It’s an experiment that has true benefit and merit, but also one with a big hill to climb before permanent implementation throughout...
CENTRAL POINT — A little experimentation went a long way in helping North Medford down Crater, 66-52, Friday in Southern Oregon Hybrid boys basketball.
Black Tornado coach Scott Plankenhorn turned to sixth-man Tucker Barry as part of a four-guard lineup during a key spell in the second half, and the sophomore responded with the biggest varsity game of his career.
Barry scored 21 points, making 8 of 12 field goals and 4 of 5 free throws.
"Tucker is the first guy off the bench," said Plankenhorn. "Tonight we messed with a little bit of four guards, and he stayed on the floor longer than normal. He was really successful late for us. He got three baskets in the fourth quarter off good action off the break."
Tristen Holmes paced the Black Tornado (11-4, 4-1 SOH) with 22 points and seven rebounds. Julian Gray added 11 points, three rebounds and three assists.
Barry got into a couple of games last season as a late call-up to the varsity.
A strong summer season helped him work into the sixth-man role, said Plankenhorn.
"He's gotten more and more consistent and, more and more, he understands what can go and what can't go at the varsity level," said the coach. "He's going to be a very good asset. He's been doing great things all year and really had a huge night tonight."
Crater hung with North Medford, which moved into sole possession of first place in the SOH, until late in the third.
The Comets (5-10, 1-4) scratched out a 35-34 lead late in the period, but the Black Tornado went on a 10-0 surge.
"They put some really good pressure on us during that run," said Crater coach Glenn Johannes. "We missed a lot of layups. That was the difference. We missed a lot of high-percentage shots and free throws and that was because of them causing it with their tempo."North Medford led 12-7 after the first quarter and kept the lead, 25-22, at halftime. The Black Tornado pulled ahead by seven in the third before Crater chipped away and overtook the visitor.
"We were playing pretty solid for the most part," said Plankenhorn, "and they were playing well. It was a good battle. Both teams made some spurts. On defense, we got in the passing lanes a couple times for some steals and got in transition and got some easy baskets."
He was happy with the play off all his reserves, notably Tucker and Matt Ecker, who grabbed four rebounds.
"We got really solid minutes from guys giving us two- to three-minute blows for the starters so they could stay fresh down the stretch," said Plankenhorn.
Edmund Polataivao had four rebounds and four steals in the win.
Crater got 16 points and nine rebounds from Jacob Hintemeyer and 14 points from Gunnar Asher, a junior guard who was seeing his first action since a Dec. 17 knee injury. Asher scored 12 of his points in the second half and four rebounds.
Dylan Morgan contributed five assists and three steals and Dean Orozco six rebounds and four assists.
Crater forward Connor Lane was limited to about four minutes in the first half with two fouls and got his third early in the third. The 6-foot-7 senior fouled out with about with about five minutes to play.
The Comets were only 9 of 18 from the line.
NORTH MEDFORD (66) — Gray 11, Bush 2, Barry 21, Holmes 22, Ecker 2, Carrasco 2, Browne-Moore 2, Polataivao 3, Wilkins 1, Powers 0. Totals: 22 19-27 66.
CRATER (52) — Hintemeyer 16, Morgan 4, Pomeroy 0, Jaasko 6, Lane 4, Reiter 3, Davis 2, Orozco 3, Gustafson 0, Asher 14. Totals: 20 9-18 52.
North Medford 12 13 19 22 — 66
Crater 7 15 13 17 — 52
3-point goals — North Medford 3 (Barry 1, Holmes 2), Crater 3 (Orozco 1, Hintemeyer 1, Asher 1). Fouled out — Lane, Davis.
JV result — North Medford won.