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Panthers halt Tornado dominance

Years of frustration ended for a pair of South Medford senior guards on Tuesday night.

Sheena Barkley had 25 points and seven assists, and Brittney Newcomb added 18 points and six steals as the Panthers defeated rival North Medford for the first time since 2003 — a streak of 13 straight games — with a 78-46 victory at South Medford.

"They've been the program for girls basketball in Medford," Panthers coach Tom Cole said of North Medford. "We had seniors in this program who had never beaten North. They felt like it's their time to shine. Our goals are high, and it starts with being the best team in Medford.

The Panthers (7-6, 3-1 Southwest Conference) feasted on a young Black Tornado team riddled with injuries. South Medford's full-court pressure produced 23 steals and forced 28 total turnovers, 18 of those in the first half.

North Medford had five turnovers in the final three minutes of the second quarter, leading to a 16-0 South Medford run and a 47-17 lead at the half.

Newcomb had eight points in that stretch and Barkley single-handedly outscored North Medford in the first half with 19 points.

"It's been a long time since South actually beat North," Barkley said. "It gives us a lot of motivation. We know they've got a lot of hurt players, but we've got bigger players this year and more weapons than they do."

Junior guard Karissa Dixon led the Black Tornado (7-5, 1-3 SWC) with seven points. Junior post Tejay Schmidt had six points, and sophomore post Alyssa Maurer added five points, five rebounds and three steals.

North Medford was without senior guard/post McKenzie Smith (shoulder) and freshman guard Kendra Straub was limited with a hamstring injury. Senior guard Andrea Egge is out for the season with a knee injury and Dixon, North Medford's only available player with varsity experience, returned for her first game after missing the last week and a half with an illness.

It amounted to the Black Tornado's second lopsided loss. North Medford fell 47-14 to Grants Pass last Friday.

"We are just going through a period of time where we need to fight through this," North Medford coach Kevin Dixon said. "We are not going to feel sorry for ourselves. We are just going to find people who can step up. It's a learning experience."

South Medford, behind 11 from Barkley, took a 19-10 lead after one but outscored North Medford 28-7 in the second quarter. The Panthers hounded the Black Tornado for 10 turnovers in the period.

"Karissa (Dixon) wasn't up to full speed, and when she got into foul trouble, our senior guards were like sharks," Cole said. "They fed off the fact that there was a different level of confidence with the ball handlers at that time, and we were able to capitalize."

Sophomore forward Jamie Batten added 12 points for the Panthers, who outscored North Medford by one in the final two quarters with both teams unloading the benches.

The Panthers can finish the first round of conference play at 4-1 when they host Grants Pass on Friday. South Medford is searching for its first state playoff berth since the 2002 season.

"We are really confident," Barkley said. "We know we can win a lot of games."

The Panthers at least halted one haunting streak on Tuesday.

"The past years, we've always lost to them," Newcomb said of the Black Tornado. "This gives us a lot of confidence for the whole season. Most of our team is really young, but they've stepped up."

NORTH MEDFORD (46) — Straub 0, Schmidt 6, Masters 2, Maurer 5, Griffor 1, DeKorte 4, Sukraw 2, Allen 5, Black 2, Dixon 7, Britt 2, Webb 0, Bartley 4, Godfrey 2, Towe 4. Totals: 18 8-17 46.

SOUTH MEDFORD (78) — Becker 2, Carraway 4, Curtius 3, Newcomb 18, Barkley 25, Morris 4, Corona 2, T. Picknell 6, H. Picknell 2, Batten 12. Totals: 32 9-16 78.

North Medford 10 7 15 14 — 46

South Medford 19 28 16 15 — 78

3-point goals — North Medford 2 (Allen, Dixon), South Medford 5 (Barkley 3, Newcomb 2). Fouled — Morris.

JV result — North Medford won.

Reach reporter Luke Andrews at 776-4469, or e-mail landrews@mailtribune.com