The seventh-ranked South Medford girls basketball team got a scare last month, one that stuck with head coach Tom Cole and the Panthers.
Grants Pass came to town and gave South a run for its money on Jan. 24. The Panthers prevailed by five points in a rare tight one.
It was a lesson for everyone, Cole said.
“We struggled in the home game against Grants Pass, and I thought that it was a good wake-up call about urgency and consistency to accomplish our goals," he said. “Our kids have recalibrated and are playing good basketball right now.”
Indeed they are.
South went on to win its next four contests by an average of 36 points, most recently a 78-23 victory over Roseburg at South Medford High on Tuesday.
Senior Hannah Washington went for 10 points, 19 rebounds, five steals and five blocks for the Panthers (16-5, 9-0 SWC), who have claimed 12 straight wins. Their triumph against the Indians (8-11, 1-7) marked their 87th consecutive conference victory.
Sophomore Ula Chamberlin scored 21 points and was 5-for-7 from beyond the 3-point line and freshman Bella Pedrojetti recorded 14 points for South, which raced out to a 31-8 lead after the first quarter. The Panthers canned seven triples in the period.
Washington, who is averaging 12.1 points and 11.4 rebounds, snared a loose ball and dished Chamberlin a smooth one-touch pass in the second quarter, leading to a highlight bucket.
“I thought that play was reflective of the unselfishness of tonight’s play,” Cole said.
Senior Lauren Orndoff added 13 points and eight assists and Jonnay Foote nine points and eight assists for the Panthers, who saw everyone on the roster score for the first time this winter.
“I thought we came out with a big first quarter and really just built off of that and got into a good shooting rhythm and moved the ball around well,” Cole said. "It was a well-balanced effort.”
South owned a 46-12 advantage by intermission. The Panthers contained Roseburg to two fourth-quarter points.
“We really tried to focus tonight on playing good defense,” Cole said. “I’m proud of our efforts to hold them to 12 at halftime and play a lot of our bench in the second half and still have a solid defensive showing.”
The Panthers were 54 percent from the field, including 69 percent from 3 (9 of 13).
South hosts Sheldon (15-5, 7-1) in its final league home contest at 7 p.m. on Friday. The Irish sit in second place in the SWC.
“That’s a big game, a really big game,” Cole said. “We’ve got a senior night and a really important game for state rankings and for our goal of securing a conference championship.”
After their contest with Sheldon, the Panthers wrap up SWC action with road games at Grants Pass and North Medford.
ROSEBURG (23): Robles 4, Verduzco 0, Viramontes 2, Olsen 0, Benedict 3, Russell 7, Scott 4, Hill 0, George 0, Bergmann 3. Totals: 10 1-2 23.
SOUTH MEDFORD (78): Chamberlin 21, O’Brien-Long 2, Martin 4, Pedrojetti 14, Orndoff 13, Fleming 5, Foote 9, Washington 10. Totals: 29 11-15 78.
3-point goals — Roseburg 2 (Benedict 1, Russell 1), South Medford 9 (Chamberlin 5, Orndoff 2, Pedrojetti 2). Fouled out — Olsen. Technical foul — Olsen.
JV result — Roseburg won.
Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Find him online at twitter.com/danjonesmt