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North remains perfect in SOC

Gene Quilhaugh's blue-collar boys in Black Tornado red and black rode their grinding defense to another Southern Oregon Conference boys basketball victory on Friday night.

North Medford limited Roseburg to 12 first-half points and rolled past the Indians, 52-43, in the North gym.

The win thrusts the Black Tornado to 4-0 in the SOC, good enough for a first-place tie with Crater.

It was a workmanlike effort, said Quilhaugh. The kids went out and played good defense and played pretty well overall.

But I think we're mentally tired. They need a couple of days off.

North Medford (9-3 overall) concluded another successful week in the SOC with wins over playoff contenders Eagle Point and Roseburg.

I don't think either team was particularly sharp, but we made good efforts, said Quilhaugh. (The Indians) like to slash and pass to the spot-up shooters. We took that away pretty well.

North Medford committed 11 turnovers while forcing 20 Roseburg turnovers.

I like those 11 turnovers, said Quilhaugh. That's an improvement over what we've been doing.

North's man-to-man pressure limited the Indians to 36-percent shooting (15 for 42), the Tornado shot 46 percent (21 for 48).

We did our usual of playing one real good quarter, said senior guard David Husel, the Tornado enforcer on defense. We came out really hard defensively in the first quarter and then carried it over into the second quarter.

We're just getting started. One of these nights, we're going to come out and play four sweet quarters.

Senior point guard Jeff Zimmer of North Medford scored 13 points, handed out eight assists and had six steals. As if that wasn't enough, he converted six straight free throws in the final 31 seconds as Roseburg chased the ball.

They made my night by putting me on the line at the end, said Zimmer. I appreciate it. They helped my (scoring) average.

Roseburg coach Mike Pardon was among Zimmer's admirers after the game.

You could tell last year he was going to be real good this year, Pardon said. The experience he got has really helped him to become a solid player.

Kelly Jantzer and Husel both scored 11 points for North. Senior post player Travis Hinkle, who had 23 points and 12 rebounds in North Medford's win over Eagle Point last Tuesday, had four points and a game-high seven rebounds.

Jantzer had six rebounds to go with his 13 points.

Pardon said his team had its chances to stay in the game.

We missed an awful lot of layups, he said. Credit North for its defensive pressure, but we missed some easy layups we've got to be able to make.

North Medford opened a 15-7 lead after one quarter. The Black Tornado broke free from a 7-7 tie with an 8-0 surge.

Husel streaked to the basket to score two transition layups during the run, and Zimmer hit a pull-up 15-foot jump shot off the fastbreak.

Dave McNeil, a 6-foot-5 center, scored on a 17-foot jump shot from beyond the free-throw line to start the run. Senior wing Kelly Jantzer scored six of his 11 points in the second quarter as North built a 25-12 halftime lead.

A layup by McNeil and a 10-foot bank shot by 6-3, 225-pound backup power forward Casey Casebier lifted North to a 33-20 lead with 41 seconds left in the third quarter.

But Roseburg wouldn't go away. The Indians cut the lead to 34-28 on a 16-foot jump shot buy Joe Gonzales and a 3-point goal by wing Jered Moss.

North countered with an 8-2 run for a 42-30 lead with 2:17 left in the game. Jantzer led the way with a fast-break layup and pull-up jump shot from the lane.

But once again, Roseburg kept battling with a 3-point play by Hans Christenson and 3-point field goals from Kevin Linderman and Pat Anderson.

At the end, we got some stuff (3-point shots) stuck in our face, said Husel. They were big shots. I was getting a little worried.

We're coming along, said Pardon. We still have three football players (Linderman, Anderson and Dustin Nicolette) getting into basketball shape. When they do, we'll be in it for a playoff spot.

ROSEBURG (43) -- Coen 0, Holt 0, Anderson 12, Linderman 9, Moss 3, Sarcona 1, Gonzales 9, Christenson 9. Totals: 15-42 6-10 43.

NORTH MEDFORD (52) -- Pickrel 0, Oliver 0, McNeil 5, Zimmer 13, Husel 11, Jensen 0, Brownell 6, Hinkle 4, Jantzer 11, Casebier 2. Totals: 21-48 8-16 52.

Roseburg ..............7 5 13 18 -- 43. North Medford .....15 10 8 19 -- 52.

3-point goals: North Medford 2 (Husel 1, Zimmer 1). Roseburg 4 (Linderman 2, Gonzales 1, Anderson 1).

JV score -- North Medford 52, Roseburg 47.

North Medford's Charlie Jensen, right, fights to keep possession against Roseburg's Brad Coen in the second quarter. - By RANDY HAMMERICKSEN