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Ashland stuffs North, to avenge only loss

Brenna Heater&

s first game against North Medford was a nightmare for the Ashland High freshman. Her second was a dream come true.

Heater scored 21 points, pulled down 11 rebounds and had three blocked shots before walking off to a standing ovation Friday night, as the Grizzlies avenged their only loss of the season with a 45-36 win over archrival North Medford in Southern Oregon Conference girls&

basketball action at Mountain Avenue Gym.

The win allowed first-place Ashland (18-1, 7-1 SOC) to retain its one-game lead over Crater, Grants Pass and Roseburg (all 6-2 SOC) in the league standings, while North Medford continued to slide, falling to 4-4 in league play. Ashland also tied the 1998-99 Grizzlies for the most wins in team history.

&

The whole team has grown a lot since that first game (against North),&

Ashland head coach Ken Lathen said.

In other SOC girls&

basketball action Friday, Grants Pass beat Klamath Union 60-39, Roseburg hammered Eagle Point 75-33 and Crater topped South Medford 47-30.

Ashland used a ferocious full-court press to rattle the Black Tornado early and jump out to a 15-7 lead after one, but North fought back to take the lead and trailed by just four midway through the third quarter.

Heater took over from there, scoring eight straight for the Grizzlies, including an inside bucket with 6:53 left in the game that gave Ashland a 36-26 lead. North&

s 6-0 run made it close again, but Ashland&

s Josi McDermott came right back with a three-point play with 4:10 to go and the Tornado never inched closer than six points again.

&

It was a really big win and I think this just puts us ahead with confidence,&

McDermott said. &

I don&

t think we&

re peaking, I just think we&

re getting more consistent, which is what we need right now for midseason.&

McDermott, a junior wing, scored 11 points and had four steals, senior post Danielle Thompson had four points and six rebounds and senior forward Bailey Hasty added four steals for the Grizzlies, who&

s frantic, high-pressure defense generated 15 steals and six blocks.

North was paced by sophomore post Erica Schultz, who scored 16 points but was one of several North Medford players to struggle at the free throw line. North hit just 9 of 25 free throws three days after a 9-for-27 performance against Crater.

The Black Tornado defense kept the game close. North held Ashland to 13-for-37 from the floor and blanked the Grizzlies (0-for-2) from 3-point land.

Heater hit 8 of 12 field goals and was 5 of 6 from the free throw line. The performance was in stark contrast to her Jan. — game against North in which she picked up two early fouls and finished with just two points.

&

That (first game against North) was the most nervous game of my life,&

said Heater, who fouled out for the first time this season in the closing seconds. &

It&

s been a whole new experience. Being at home really helped.

&

I think everyone really played more mature in this game, too. We all pumped it up.&

North Medford (36) &

Barry 3, Schultz 16, Siebenlist 1, Hodnett 4, Hodnett 4, Berger 6, Ross 6. Totals: 13 9-25 36.

Ashland (45) &

Thompson 4, McDermott 11, Roupp 6, Sohl 1, Hasty 2, Heater 21. Totals: 13 19-28 45.

North Medford 7 14 5 10 &

36

Ashland 15 8 11 11 &

45

3-point goals &

North Medford — (Barry), Ashland 0.

Boys Basketball

At Medford, the banks were open, and Jordan Ellis made a deposit.

Ellis banked in a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 3.8 seconds left in overtime to give North Medford a wild, 41-40 victory over Ashland in Southern Oregon Conference boys basketball Friday.

After Sam Littleton made one of two free throws to give Ashland a 40-38 lead, the Black Tornado took over with 25 seconds remaining.

As the clock wound down, Ellis, a freshman, came off a screen, took a pass and fired from 22 feet.

&

I did run up to him and ask if he called that,&

said North coach Tim Sam. &

He said, &

145;Yeah.&

&

With no timeouts left, Ashland had only a launch from near half-court that missed the mark.

The Tornado improved 5-12, 2-5 in the SOC. Ashland is 8-10 and 2-5.

North Medford was playing catch-up from the get-go after scoring only two points in the first quarter and turning the ball over 15 times in the first half.

But a near-flawless second-half performance brought it back.

&

It beats the alternative,&

said Sam. &

It&

s amazing how much better one shot can make you feel. I was proud of how the kids battled back. It wasn&

t a real pretty game, and there wasn&

t a lot scoring But the kids battled back. That gave them a chance to win it, and they got it.&

North trailed 20-11 at halftime and 26-18 after three periods.

But it made up the difference in the fourth period by not turning the ball over once and forcing Ashland to give it up nine times in the period. The Grizzlies had 26 turnovers for the game.

&

That was about as bad a first quarter and as good a fourth quarter &

really, second half &

that we could have had,&

said Sam.

Freshman Josh Pecktol made a key three-point play in the fourth, and Eric Stroh showed nerves of steel by making both ends of a one-and-one free-throw situation to tie it with 1.8 seconds remaining in regulation at 31-31.

Ashland then scored the first six points of the extra period before the Tornado rallied.

Ellis led North with 11 points, four steals and three assists.

Ashland got 13 points from Josh Cornelius and 11 from Rory Blanche.

ASHLAND (40) &

Costantino 1, Blanche 11, Hartzell 2, Littleton 1, Reinstedt 9, Cornelius 13, Pittman 3, Ramos 0. Totals: 13-44 13-18 40.

NORTH MEDFORD (41) &

Ellis 11, Neel 5, Stefanson 0, Williams 4, Pecktol 5, E. Stroh 4, Eubank 2, Blaschka 0, Slowey 1, Theel 9. Totals: 14-46 7-13 41.

Ashland 7 13 6 5 9 &

40

North Medford 2 9 7 13 10 &

41

3-point goals &

Ashland 1-7 (Blanche 1), North Medford 6-18 (Ellis 3, Neel 1, Williams 1, Theel 1).

JV score &

Ashland 41, North Medford 36.