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Pioneers overhaul Tornado, 53-48

PORTLAND -- North Medford had the Oregon City Pioneers on the run, in trouble and a bit scared.

Still, this was Oregon City -- four-time defending Class 4A state girls basketball champion and unwilling to roll over for anyone. Even a club as determined as the Black Tornado.

North led by 12 points in the first half, blew it and regained the lead midway through the fourth quarter. But the Pioneers have a penchant for foiling the best of upset bids and did it once again Tuesday night, topping North 53-48 in the first round of the Class 4A state tournament at the Chiles Center.

All-American Lindsey Yamasaki scored six of her 24 points in the final 3:07 as the second-ranked Pioneers closed the game with a 10-3 run.

Yamasaki ignited the burst, driving the left side of the lane, drawing North center Ericka Brosterhous' fifth foul and converting a 3-point play to give Oregon City a 46-45 advantage.

I don't think I was thinking about going to Brosterhous, said Yamasaki. If the layup was open I was going and I just happened to get fouled.

It wasn't a black and white play by any means.

This was a tremendous effort on our part, North Medford coach Mike Kay said. Lindsey is an All-American and she makes four free throws at the end and played like an All-American. It came down to a questionable block-charge call and we couldn't get a 3-pointer up after that.

The setback drops the sixth-ranked Tornado (22-4) into today's 10:30 a.m. consolation contest against North Eugene (18-7).

Overshadowed in the loss was a superb defensive outing by junior guard Ashlee Giles, who blanketed Yamasaki all 32 minutes of the contest. Roughly half of Yamasaki's points came after switches or loose ball plays.

If you wanted to see a clinic on defense, all you had to do was watch Ashlee Giles tonight, Kay said. Not bad at all for a third-team all-conference player.

Giles and senior point guard Dolinda Meeker staggered the champs early, forcing turnovers and hitting a variety of shots. Tressa Manwaring hit a free throw to make it 15-3.

After one quarter it was 17-9.

And despite a run in which Yamasaki and Jessica Hansen combined for 12 points, North still led 34-32 at the half.

That little run helped get us ready for the second half, Yamasaki said. Any competitive team can beat us on the right night, if they're hitting their shots.

The Tornado was 13-of-25 (.520) from the field in the first half with Giles going 4-for-5, Brosterhous 4-for-6 and Meeker 3-for-6. But North committed four unforced turnovers early in the second half and Oregon City went on a 6-0 run to take a 38-34 lead.

North rallied to regain the lead with a 9-3 run to start the fourth quarter. Brosterhous made it 45-43 with the last of her 12 points with 4:38. Shortly afterwards, she fouled out.

We gave it our best shot, we had leads the whole game, Giles said. We just didn't finish at the end.

NORTH MEDFORD (48) -- Dickerson 2, Jackson 2, Brosterhous 12, Meeker 10, Giles 12, Close 1, Crenshaw 0, Manwaring 9, Ledford 0. Totals: 15-45 15-22 48.

OREGON CITY (53) -- Yamasaki 24, Strahle 0, Mitchell 3, Lemarr 0, Hansen 17, Faulkner 9, Hummel 0, M. Groves 0, A. Groves 0. Totals: 19-45 11-16 53.

North Medford17 17 2 12 -- 48

Oregon City9 23 8 13 -- 53

3-point goals -- North Medford 3-14 (Meeker 2, Giles 1), Oregon City 4-12 (Yamasaki 2, Hansen 1, Faulkner 1). Fouled out -- Brosterhous. Rebounds -- North Medford 31 (Manwaring 6), Oregon City 30 (Yamasaki 10).