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South girls stun Crater, 59-53

Wooton, Fossen fuel fourth-period rally

South Medford High girls basketball coach Andrea Wegner surmised three weeks ago that Southern Oregon Conference preseason coaches favorite Crater is beatable.

Wegner's Panthers proved it Tuesday night.

South Medford outscored Crater 17-2 over the final seven minutes to stun the 10th-ranked Comets, 59-53, in the South Medford gym.

It's my biggest win by far, said Wegner, South Medford's third-year head coach. I'm proud of the girls. We had let a couple of games get away (to Roseburg and Klamath Union), but I told them in a timeout it wasn't going to happen this time.

South Medford, which improved to 7-6 overall and 3-2 in the Southern Oregon Conference, outscored the Comets 19-4 in the fourth quarter after the Comets posted leads of 49-40 entering the final period and 51-42 shortly thereafter.

We were just awful, Crater coach David Heard said. We were totally uninspired.

We need a team leader to lead us when we're uninspired and we don't have one, Heard said. I have to find one.

For now, all I can say is we're not that good. `We have to get better fast because we have Ashland (Friday at Crater) next. Our backs are to the wall.

— — — —

A jubilant Heather Fossen, left, and — Whitney Grant celebrate the triumph over No. 10 Crater Tuesday.

— —

Crater fell to 2-1 in the Southern Oregon Conference. The Comets played their first game without sophomore guard Addie Wiersma, who left the team last weekend.

You have to give credit to South, Heard said. We had them, but they didn't quit. They deserved to win.

Senior post Lynn Wooton ignited South Medford's 17-2 run in the fourth quarter by scoring three straight field goals on a left-handed hook in the lane and two layups. Just prior to Wooton's heroics, guard Kellie Thomas of the Panthers scored field goals on an 8-foot jump shot and a spinning layup.

They were stuffing me in there until the fourth quarter, Wooton said. I couldn't get my shots off at all. But we ran our offense and I finally got open in the fourth quarter.

After taking a 55-51 lead, South Medford went to a delay offense with junior guard Heather Fossen primarily handling the ball against Crater sophomore Sarah Pool.

Fossen buried a 3-point field goal from the baseline with 3:40 left in the game and converted two free throws with 10 seconds remaining to seal the win.

Whitney Grant of South converted two free throws with 27 seconds to play to give the Panthers a 57-53 lead.

Following Fossen's 3-point basket, Amy Denson of Crater hit a 15-foot jump shot with 2:59 left to cut South Medford's lead to 55-53.

South went to its delay offense and melted nearly a minute off the clock in between two turnovers.

But Crater reciprocated with two turnovers before Fossen was fouled with 35 seconds left. She missed the front end of a one-and-one situation, but Crater turned the ball over trying to hurry up the court.

Fossen led South Medford with 17 points and seven assists. Pool finished with nine points and five assists for Crater.

We were focused the whole game, and we shut them down in the fourth quarter, Fossen said. We were pumped. I had faced Pool in the summer, and you have to be on your toes and be ready for her. If you get back on your heels, she goes by you fast.

Junior post Karla Zenz scored 16 points and pulled down nine rebounds for the Panthers. She made seven of her nine shots from the field.

Grant finished with 11 points for the Panthers and Wooton had nine.

Sophomore forward-center Amy Denson led Crater with 20 points, and junior post Jody McLeod scored 14.

Wooton said the win was satisfying.

When we were sophomores, we lost to Crater 92-45, she said. We haven't forgotten that score. This was payback.

We've got Ashland a week from Friday, said Wooton. This will give us confidence going into that game. But we have to get a win at Grants Pass on Friday first.

CRATER (53)-- Yager 2, Hemphill 5, Pool 9, Sapienza 0, McLeod 14, Hall 3, Denson 20, Johnson 0. Totals: 21 10-11 53.

SOUTH MEDFORD (59)-- Grant 11, Fossen 17, Hunt 0, Cohee 0, Wooton 9, Thomas 6, Zenz 16. Totals: 22 12-18 59.

Crater

....................10 19 20 4 -- 53 South Medford

.....14 10 16 19 -- 59

3-point field goals -- Crater — (Hall 1), South Medford — (Fossen 3).

JV score -- Crater won.

Photos by Bob Pennell South players, from left, Beth Mueller, Natasha Wright and Colleen Salisbury, whoop it up on the bench.