Levos, Black Tornado shoot by Rex Putnam
At 6-foot-7, North Medford post Michael Levos doesn't need a lot of help to get his shot off from the outside.
Somebody should have told Rex Putnam.
The senior left-hander drilled four third-quarter 3-pointers, extending a five-point halftime edge to 16 going into the fourth en route to a 76-47 opening-round win in the Abby's Holiday Classic at North Medford High on Monday.
The Tornado (5-3) has a 6 p.m. date today at South Medford High School with Churchill, which dropped West Salem in another first-round matchup, in the first of two semifinal matchups.
Levos was relatively quiet in the first half with one triple, but knocked down four straight 3-point attempts — all from almost the same spot on the left wing, and all mostly unguarded — in a four-minute stretch to give the Tornado its biggest lead of the game at 51-33 with two minutes left in the third.
"I was feeling pretty good there for a while," Levos said. "There was a reason I was open, though; my teammates were setting really good screens for me. As a shooter, you have to keep shooting if you're hot, so I was just letting it go and thankfully they were falling tonight."
North Medford coach Scott Plankenhorn said he wasn't surprised by Levos' effort, which also included seven rebounds.
"I told (former North Medford standout) Danny Berger when he set the 3-point record here that it wasn't going to last very long because of what we were seeing from Michael in practice," Plankenhorn said. "It's taken him a while to come into his own, but he's got a great stroke and we're starting to see what we knew he could do."
North Medford's other lefty post, 6-foot-6 senior Kyle Waits, carried most of the load in the first-half with 12 points. He missed a double-double by one rebound for the game, finishing with 13 points and nine boards.
Both teams looked sloppy out of the gate, and Putnam aided the Tornado with six first-quarter turnovers but still held a 16-14 edge at the end of the frame.
Trailing 24-20, the Tornado took advantage of two more Putnam turnovers for a Matt Maurer layup off a feed from guard Sean Phillips and then a Phillips 3. Levos followed with his first triple to give North a four-point advantage which was pushed to 34-29 by halftime.
"I felt like it took a while for us to get settled on defense in the first half," Plankenhorn said. "But once we got a little more comfortable, we started getting easy baskets and really settling down on the offensive end, too."
Maurer was largely responsible for settling down his team on offense while taking over at point guard, and provided a spark on the defensive end with four steals. Derek Mautz came off the bench to chip in six assists.
North went 10-for-19 from 3-point land collectively, and senior Michael Bradshaw made all of his 3s in the fourth quarter.
"We have plenty of capable guys from outside, and it certainly helps when you're executing and getting open looks," Plankenhorn added. "It looks like we're starting to get more comfortable offensively, so hopefully this carries over because Churchill is going to be a very quality team."
North was also dominant on the inside, outrebounding their opponent 40-29.
Putnam (2-6) was limited to 18-for-49 shooting and finished with 16 turnovers. Cole Rogers led the Kingsmen with 12 points, all on 3s.
It was the third-straight win for North, which is also gunning for its third-straight Abby's Classic championship.
"We're starting to believe and trust in each other a little bit, and it's showing on the court" Levos said. "We know this is a team that can beat pretty much any team if we're playing good basketball, and tonight was definitely a good step."
REX PUTNAM (47) — Rogers 12, Mallory 10, Sherier 8, Helgerson 6, D'Auvergne 4, Rachovskyy 2, Ryan 2, Sayaseng 2. Totals: 18-49 6-12 47.
NORTH MEDFORD (76) — Levos 19, Waits 13, Bradshaw 11, Mautz 7, Maurer 6, Brown-Moore 6, Knox 6, Phillips 5, Ellis 0, Garfas 0. Totals: 29-60 8-13 76.
Rex Putnam 16 13 6 12 —47
North Medford 14 20 17 25—76
3-point goals — Rex Putnam 7 (Rogers 4, Sayaseng 1, Rachovskyy 1, D'Auvergne 1), North Medford 10 (Levos 5, Bradshaw 3, Mautz 1, Phillips 1).
CHURCHILL 48, WEST SALEM 46 — At North Medford High, Tyler Huddleston scored the winning layup with three seconds remaining, propelling Churchill to a victory at the Abby's Holiday Classic.
Huddleston, Churchill's leading scorer with 15 points, capitalized on a West Salem turnover, streaking to the other end of the court to break the 46-all tie.
Jameel Tolbert led West Salem with 13 points.
CHURCHILL (48) — Overman 13, Orduno 2, Graham 2, Savelich 6, McFadden 3, Johnson 5, Huddleston 15, Janelli 0, Bennion 2. Totals: 17-41 11-15 48.
WEST SALEM (46) — Alderman 3, Tolley 4, Faber 4, Roth 4, Gorman 0, Land-Adams 10, Juarez 0, Garthwaite 8, Rabago 0, Tolbert 13. Totals: 19 5-6 46.
Churchill 16 11 10 11 — 48
West Salem 15 9 16 6 — 46
3-point goals — Churchill 3 (Overman 2, Savelich 1), West Salem 1 (Alderman).