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North sinks Mountain View

It was a game a more inexperienced North Medford boys basketball team might have lost in recent years.

But on Saturday, with its slim lead still in question and visiting Mountain View willing to battle until the end, a seasoned Black Tornado squad showed poise by calmly sinking free throw after free throw to seal a 61-52 victory at North Medford High.

In all, North Medford drilled 16 of 20 from the foul line in the fourth quarter and held off every run the Bend school could throw its way.

"I think winning a game like this is a step in the right direction," said second-year North coach Scott Plankenhorn, whose team lost 83-63 to Mountain View last season. "I don't think we played our best, but we still found a way to win. I don't know if this team was capable of doing that last season."

Junior Josh Pecktol scored a team-high 19 points and used every inch of his 6-foot-2 frame to help North Medford (2-1) outrebound the much taller Cougars, 35-23.

Pecktol, senior 6-1 post Tylor Waldron and senior 6-6 wing Danny Berger each had seven boards against a Cougars team that boasted two 6-7 players in its starting lineup.

"You gotta work hard to get position and box out," said Pecktol. "We're not the tallest team, but I think our quickness is what does it for us."

Berger also had 15 points, and senior point guard Michael Williams added 13 points and three assists.

Mountain View (1-4) did not lead after a 2-0 advantage in the opening minutes but stayed within single digits for most of the game until the final period.

"Offensive rebounding and we didn't take care of the ball — that was the difference," said Cougars' coach Craig Reid. "We played a lot of zone (defense), and that didn't put us in good position to get a body on somebody."

"We couldn't get any momentum going," added Reid. "They shoot 20 free throws in the fourth quarter and we shoot one. That doesn't help, but that's something the kids have to fight through."

Senior 6-7 post Sean Dart managed 19 points against the Tornado, with 13 coming in the second half.

Dart, who scored 17 in a 75-50 loss to South Medford on Friday, ran into trouble on the low block against North Medford's man-to-man defense.

"Tylor Waldron did a really good job on him," said Plankehorn. "And I thought (6-4 sophomore post) Cameron Gentry gave us four or five solid minutes on him. We don't have the height they do, but those kids really played hard."

Mountain View committed 10 of its 18 turnovers in the opening half to help the Black Tornado.

After trailing for much of the first quarter, the Cougars used a 9-2 run to knot the score at 19-all with 2:43 left in the half.

Berger nailed a mid-range jumper to push North ahead and, following a pair of free throws from Mountain View's Taylor Coduti, Waldron cleaned up a Tornado miss with two of his six first-half points to give North Medford a 23-21 lead at intermission.

The two teams traded baskets early in the third period before an Ellis layup — the only field goal by the Tornado's leading — and a 3-pointer from Williams gave North a 32-25 lead with three minutes gone.

Mountain View's Ryan Jacobson was hit with the first of two Cougar technical fouls that helped pad the North advantage, and Williams buried a long jump shot as time was winding down to give North an eight-point lead heading into the final stanza.

A 3-pointer by Brady Brent brought Mountain View to within 47-42 with 5:02 to play, but the Cougars got no closer.

Ellis, who labored through a 1-for-10 shooting performance, hit 6 of 7 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter, while Williams (4-for-4) and Berger (5-for-8) were also part of the parade to the foul line that put away the game.

The win moved the Black Tornado above the .500 mark for the first time since the 2003-04 season.

"We realized that last year we didn't come back and win games like this," said Pecktol. "We wanted to improve and change that. Now we want to keep plugging away in the second half and finish strong. That's what we did today."

MOUNTAIN VIEW (52) — Cashman 15, Coduti 2, Mitchell 0, Ashbaugh 4, Zapata 0, Jacobson 0, Kuhn 0, Thompson 2, Brent 9, Dart 19, Ridling 1. Totals: 19-44 13-14 52.

NORTH MEDFORD (61) — McLemore 0, Williams 13, Ellis 8, Pecktol 19, Berger 15, Hutley 0, Barlow 0, Waldron 6, Budavari-Jasper 0, Maurer 0, Gentry 0. Totals: 20-53 19-26 61.

Mountain View 10 11 14 17 —52

North Medford 17 6 20 18 —61

3-point goals — Mountain View 1 (Cashman 1), North Medford 2 (Berger 1, Williams 1). Fouled out — Jacobson, Cashman. Technical fouls — Jacobson, Mountain View coach Reid.

JV score — North Medford 50, Mountain View 36.

Reach reporter Kevin Goff at 776-4483, or e-mail kgoff@mailtribune.com

Danny Berger pushes the ball up the floor.