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Opener slips away from Panthers, 65-62

Early in the third quarter, an aggressive South Medford High boys basketball team appeared primed to apply the knockout punch to the Mountain View Cougars.

Then things started going wrong for the Panthers.

South never could correct its backward slide in the final 14 minutes, caused primarily by turnovers and poor shooting, as Mountain View erased an 11-point deficit in the third quarter and defeated the Panthers, 65-62, in the South gym.

I think our team had the guts and the heart tonight, said Mountain View coach Sean Corrigan. That was the difference.

We picked up our defense and did what we had to do to win, said Corrigan, who watched his team defeat its second Southern Oregon Conference opponent in three nights.

Mountain View swamped Roseburg, 71-46, last Tuesday in its season-opener.

For the second straight game, the Cougars played without Tom Hackenbruck, Cody Serbus and Taylor Drew, who will try to help the Cougars' football team defeat Sprague today in the Class 4A state football semifinals.

Hackenbruck, Serbus and Drew are all scheduled to be starters or significant players when they return to the basketball team, Corrigan says.

When they get back, we're going to be ready for them and off to a good start, said Corrigan. This sets us up in a nice position to have a solid team with good depth.

Mountain View center Colby Summer scored 26 points and was a dominant force inside, and wing Grayson Tenney added 11 for the Cougars.

South Medford senior center Nick Decker scored 14 points and pulled down 11 rebounds to lead the Panthers. Point guard Steve Hilgendorf had 11 points and five assists for the Panthers, but struggled to get his shots in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter.

One of their defensive wings dropped down to cut me off in the second half when I would try to drive, said Hilgendorf. We needed somebody to step up and hit the open shot when they did that. But it wasn't happening.

We got an 11-point lead in the third quarter and I thought things looked good. Then all of a sudden, we fell apart.

South Medford missed 13 layups in the game and made just 11-of-20 free throws. Meanwhile, Mountain View made 19 of its 25 free throws.

Turnovers, missed layups and missed free throws were the difference in the game, said South Medford coach Dennis Murphy. We needed our kids to step up and hit outside shots, but we didn't do it enough.

Decker scored on two layups during the first two minutes of the third quarter as South Medford built a 37-30 halftime lead to 41-30.

But Mountain View rallied with seven straight points, including a 17-foot jump shot by Skyler Ashbaugh, a layup by Tenney and a three-point play by Summer.

Mountain View continued to creep closer until it took a 54-52 lead with 5:45 left in the game thanks to a 9-2 scoring burst. Tenney started the Mountain View surge with a 3-point field goal, and Summer and Lang added two free throws each.

South Medford regained the lead at 57-54 on a 3-point shot by sophomore guard Ryan Heil with 5:25 left in the game, but the Cougars ran off eight straight points. A.J. Tyvand scored on a layup and converted two free throws to conclude the run.

South Medford cost itself six potential points with four missed free throws in the final 7:50 of the game.

The win was Mountain View's first in 13 games against Murphy-coached South teams.

It was getting old, said Corrigan of the Panthers' win streak. I was telling Dennis before the game that we have been getting closer to knocking them off, and that we might get them one of these times. Tonight was the night.

Mountain View played hard, said Murphy. When they had to crank it up in the second half, they did it. As for us, we played hard enough to win. But we didn't play smart enough to win.

Mountain View meets North Medford today at 2:45 p.m. in the North gym, while South Medford is scheduled to meet Bend at the same time in the Panthers' gym.

MOUNTAIN VIEW (65)-- Summer 26, Paul 4, Tenney 11, Tyvand 6, Ashbaugh 7, Russell 2, Lang 9. Totals -- 20-48 19-25 65.

SOUTH MEDFORD (62)-- Decker 14, Hilgendorf 11, Heil 7, McKay 7, Rasmussen 2, Wallenberg 4, Mulhollen 4, Grant 5, Kime 4, Fiegi 4. Totals -- 24-52 11-20 62.

Mountain View

............17 13 18 17 -- 65 South Medford

............22 15 13 13 -- 62

3-point goals -- Mountain View 4 (Summer 1, Tenney 2, Ashbaugh 2). South Medford — (Heil 1, Hilgendorf 1, McKay 1).