Winning the Southern Cascade League title seemed like a pretty bold goal this spring considering the recent history of the Cascade Christian...
The splash fans endured entering the South Medford High gymnasium was nothing compared to what the host Panthers had in store for Roseburg on Friday night.
A constant rain outside the gym essentially trickled over to the court inside, where 10th-ranked South Medford made it rain by going 12-for-19 from 3-point range en route to a sizzling 75-45 victory in Southern Oregon Hybrid boys basketball.
Panthers senior Brandon Lupton came off the bench to drain five of those 3-pointers, including four in the fourth quarter, to finish with 17 points. Senior Ben Orndoff and junior Brayden Massey each had 18 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals in the rout, which included a season-high in makes from beyond the arc.
South Medford (15-6, 8-1 SOH), which has already clinched an automatic playoff berth, used a 9-0 run to separate from Roseburg in the first quarter and built a 37-15 lead by intermission. The Panthers were a crisp 7-for-9 from 3-point range in the first half — with four by the 6-foot-1 point guard Massey — and shot 63 percent from beyond the arc overall.
South Medford's previous season high was eight 3-pointers against Crater.
"It started with Brayden Massey hitting a couple right in the first quarter, getting those big points and getting us going right away," said Lupton, whose 17 points were a career-high. "It's contagious when guys shoot like that, and it feels great when you can be part of it like that. I have to give credit to my teammates for finding me and getting me open."
Being on the other end of the shooting display, however, was not as fun. Roseburg dropped to 6-13 overall and 2-8 in SOH play with a third straight double-digit defeat.
"Especially going through a handful of games like we've been going through, it's pretty tough then to come out and have them shoot like that," said Roseburg head coach Craig Stinnett. "It's pretty disheartening and hard to come back from. I thought our kids did a pretty decent job of battling in the second half but then (Lupton) comes back and hits back-to-back 3-pointers to keep them going."
Orndoff opened the game with a trey and, after a layup by Roseburg's Carson Reid, Massey added another 3-pointer to kickstart a 9-0 run that gave the Panthers all the cushion they would need on this night.
"We've been shooting pretty well the last couple weeks in practice," said South Medford assistant coach Kirk Daley, who is 2-0 since taking over for head coach Dennis Murphy, who's part of the ongoing Medford teachers' strike. "That was obviously a really good effort but we've been shooting the ball really well lately."
"In the first half we had 11 assists on 13 buckets and I'm big on that, I like that," added Daley. "I don't know how many misses we had, too, but we almost had as many offensive rebounds as that. Those are things we stress so it's fun when they're playing like that."
Helping set the tone for the Panthers' overall balance was senior Mark Winans, who has sacrificed some offense this season to the betterment of the program. Winans, who has committed to play next season at Colorado School of Mines, finished with eight points, eight assists and three steals.
"We have been real excited about how Mark's been playing the last couple weeks," said Daley. "I'm sure in his mind last year and maybe early this year it was all about the points, but he's all about winning now. He has turned that corner and I think people are accepting their roles better and we are just really playing well right now, which is a great time to do that."
The Panthers finished with 22 assists on their 28 baskets, going 28-for-53 overall (53 percent). Brandon Robertson came off the bench for four of those assists, while Cameron English had seven rebounds and three points, C.J. Keepes had four rebounds and three points and Hunter Bradford four rebounds, three points and two assists against a Roseburg team minus 6-4 post Ryan Ball.
Also for South Medford, Trenton Monical came off the bench for four points and three rebounds and reserve post Tristian Lallo added four rebounds and was one of nine players to register an assist.
"It was an overall good performance by everyone," said Orndoff. "We played well as a team and it was a good win. We did a good job of just keeping that tempo going throughout the whole game."
As for Lupton's breakout night, it didn't come as a surprise to his teammates, who mobbed him on the court following a timeout after his fifth trey.
"He knows what he needs to do when he comes in," said Orndoff. "He's a shooter, that's what he does. He came in and knocked down those shots and finished with 17 points, which was awesome. It was great to see him having success and, more than that, just our team having success, too."
ROSEBURG (45) — Stephens 16, Haskett 9, New 8, Reid 5, Baumgartner 4, Knapp 3, Stone 0, Carhart 0, Early 0, Tharp 0. Totals: 17-48 3-5 45.
SOUTH MEDFORD (75) — Orndoff 18, Massey 18, Lupton 17, Winans 8, Monical 4, English 3, Keepes 3, Bradford 3, Robertson 1, Lallo 0, Contreras 0. Totals: 28-53 7-13 75.
Roseburg 8 7 13 17 — 45
South Medford 20 17 14 24 — 75
3-point goals — Roseburg 8-24 (Stephens 4, New 2, Haskett 1, Knapp 1), South Medford 12-19 (Lupton 5, Massey 4, Winans 2, Orndoff 1).
JV score — South Medford 64, Roseburg 57.
Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, email@example.com, www.facebook.com/krishenryMT or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry