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McMinnville claims tourney title

McMinnville broke free from a 34-34 tie midway through the third quarter and rolled to a 70-58 win over the South Medford boys Wednesday night in the championship game of the Abby's Legendary Pizza Holiday Basketball Classic in the South gym.

Center Clint Russell of the Grizzlies scored 28 points, including 13 in the fourth quarter, as eighth-ranked McMinnville won its ninth game against no losses on the season.

South Medford's front line ended up being worn down by the McMinnville front line of 6-foot-4 Brandon Fricke, 6-5 Travis Jones and the 6-5 Russell.

Russell actually scores more against bigger post people because he out-quicks them, said McMinnville coach Rick Havercroft. That's what happened here in the fourth quarter.

South got a little tired, and they started to get in foul trouble. That's when Russell went to the basket extra hard.

South Medford (5-5) post players Graham Foster and Adam Decker combined for 30 points. Decker led the Panthers with 17 and Foster had 13.

The Panther posts combined to hit 13 of 16 shots.

But at the defensive end, the Panthers struggled to contain McMinnville's inside game. Sixteen of McMinnville's 23 field goals came on layins or offensive rebound baskets.

They're just real tough inside, said South Medford coach Dennis Murphy. We couldn't keep them away from the basket and off the boards.

We have to defend harder and shoot better to beat good teams, said Murphy. We haven't done that.

Excluding Decker and Foster, the rest of the South team hit just 13 of 42 shots.

Where were our perimeter people? I'd like to know, said Murphy.

We have got to knock down more shots than that from the outside.

McMinnville held slim leads of 14-13 after one quarter and 24-21 at halftime. South rallied to tie the game at 34-34 in the third quarter, but McMinnville went on a 7-2 run to increase the lead to 41-36.

South Medford, paced by the scoring of Foster and Decker, hung close to the Grizzlies for nearly eight minutes. Russell then started to take over with 13 points in the opening five minutes of the fourth quarter, with all of his points coming on layins and free throws.

We wanted to get off to a fast start and not let South get a jump on us, said Havercroft. They got fast starts in their other two games in the tournament, and they kind of ran off and hid.

We didn't want to let that happen. We told (our players) we needed to set the tempo early and try to stay on top of them. We did a good job.

Fricke backed up Russell's 28-point performance with 13 points and Jones added eight. Point guard Adam Dale chipped in nine points and eight assists.

Named to the all-tournament team from South Medford were point guard Steve Hilgendorf and Foster. Russell was the only unanimous first-team selection.

Other first-team selections were Jeff Zimmer of North Medford and Mike Albertson of Century.

MCMINNVILLE (70) -- Russell 28, Hurl 0, Briggs 0, Pratt 8, Patterson 0, Noble 0, Dale 9, West 0, Fricke 13, Jones 8, McCoy 4. Totals: 23-50 21-36 70

SOUTH MEDFORD (58) -- Decker 17, Tomlins 0, Hickey 11, Hilgendorf 3, McKay 0, Rasmussen 2, Wallenberg 4, Grant 8, Kime 0, Foster 13. Totals: 25-45 5-8 58

McMinnville .........................14 10 19 27 -- 70 South Medford ...................11 10 20 17 -- 58

3-point goals -- McMinnville — (Dale, Fricke, Jones), South Medford 2 (Hickey, Hilgendorf).