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North makes state-ment

Redmond threw what it could at North Medford in an attempt at slowing down the Black Tornado's up-tempo attack.

The young Panthers applied a box-and-one defense, a zone look, a man-to-man defense and eventually a full-court press while trying to rattle North.

The seventh-ranked Tornado, however, was on a mission and would not be denied.

Southwest Conference-champion North Medford ran out to a 19-7 lead after the first quarter and a 33-11 advantage at the half en route to a 48-29 victory in a Class 6A girls second-round state-playoff game at the Black Tornado gym.

The prize for North is a berth in the eight-team 6A state tournament at the Chiles Center on the University of Portland. The Tornado will open the three-day event against third-ranked Oregon City, a 56-51 winner over Jesuit Saturday, in a quarterfinal contest on Thursday at 3:15 p.m.

The state tournament berth is the first for North Medford since 2005 and only the second since 1997.

"We're going to state!" said an excited Whitney Hodnett, who, along with fellow senior Erica Schultz, was a freshman on North's last tournament squad. "It was cool to me when I was a freshman, but I didn't understand how hard it was to get there. The last four years we've worked really hard at getting back. Now I can appreciate how difficult getting there is."

Oregon City, a 10-time state champion, will provide a difficult test for North Medford, which went two-and-out at the tournament in '05.

"Our goal is to not just get there but to compete and try and win some games," said North Medford coach Tim Karrick. "We're not just satisfied making it there."

"All of us want to get as far as we can," Hodnett added. "If it's the state championship, then it's the state championship. As long as we play our hardest.

"If someone better than us beats us, then so be it."

The Black Tornado (22-5) used a familiar formula to fluster Redmond, which started two freshmen and a sophomore.

A run-and-jump, full-court press, led by the efforts of seniors Kellie Satterfield and Jana Parker, rattled the Panthers into numerous turnovers and limited them to only 29 field-goal attempts — 17 of those coming in the second half.

North, meanwhile, shot a scorching 14 of 24 (58 percent) from the field in the first half and committed just two turnovers in the opening 16 minutes.

"They were red-hot from all over the place," said Redmond coach Mike Osborne. "We knew they had six kids who could score on any given night. When you have that many weapons it's tough to stop just one person."

Saturday, that one person was Hodnett, who finished with a game-high 16 points. North's leading scorer Schultz, who was the recipient of Redmond's box-and-one defense early on, added 12 points.

Despite the extra attention, Schultz managed to score eight points in the opening half to help the Tornado pull away.

A Schultz putback made it 7-3 early, then another layin, followed by a Hodnett bucket and four more points from Schultz quickly pushed the lead to 15-5.

Redmond answered with a pair of free throws to make it 15-7 with 2:25 left in the first quarter from sophomore guard Rae Keener, but that was as close as the Panthers would get.

Sparked by a 3-pointer from sophomore point guard Karissa Dixon, North Medford opened the second quarter on a 10-2 run that put the game away.

"The key tonight was our defense," said Karrick. "I thought we did a good job with our press of creating turnovers and controlling the tempo. That first half we beat them up pretty good with our defense.

"The girls did a good job of setting the tone defensively and that turned into offense for us."

Redmond, the third seed from the Central Valley League, played without its second-leading scorer Bre Meulink, who has missed the postseason with mononucleosis.

Senior 6-foot post Bri King stepped up in her absence during the Panthers 50-47 first-round win over Gresham.

But against North, King had little room to roam.

King managed 13 points, with seven of those coming in the second half. She was the only Redmond player to score more than three points.

"Their defense is amazing," Osborne said. "Tonight, we lost to a better team, plain and simple.

"I wish them the best of luck at the tournament."

REDMOND (29) — Long 0, Wilcox 0, Kelley 3, Lott 2, Brock 2, Olkowski 2, Keener 2, King 13, Avery 3, Rodby 2. Totals: 11-29 5-9 29.

NORTH MEDFORD (48) — Gall 0, Schultz 12, Satterfield 0, Dixon 4, Hodnett 16, Dekorte 0, Parker 0, Kummer 3, Egge 5, Smith 2, Whitehead 0, Abeloe 6. Totals: 18-40 9-21 48.

Redmond 7 4 4 14 —29

North Medford 19 14 8 7 —48

3-point goals — Redmond 2 (Kelley 1, Avery 1), North Medford 3 (Hodnett 1, Dixon 1, Egge 1). Fouled out — Kelley.

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

North Medford’s McKenzie Smith (33) blocks a shot by Redmond’s Bri King during the first half of their Class 6A playoff game Saturday in the Black Tornado’s gym. - Jamie Lusch