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Ashland boys fight back, lose at buzzer to Marist

Midwestern League boys basketball rivals Ashland and Marist gave fans a thrilling preview of the conference season to come in the final day of the Crescent Valley tournament in Corvallis on Tuesday.

Ashland fought its way back from a 20-point second-half deficit to take a three-point lead with about a minute-and-a-half to go, fell behind again, then missed two potential game-winning 3-point attempts in the waning seconds as Marist prevailed 50-48 at Crescent Valley High School.

Marist and Ashland won’t play each other again until they meet in a league game in Eugene on Jan. 29.

“We executed really well down the stretch, made some good shots and had some huge stops,” Ashland head coach Sam Osofsky said. “They just matched us with the big shots and we had the one that didn’t fall in the end.”

Down 15 at the half and 20 midway through the third quarter, the Grizzlies (3-4) scratched and clawed their way back behind some hot shooting and scrappy, full-court defense. Four Grizzlies hit one 3 each as Ashland outscored Marist 20-9 in the third to get back in the game.

In the fourth, Ashland’s comeback reached epic proportions when Walker Shibley, who scored eight points and was one of five Grizzlies with seven points or more, nailed a tie-breaking 3 with about 90 seconds to go. The Spartans (2-5) answered immediately with a game-tying 3 by Jace Krier.

The Spartans reclaimed the lead when they stole an inbounds pass and scored on a rebound putback.

Osofsky drew up a play to get Shibley an open look at a 3 for the win and the Grizzlies executed it perfectly, but Shibley’s shot rimmed out. Ashland’s McKane Ellis snared the rebound and passed to Stenley Graham for another 3-point attempt, which missed at the buzzer.

“It’s never ideal to play a league opponent (in the preseason),” Osofsky said. “You hope for those matchups to be avoided, but we definitely executed some things.”

Malik Pippa led the Grizzlies with 11 points, Peyton Fuller added nine and Ethan Jones and Mel Elshalom seven apiece. Defensively, Elshalom and Graham led Ashland’s comeback charge by causing turnovers out of the Grizzlies’ full-court press, and the 6-foot-2 Jones was tasked with guarding Marist’s 6-foot-10 post Spencer Hoffman.

“(Jones) just absolutely battled,” Osofsky said.

Hoffman scored 15 and Stephen Collins 11 to lead the Spartans, who snapped a three-game losing streak.

The Grizzlies are off until they face undefeated South Medford, the third-ranked Class 6A team in the state, on Monday in the first round of the Abby’s Holiday Tournament at South Medford High.

MARIST (50) – Gittins 6, Krier 6, Kirk 1, Fulton 2, Collins 11, Gray 9, Hoffman 15, Swan 0, Olmos 0. Totals: 17 9-11 50.

ASHLAND (48) – Jones 7, Shibley 8, Fuller 9, Ellis 6, Pippa 11, Elshalom 7, Graham 0, Hansen 0. Totals: 16 10-18 48.

Marist 17 15 9 7 – 50

Ashland 6 11 20 11 – 48

3-point goals – Marist 7 (Collins 3, Gittins 2, Krier 2), Ashland 6 (Pippa 2, Shibley 2, Jones 1, Fuller 1). Fouled out – Jones.

Girls Basketball

At Corvallis, sophomore Alex Crane scored eight points but no other Grizzly scored more than four as Wilsonville beat Ashland 47-17 in the Crescent Valley tournament on Tuesday.

Mya Elder-Hammond added four points for the Grizzlies (2-7), who fell behind 28-7 at the half.

Karlin McNiel scored 10 points to lead Wilsonville (2-4).

ASHLAND (17) – Voskes 0, Winner 2, Altig 0, Richardson 1, Crane 8, Miller 0, Hayes 0, O’Connor 2, Elder-Hammond 4, Kolar 0. Totals: 7 3-11 17.

WILSONVILLE (47) – Morris 2, Kimball 8, Burke 4, Welberg 0, Bynum 8, Classen 3, McNiel 10, Trese 6, Pritchett 4, Rowan 2. Totals: 19 5-13 47.

Ashland 3 4 6 4 – 17

Wilsonville 13 15 11 8 – 47

3-point goals – Wilsonville 3 (Kimball 1, Classen 1, McNiel 1).