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Roseburg stifles Tornado down stretch

Tough, in-your-face, man-to-man defense has been a staple of North Medford High boys basketball ever since Terry Gregg took over the program 12 years ago.

Friday night at the North gym, the Black Tornado got a taste of its own medicine.

Roseburg held the Tornado scoreless over the final four minutes and 51 seconds to post a come-from-behind 35-33 Southern Oregon Conference victory.

Pat Anderson made two free throws with 55.2 seconds remaining, snapping a 33-33 tie and providing the Indians with the gratifying road win.

We like to think we play some pretty good defense of our own, Roseburg coach Mike Pardon said. To be honest, neither team got a lot of great looks at the basket tonight, but I thought we shut down their inside game fairly well and made them shoot from the perimeter.

Roseburg center Matt Brown, the leading scorer in the SOC, tossed in 18 points. The 6-foot-8 senior also added 16 rebounds.

But it was Anderson, an unheralded junior, who won the game in the final minute. The 6-2 guard/forward grabbed an offensive rebound under the Roseburg basket after Brown had missed two free throws, and was himself fouled by North Medford's Jesse Fowler on a somewhat controversial call.

Anderson calmly sank two free throws and then the Indians withstood two shots by the Tornado in the final 55 seconds that could have tied the game.

Fowler's 15-foot jumper from the baseline narrowly missed as time expired.

I went up there thinking I was going to make both shots, said Anderson, who finished with three points. I'm not one of our big scorers but I'm a confident free-throw shooter. And after I made the first one, the second one was pretty much automatic.

The victory lifted Roseburg to 5-2 and into second place in the SOC. The Indians are 9-5 overall. North Medford plummeted to 5-3, 10-5 overall.

North Medford made just 2 of 9 field goal attempts in the fourth period and only 13 of 40 (32.5 percent) for the game.

Worse, the Tornado hit just 2 of 6 free throws on the night.

We played well enough defensively to keep us in the game and we got the lead in the fourth quarter, North Medford coach Terry Gregg said. But we couldn't make any shots at the end.

Gregg was even more troubled by his team's lack of free throws.

We try to push the ball inside -- that's part of our offense, he said. Going 2-for-6 is not getting it done.

Although the Indians escaped town with the win, they didn't exactly wear out the nets, either, hitting only 13 of 39 shots from the field and 8 of 18 from the line.

Roseburg jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead behind a pair of baskets by Brown and a 3-pointer by Drew Libby.

The Indians led 11-6 after one period and 20-13 with 2 minutes remaining in the first half.

But North Medford fought back behind Fowler, its 6-4 senior forward. He made a layup off a nice pass from reserve center Nick Randall and then drilled a 15-footer from the baseline that reduced Roseburg's edge to 20-17 at the half.

Fowler then knocked down a 3-pointer early in the third period that earned the Tornado a 20-20 tie, and North Medford took its first lead two minutes later when Fowler banked in an 8-foot jumper from the side.

The Tornado led 28-27 after three periods and then, after a Brown free throw tied the contest at 28-28, point guard Kyle Foreman hit a 3-pointer and center Kacy Carter added an inside basket.

Carter's score came with 4:51 to play and lifted North to a 33-28 lead, but the Tornado went scoreless the rest of the way.

Foreman had a steady game at the point, registering six points, four steals, two assists and one blocked shot.

ROSEBURG (35) --Brown 18, Libby 6, Coen 2, Anderson 3, Cordell 4, Linderman 2. Totals 13-34 8-18 35.

NORTH MEDFORD (33) --Fowler 12, Carter 11, Foreman 6, Zimmer 2, Hinkle 2, Wooton 0, Randall 0. Totals: 13-40 2-6. 33.

Roseburg 11 9 7 8 -- 35

North Medford 6 11 11 5 -- 33

3-point goals -- Roseburg — (Libby 1), North Medford — (Foreman 1, Fowler 2). Fouled out -- none.

North's Kyle Foreman looks for a teammate as Roseburg's Davis Coen closes in on him Friday night. - Photo by Mike Leonard