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Quick start powers Panthers

RED BLUFF, Calif. — A quick start carried South Medford on Thursday to a convincing 87-53 victory over Paradise (Chico, Calif.) in its first game of the Red Bluff Holiday Classic.

Behind a pressure man-to-man defense, the Panthers (3-0) built a 30-9 lead after the first quarter and led 78-40 heading into the final quarter.

Senior guard Michael Harthun scored a game-high 23 points, junior post E.J. Singler added 20, and every Panther who entered the game also entered the scoring book.

"I thought we gave a good effort," South coach Dennis Murphy said. "We've always lived on our pressure defense. We got steals and turnovers and converted them to points."

"We scored a lot of easy buckets early on in transition," Murphy added. "When we are in transition, we are pretty good."

The only area of concern for Murphy was the free throw line. South was 17 of 29 from the charity stripe on Thursday.Junior wing Mitch Singler added nine points and gave a strong effort on the boards.

Jon Haskins led Paradise with 14 points.

The Panthers take on Pleasant Valley today at 5:30 p.m.

This is South's ninth trip to the eight-team Red Bluff Holiday Classic. The Panthers have reached the title game three times and won the championship in 2005, their last appearance.

SOUTH MEDFORD (87) — Aguirre 4, Duran-Chaparro 3, Harthun 23, Haveman 7, M. Singler 9, Kezer 4, E. Singler 20, Walport 2, Egan 4, Boyd 4, Work 5, Phillips 2. Totals 33 17-29 87.

PARADISE (53) — Alexander 1, McGregor 8, Sanchez 10, Piper 6, Prinz 5, Glass 6, Flesher 3, Haskins 14. Totals: 19 11-20 53.

South Medford 30 22 26 9 —87

Paradise 9 23 8 13 —53

3-point goals — South Medford 4 (Haveman 2, Duran-Chaparro 1, Work 1), Paradise 4 (Haskins 2, Sanchez 1, McGregor 1).