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Fast start helps North to victory over Eagles

North Medford High forward Jesse Fowler scored 11 of his career-high 25 points in the first quarter to ignite the Black Tornado to a fast start against the grounded Eagles of Eagle Point on Friday night.

Fowler, a 6-foot-3 senior, continued to run, score and rebound impressively for two more quarters to carry the Black Tornado to a 68-49 win in the North gym.

We're not known for our fast-breaking offense, but we've been running better and better in home games, said Fowler.

This team plays to the home crowd better than we do on the road, he added. I hadn't thought about it that much, but it's true. I was getting more layups than usual tonight. They let us run early, and we took advantage of it.

Our defense is always there. When our offense is working like it was tonight, we can score a lot of points. It's fun.

Center Kacy Carter scored eight of his 13 points to team with Fowler in powering North Medford (11-6 overall) to a 23-10 lead after one quarter. Carter and Fowler combined for 19 of the Black Tornado's 23 points in the first quarter.

We played good defense and made the extra pass on offense to get good shots, said North Medford coach Terry Gregg. It was a real solid effort for us.

Point guard Kyle Foreman distributed six of North's 20 assists on the night.

He only had one turnover to go with those assists, said Gregg. He's been doing a good job.

He's stepped up a notch playing the point, and that has really helped. Jesse's scoring has been a big boost, and Kacy (Carter) has played real well overall. Plus, Tom Wooton has been our defensive stopper lately. He held his man (Nick Rouhier) to seven points.

Eagle Point fell to 3-6 in the SOC and 6-10 overall.

We just didn't show up, said Eagle Point coach Keith Williams. We were flat and not ready to play. I don't know why.

We let them play in their comfort zone. Thus, they ran their stuff and defended us hard like normal.

Point guard Chris Sawyer and junior center Phill Garrett both scored 12 points to lead the Eagles.

Those two guys played real well, but that was about it, said Williams. We have to play a lot better than this to be a playoff team.

Led by nine rebounds by Carter and seven by Fowler, the Black Tornado outrebounded Eagle Point 33-22. North had five offensive rebounds in the first quarter.

I think we're in good shape to be a playoff team if we can keep playing like this, said Fowler. We think we can finish at least second, depending on what South Medford (the SOC leader at 9-0) does the rest of the way.

North Medford led 23-10 after one quarter and 39-27 at halftime. Fowler scored 11 points during the first 12 minutes of the second half, including a 3-point field goal from the top of the key with four minutes left in the third quarter, to lead the Black Tornado to a 65-40 advantage with 3:55 left in the game.

North Medford plays at Ashland tonight. Eagle Point has a bye.

EAGLE POINT (49) -- Mallari 0, Murphy 0, Exner 2, Hansen 2, Kezer 2, Lucas 6, Stuart 3, Garrett 12, Sawyer 12, Rouhier 7, Buda 3, Johnston 0. Totals: 16-45 16-23 49.

NORTH MEDFORD (68) -- Foreman 2, Wooton 8, Fowler 25, Hinkle 7, Carter 13, Zimmer 1, Randall 6, Brownell 4, McNeil 0, Ferguson 2. Totals: 23-49 17-25 68.

Eagle Point10 18 9 12 -- 49

North Medford23 16 21 8 -- 68

3-point goals -- Eagle Point — (Rouhier 1), North Medford 5 (Fowler 2, Hinkle 1, Carter 1, Brownell 1).

JV score -- North Medford 63, Eagle Point 56, OT.