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Pirates shoot down Eagles

EAGLE POINT — For once, the free-throw line was finally kind to the Phoenix boys basketball team.

If the Pirates have struggled at all this season, their downfall could be traced to when they've been standing unguarded 15 feet away from the basket.

When it mattered most Saturday night, however, No. 5-ranked Phoenix finally found the right touch and staved off an energetic comeback attempt by Class 5A host Eagle Point.

The 4A Pirates were 9-for-15 from the foul line over the final 31/2 minutes — bolstered by an 8-for-11 showing by Alex Young — to maintain their advantage and close out the Eagles for a 78-69 victory.

"We always have trouble keeping a big lead but I think tonight we got composed and just finished the game off right to get the win," said Young.

For a while Saturday, the notion that the game would come down to making free throws couldn't have been more outlandish. The Pirates took a 50-27 lead into intermission thanks to a 25-9 run in the second quarter and 61 percent shooting for the first half (19-for-31).

The talented Phoenix tandem of juniors Young and Tyler Dungannon gave Eagle Point all it could handle in the nonconference showdown, each posting a dozen points in the opening 16 minutes. Young finished with 24 points, nine rebounds and six assists, while Dungannon was just as potent with 21 points, four assists and four steals.

"The first half we got off to a hot start and really the biggest thing is we stayed hot," added Dungannon.

Conversely, the Eagles lost the interior edge they showed in the first quarter and went scoreless over the final four minutes of the second quarter. Tyrone Holmes was a monster in the opening frame with 10 points, but the 6-foot-3 junior managed only two points on four shot attempts in a second quarter that was clearly dictated by the Pirates' full-court pressure.

"We thought going in that we were going to be able to (work the ball inside) and for whatever reason we got away from that piece in the second quarter," said EP head coach Brian Winter, whose front line includes 6-5 Logan Winter and 6-8 Zach Reed. "We also didn't take care of the basketball in that quarter and it just kind of unraveled from there. We didn't identify shooters and they shot the ball at incredible clips in the second quarter."

One player the Eagles failed to account for was junior reserve Calvin Loper, who was pressed into action when senior Alex Hobson got in early foul trouble. Loper splashed down a pair of 3-pointers in the second quarter and totaled eight points for the frame. He wound up scoring 13 points, including a pair of long-range shots from the left corner at opportune times in the second half.

"That was a dagger tonight," said coach Winter. "I watched him last night (against North Valley) and he didn't hit a shot. We certainly knew Dungannon and Alex Young and (Justin) Bohn and Hobson could shoot it fairly well, but he was really tough for them tonight."

That said, the Eagles were able to make a push in the second half by using their length to pound the offensive glass. They trimmed nearly half of their deficit with a 22-12 surge in the third quarter and closed within four points at 73-69 following a steal by Jonathan Bolston and thunderous dunk by Reed with 1:40 to go.

Eagle Point applied tight pressure to Young on the ensuing possession but Bolston wound up being tagged with his fifth foul and sent the Pirate to the foul line yet again. Young made only 1-of-2 shots, but Garrett Snow's subsequent 3-pointer missed its mark and found Young's waiting arms again.

Similar scenarios played out over the final minute, with the Eagles missing on long-range shots and Phoenix gathering in the rebound to set up constant trips to the free-throw line.

"We climbed the mountain but it was just too big," said coach Winter. "The kids, to their credit, they battled back and made a game of it."

Holmes finished with 18 points and six rebounds, while Winter added 20 points and 10 rebounds and Reed came on strong with 13 of his 17 points in the second half to complement nine rebounds and three blocked shots.

PHOENIX (78) — Young 24, Dungannon 21, Loper 13, Bohn 7, Hobson 7, Richardson 4, T. Keith 2, Brown 0. Totals: 28-55 14-20 78.

EAGLE POINT (69) — Winter 20, Holmes 18, Reed 17, Bolston 9, Snow 5, Chavez 0, Flores 0, Hartman 0. Totals: 27-60 12-15 69.

Phoenix 25 25 12 16 — 78

Eagle Point 18 9 22 20 — 69

3-point goals — Phoenix 8-17 (Loper 3, Young 2, Dungannon 2, Bohn 1), Eagle Point 3-14 (Bolston 1, Snow 1, Winter 1). Fouled out — Hobson, Bolston, Reed.

JV score — Phoenix 56, Eagle Point 53.

Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, or e-mail khenry@mailtribune.com. Follow him at twitter.com/Kris_Henry

Phoenix senior Justin Bohn, right, attempts to swat away the ball from the hands of Eagle Point's Logan Winter during the Pirates' nonconference win in Eagle Point Saturday. - Larry Stauth Jr.