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Harthun, South race past Beaverton

HILLSBORO — Top-ranked South Medford got standout performances from senior guard Michael Harthun and junior post E.J. Singler, but its 79-67 victory over Beaverton in the first round of the Les Schwab Invitational boys basketball tournament left plenty of room for improvement.

Harthun had 30 points, eight assists and five rebounds, while Singler added 25 points and six rebounds as the Panthers improved to 7-0 overall and advanced to a quarterfinal matchup with De La Salle of Concord, Calif., at 8:30 p.m. South shot 57 percent from the field (27 of 47) and made 21 of 25 free throws in the win.

The improvement is likely to come on defense, an area coach Dennis Murphy pointed at as a sore spot after watching the Beavers (3-5) hit 46 percent of their shots (25 of 54) and grab 13 offensive rebounds.

"We didn't show a lot of emotion in the game, especially the first half, and I wasn't very happy with that," Murphy said. "This is the first time a lot of these kids have played in a tournament of this caliber, so we're learning things about ourselves here. But, we've got to play harder, play better than we did today.

"We've got to show more passion than this to get where we want to go."

De La Salle, which has four starters back from a team that finished 28-3, beat Central Catholic 59-42 behind 18 points from 6-foot, junior point guard Brandon Smith. The Spartans shot 64 percent (25 of 39) from the field and had 19 assists — six from Smith.

South led for virtually the entire game, but couldn't shake the Beavers until the second half. Beaverton actually led 34-33 in the second quarter, but a 7-2 run gave the Panthers a 40-36 halftime lead.

South's uptempo attack opened the second half with an 8-3 run and the lead stayed around 10 the remainder of the game.

Senior wing Ryan Meehan led Beaverton with 29 points, hitting 11 of 24 shots and grabbing six rebounds. The loss didn't hurt the Beavers confidence, though, in the post-Love/Singler era.

"We've been playing some tough teams, so our record is deceptive," said Meehan, pointing out the Beavers have also lost to No. 2 Oregon City. "We think the state title is up for grabs and we're getting better all the time."

De La Salle coach Frank Allocco said matching Smith up against Harthun would be an interesting duel, especially with how aggressive Harthun plays on offense.

"He's definitely looking to create something all the time, hurt your team in a lot of different ways," Allocco said. "He's a very aggressive guard."

Harthun said he'll be especially interested in the defensive play of his team today.

"Offense is only half the game," he said. "I tried to do my part by taking a couple charges, but defense is a team effort. We'll see what happens.

"Our goal is to get to the semifinals. And that's one more win to do that. But, every time you win, the games get harder."

SOUTH MEDFORD (79) — Michael Harthun 30, E.J. Singler 25, M. Singler 10, Haveman 5, Kezer 4, Walport 4, Boyd 1, Conner, Aguirre, Work, Phillips.

BEAVERTON (67) — Ryan Meehan 29, Dufresne 10, Rier 10, Gambee 7, Noonan 6, Madpherson 2, Fitzpatrick 2, Liggins 1, Krichevsky, Rudolph.

South Medford 21 19 20 19 — 79

Beaverton 17 19 17 14 — 67