South Medford's Jake McCoy and the Panthers delivered on time Wednesday night.

South Medford's Jake McCoy and the Panthers delivered on time Wednesday night.

McCoy came off the bench to score several crucial second-quarter buckets, teammate Jack Delaney turned in a game-high 18 points and South overcame an early deficit to overpower Red Bluff, Calif., 73-47 in the opening round of the Abby's Holiday Classic at South Medford High.

The Panthers (7-1) advance to play Sprague (6-3) at 6 p.m. at North Medford today.

The Spartans (4-6), whom South had already defeated once earlier this season, knocked down five 3-pointers and led by as many as 11 points in the opening quarter.

But the Panthers eventually found their winning recipe, smothering the Spartans with full-court pressure and slathering the scoreboard with points in transition.

McCoy was key for South, which trailed 15-4 at one point in the first quarter. His steal and layup with 3:54 to go in the second quarter drew the Panthers within a point, and his deep jumper just seconds later provided South with a permanent lead. On the ensuing possession, the Panthers forced a five-second violation then cashed in on it when the former Ashland Grizzly buried a 3-pointer to put his squad ahead 30-26.

"Jake McCoy's contribution off the bench was very big," South Medford head coach Dennis Murphy said. "He's back at South Medford after being here as a freshman and that's as well as he's played for us. That was a big spark."

The 6-foot-1 senior wing finished with nine points in the quarter and 12 in the game.

"I just try to bring energy no matter what, defense or offense," McCoy said. "Any way I can help the team out."

South, which tallied 12 steals, led 35-30 at halftime and 52-35 after three quarters.

The Panther attack came from every direction: Matt Retzlaff and Jeff Sarsona each had 10 points and three steals, Jack Singler had nine points and three steals and Sam Curtius offered up seven points.

Delaney, a 6-foot-2 senior post, led the way offensively.

"I was just getting different looks at the basket and really just running our plays and getting the shots through them and teammates making good passes," he said.

Retzlaff finished with six assists and four rebounds for South, which knocked down 15 of its 23 field-goal attempts in the second half and went 29-for-50 on the night.

The Spartans practically couldn't miss in the opening quarter, going 8-for-11. But in the second and third quarters combined, they managed just a 4-for-9 performance from the floor.

The Panthers beat Red Bluff 60-41 in the Red Bluff Holiday Classic semifinals on Dec. 16.

"The start of that game they came out and hit some big shots and got after us early and then both times we just kind of defensively changed the game around getting stops and easy buckets," Delaney said.

RED BLUFF (47) — Sinclair 2, Ross 2, Blaser 13, Burns 6, Nichols 9, Avila 6, Sandow 4, Fulk 2, McInnis 3. Totals: 17 5-9 47.

SOUTH MEDFORD (73) — Sarsona 10, Retzlaff 10, McCoy 12, Johnson 2, Delaney 18, Singler 9, Jimenez 1, Garcia 4, Cooney 0, Curtius 7. Totals: 29 9-15 73.

Red Bluff 22 8 5 12 — 47

South Medford 19 16 17 21 — 73

3-point goals — Red Bluff 8 (Blaser 3, Nichols 3, Avila 2), South Medford 6 (Retzlaff 3, McCoy 2, Delaney 1). Fouled out — Sinclair.

SPRAGUE 69, SOUTH EUGENE 31 — AJ Lapray scored 23 points, Reese O'Connell added 13 and Sprague easily reached the semifinals at South Medford High.

The Olympians (6-3), who have won four of their last five games, hit 21 of 24 free throws in the first-round blowout.

Joe Schinder paced South Eugene (0-6) with seven points.

SOUTH EUGENE (31) — Barnes 2, Green-Richards 6, Neel 1, Moran 0, Smith 0, Lininger 6, Young 2, Mather 5, Schinder 7, Giland 0, Lindsey 0, Richardson 2. Totals: 11 6-11 31.

SPRAGUE (69) — Parsell 0, O'Connell 13, Morgan 10, Gage 0, Foote 9, Lapray 23, Kim 1, Brotton 4, Kretchsmer 4, Long 5, Collins 0, Wilson 0. Totals: 22 21-24 69.

South Eugene 9 9 6 7 — 31

Sprague 14 16 14 25 — 69

3-point goals — South Eugene 3 (Green-Richards 2, Schinder 1), Sprague 4 (O'Connell 2, Foote 1, Lapray 1).

Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or email djones@mailtribune.com