-year players scored all but six points as the Irish broke down South Medford, 73-62, during opening-round action at the Abby's Holiday Classic on Friday at South Medford High.
"It makes my life easier as a first-year guy having seven seniors," said Clark with a laugh.
There was nothing funny about the night for the defending tournament champion Panthers.
South Medford (5-3) committed 18 turnovers, including five during a damaging stretch in the third quarter. The Panthers appeared to be on the rise after bouncing back from a 12-point deficit in the second quarter and drawing to within a point at halftime. South, which had weathered seven 3-point makes by the Irish (6-2) before intermission, seemed to have regained its composure as Ben Orndoff's bucket to open the third put the Panthers ahead, 32-31.
That's when disaster struck.
Five straight turnovers, two blocked shots and 12 unanswered points later, South trailed by 11.
The Panthers' comeback story would end there.
"We didn't have an answer," South Medford head coach Dennis Murphy said. "They beat us off the dribble and their press, which I thought would not cause us problems, caused us a lot of problems. You turn the ball over 18, 19 times, you aren't going to beat a good basketball team."
Sheldon's lead ballooned to 16 with 2:05 to go in the third and it owned a 52-41 advantage with a quarter to go.
The Irish were 15-for-17 from the free-throw line and 13-for-17 from the floor in the second half and finished with eight 3s on the night. Senior point guard Nick Nestell had 18 points and senior guard Logan Davis added 16.
For its efforts, Sheldon will play Westview in the semifinals at 6 p.m. today at North Medford High. Westview beat Sprague, 66-56.
The Panthers, who outrebounded Sheldon 28-21, will take on Sprague in a consolation contest at 2:30 p.m. at North Medford High.
"We have lost three straight and I don't remember the last time a South Medford team has done that," said South Medford senior wing Mark Winans, who had 17 points, four rebounds and three assists. "We just have to work on bouncing back tomorrow."
The Irish finished in last place the last time they appeared in the Holiday Classic, which was in 2003.
So far, so good for Sheldon this time around.
"The kids did a good job pushing tempo and making a few adjustments at halftime," said Clark. "That is the game of basketball though, a game of runs and ups and downs."
Senior wing Orndoff paced the Panthers with 18 points, six rebounds and four assists, while junior post Cameron English chipped in 16 points (11 in the first half) and five rebounds. Sophomore post Hunter Bradford added six points and eight rebounds.
"(Murphy) just said tomorrow we have to get back at it," Orndoff said. "It's our chance to turn our season around. It's an uphill battle from here, so we've got to want it."
SHELDON (73) — Wood 5, Alexander 12, Brancato 0, Herbert 13, Strahm 4, McCloud 0, Nestell 18, Conlon 2, Davis 16, Larson 3. Totals: 24-44 17-20 73.
SOUTH MEDFORD (62) — Carpenter 0, Winans 17, Robertson 5, Orndoff 18, Massey 0, Bradford 6, Monical 0, English 16, Lallo 0. Totals: 21-47 17-21 62.
Sheldon 18 13 21 21 — 73
South Medford 12 18 11 21 — 62
3-point goals — Sheldon 8 (Wood 1, Alexander 1, Nestell 3, Davis 2, Larson 1), South Medford 3 (Winans 1, Robertson 1, Orndoff 1).
Jack Frazier scored 20 points to pace Sprague (2-5).
SPRAGUE (56) — Frazier 20, Harrison 0, Morgan 6, Anderson 4, Flanigan 11, Parsell 11, Kleinman 0, Collins 4. Totals: 21 7-10 56.
WESTVIEW (66) — Coffey 2, Dennis 4, Larsen 7, Sly 3, Venkatesh 4, Glasgow 0, Carrick 21, Kekel 10, Ralston 5, Johnson 4, Hill 0, England 4, Kennedy 0, Tamvlyn 2. Totals: 27 10-15 66.
Sprague 14 13 11 18 — 56
Westview 10 12 29 15 — 66
3-point goals — Sprague 7 (Frazier 2, Flanigan 3, Parsell 2), Westview 2 (Larsen 1, Carrick 1). Fouled out — Collins.