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North overwhelms GP

It hardly seems fair that a team as talented as North Medford also goes full-throttle when it comes to making hustle plays, but that's exactly what Grants Pass was faced with Friday night at North Medford High.

The Black Tornado, ranked No. 6 in the Class 6A boys basketball coaches' poll, relentlessly pounded the offensive glass for second-chance points and hounded the Cavemen on defense to score a convincing 80-48 Southwest Conference victory.

Jordan Ellis led five North Medford players in double figures with 17 points and the Tornado used a 27-5 run midway through the contest to pull away from Grants Pass and remain undefeated on the season at 10-0 overall and 2-0 in SWC play.

The determined effort was a must by the Tornado, according to Ellis, considering cross-town rival South Medford is next up at 7 p.m. Tuesday at North Medford High.

"We knew we can't lose a game and lose momentum before South," said Ellis, who also had six rebounds and two assists. "We're trying to play our best game for them and they're what we're focusing in on right now. Hopefully we can come back to practice (today) and play hard and get ready for the Panthers."

North would be hard-pressed to play with more effort than Friday night, although the Tornado could improve on being more efficient. Second-chance baskets became necessary thanks to a 9-for-36 showing from beyond the arc. The Tornado finished 30-for-70 overall from the field.

Riley Shipley, Matt Maurer, Ellis, Josh Pecktol and Kirii Ross were pivotal in crashing the boards for North to help offset a game effort by the Cavemen (5-5, 0-2 SWC), especially in the opening 12 minutes.

Shipley finished with eight rebounds, while Ross added seven and Pecktol and Maurer had four apiece.

"We didn't do a very good job blocking them out all night," said GP coach Scott Gottula. "They're strong young men and they go to the offensive glass hard. It's not enough to just stand in front of them and think coach I'm in blockout position. You have to ram them out of there because, if you don't, they're too athletic and they're going to go over you."

Shipley was especially effective on the offensive glass, scoring three rebound baskets in the first quarter alone to finish with 10 points overall.

Pecktol added 14 points and was a defensive stalwart with six of North's 12 steals, while Maurer scored 11 points and Tanner Borg came off the bench to drain four 3-pointers for 12 points.

In all, nine North Medford players reached the scoring column and 10 players pulled down at least one rebound.

That depth paid off toward the end of the second quarter as the Tornado turned up the defensive pressure and used a 10-2 surge over the final two minutes to take a 47-29 lead into halftime. North managed a steal or forced a turnover during a string of six straight possessions at one point.

"We changed things up and went to some full-court pressure and turned up the heat a little bit there and it was successful," said Plankenhorn. "That was a nice run to finish the half with those last two minutes."

It only got better for North in the third quarter. John Tardieu's inside basket opened the scoring in the second half for GP, but the Cavemen would end up managing only one other free throw in the frame.

"As a whole we did not execute some things and against a team the caliber of North Medford, you have to," said Gottula. "If you take a play off, you're giving up a layin. You take a blockout off, you're giving up a layin. We just found ourselves in a little bit of a hole."

The Tornado countered with 17 combined points from Pecktol, Ellis and Borg to take a comfortable 64-32 lead into the fourth quarter — the final points coming in emphatic fashion after a breakaway steal and dunk by Pecktol at the buzzer.

Ronnie Fields scored five of his team-leading 10 points in the fourth quarter for the Cavemen, while David Connelly had all eight of his points in a first quarter-surge for GP. Bryce Davidson also added eight points and eight rebounds for the Cavemen, who committed 22 turnovers compared to only 10 by North.

GRANTS PASS (48) — Fields 10, Connelly 8, Davidson 8, Romick 7, Nottingham 6, Schrader 3, Tardieu 2, Griggs 2, Johnson 2, VanBuskirk 0. Totals: 20-60 4-10 48.

NORTH MEDFORD (80) — Ellis 17, Pecktol 14, Borg 12, Maurer 11, Shipley 10, Ross 6, Clark 4, Formolo 3, Waits 3, Faust 0, Levos 0, Bradshaw 0. Totals: 30-70 11-15 80.

Grants Pass 14 15 3 16 — 48

North Medford 20 27 17 16 — 80

3-point goals — Grants Pass 4-15 (Connelly 2, Fields 1, Schrader 1), North Medford 9-36 (Borg 4, Ellis 3, Maurer 2).

JV score — Grants Pass 62, North Medford 52.

Reach reporter Kris Henry at 776-4488, or e-mail khenry@mailtribune.com

North Medford's Riley Shipley, top, and Grants Pass' Ronnie Fields battle for a loose ball during the third quarter of Friday's SWC game. - Jamie Lusch