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Tornado one win away from 4A girls tournament

It's not quite the matchup North Medford anticipated, but the Black Tornado isn't complaining.

North Medford (20-3) expected to face Beaverton in tonight's third-round Class 4A state girls basketball playoff game.

But someone forgot to tell South Salem (17-8), who knocked off the Beavers, who spent most of the season in the top-10 poll, 44-41 in Beaverton Thursday.

Nonetheless, the sixth-ranked Tornado won't have any trouble getting up for the Saxons, who finished third in the Valley League. It was just two years ago that South Salem halted North one game short its first state tournament appearance.

The Tornado, runner-up in the Southern Oregon Conference, gets another shot at 6 tonight at North.

The winner advances to the 16-team tournament in Portland, drawing four-time defending state champion Oregon City in the first round. That game will be at 8:45 p.m. Tuesday at the Chiles Center.

Senior post Jenny Jackson and junior guards Jenny Close and Lu Crenshaw played on the North team that lost to South Salem.

We'd like to even up the score a little bit, North Medford coach Mike Kay says.

North senior center Ericka Brosterhous has an even more recent recollection of the Saxons. She played for rival Sprague High of Salem last year and the year before.

We were town rivals, says Brosterhous. Every time we played against them, it was intense.

(Sprague) split two years ago and last year South won both. Our team is definitely better than my team last year, and I can't wait for a rematch against them. I've been talking to the whole team, and we're really fired up.

Brosterhous, a 6-foot-3 SOC all-star, knows 6-1 Saxon center Lisa Narkiewicz well.

We're pretty much the same style of players, Brosterhous says, allowing that Narkiewicz is more physical. That's something I have to improve on.

Narkiewicz had 12 points against Beaverton.

Kay says South Salem's tenacity and rebounding stymied Beaverton.

South Salem just outmuscled (Beaverton), Kay says. They're an extremely aggressive and physical team. Beaverton got caught up in the emotion of that. It's very critical for us to keep our composure and not get key people in foul trouble.

Saxon sophomore forward Jenny McGillivray had a big game against Beaverton, scoring 17 points and hitting the boards hard.