Late lull costs North in quarterfinals
PORTLAND — The opportunity was there but North Medford just couldn’t seize it Wednesday night in the final quarterfinal game at the Class 6A boys basketball state tournament here at the Chiles Center.
The Black Tornado, seeded seventh for the tourney, fought back-and-forth with second-seeded Central Catholic for three quarters to set up a winner-take-all final eight minutes.
Over the next 4½ minutes, however, everything just slipped away for upset-minded North Medford, which was seeking its fourth trip to the state semifinals since 2008. Central Catholic used a 9-0 run to open the fourth quarter and break a 34-all tie en route to a 52-44 victory.
“We just couldn’t get any buckets to drop,” said North Medford senior Tristen Holmes of the game-turning drought. “It’s pretty hard to win a game against a really good team when you can’t make shots, but it’s all good.”
The Black Tornado (22-5) had offered up an answer all night for the Rams (23-4) until that stretch, despite one of its worst long-range shooting nights of the season. Holmes led the charge with 20 points on 7-for-13 shooting to go with seven rebounds, while junior Brian Schireman added eight points.
“We played really good and then I don’t know what happened,” added Holmes. “We let down the pressure a little bit, they got buckets and got some energy and kept up their defensive effort and we kind of let down. That’s just what happens sometimes.”
North Medford will look to keep its state tournament alive when it plays Lakeridge in the consolation semifinals at 10:45 a.m. this morning in an elimination game. The Pacers lost 66-40 to Jesuit earlier Wednesday.
The fact that the Black Tornado even had a chance of reaching the semifinals seemed highly unlikely as 3-point shot after 3-point shot missed its mark against the Rams’ aggressive defense. North Medford finished 1-for-15 from beyond the arc, with the lone trey coming from Holmes with three minutes to go in the third quarter to put his team up 32-27.
“We were just competing,” Holmes said of battling the adversity of a cold long-range night. “We know that we can win a game without making 3s. That’s obviously a big part of our game but we still believe that we can win anyway, but tonight it just didn’t happen for us.”
Central Catholic (23-4) got 15 points and six rebounds from junior La’Mar Winston and 12 apiece by Xavier Hallinan and Ben College. The Rams, who will face Jesuit in Friday’s semifinals, outrebounded North Medford 29-15 and those second-chance points proved pivotal in helping stay with a Tornado team that was energetic and patient from the start.
Central Catholic used a 9-2 run to close the first quarter for a 13-12 lead but North Medford tied things up by halftime. Schireman’s steal and layup with 30 seconds to go was answered by a putback from 6-foot-5 junior Austin Rose in the final seconds of the third quarter to force a 34-all tie.
Jared Faust, Edmund Polataivao and Tyren Wolfe each scored all four of their points in the first half for North Medford, which was 10-for-19 from the field in the opening 16 minutes (53 percent) but only 8-for-21 in the second half (38 percent).
“We’ll get some rest and come back in the morning with the same energy that we had today and hopefully get the win this time,” Holmes said of the quick turnaround.
NORTH MEDFORD (22-5)
Tristen Holmes 7-13 5-8 20, Brian Schireman 4-11 0-0 8, Tyren Wolfe 2-3 0-0 4, Jared Faust 1-2 2-2 4, Edmund Polataivao 2-3 0-0 4, Karter Dixon 1-3 0-0 2, Tucker Barry 1-3 0-0 2, Alex Brothers 0-0 0-0 0, Jack Singleton 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 18-40 7-10 44.
CENTRAL CATHOLIC (23-4)
La'Mar Winston 5-8 5-11 15, Xavier Hallinan 4-10 4-4 12, Ben College 4-9 2-2 12, Austin Rose 3-4 2-3 8, John Paine 1-1 1-2 3, Patrick Myers 0-2 2-2 2, Shawn Carson 0-0 0-0 0, DeAndre Smith 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 17-35 16-24 52.
3-point goals — North Medford 1-15 (Tristen Holmes 1-2, Brian Schireman 0-6, Tyren Wolfe 0-1, Karter Dixon 0-2, Tucker Barry 0-2, Jack Singleton 0-2), Central Catholic 2-7 (Ben College 2-5, Xavier Hallinan 0-1, DeAndre Smith 0-1). Rebounds — North Medford 15 (Tristen Holmes 7), Central Catholic 29 (La'Mar Winston 6). Assists — North Medford 1 (Tristen Holmes 1), Central Catholic 6 (La'Mar Winston 3). Total fouls — North Medford 17, Central Catholic 13.
Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, email@example.com, www.facebook.com/krishenryMT or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry