Jesuit flies by North
Usually when one of your best players is forced to the bench midway through the first quarter, that’s not a good situation.
For second-ranked Jesuit, that’s about the time when things began to click against No. 4 North Medford and turned the tide in a premier nonconference boys basketball game at North Medford High.
With 6-foot-3 senior guard Malcolm Porter saddled with two fouls four minutes into Friday’s affair, junior point guard Cameron Parker took over for Jesuit and ultimately initiated an 18-0 run that helped lead the visiting Crusaders to a runaway 79-57 road victory.
The 6-2 Parker scored 16 of his 22 points and had five of his six assists in the first half to help Jesuit shake off a 14-8 deficit and put North Medford on its heels.
“He was huge when Malcolm got in foul trouble,” said Jesuit head coach Gene Potter, whose only other trip to Medford came in 2008 when his team lost at North with a state tournament berth on the line. “That’s a luxury, obviously, that we’re going to have as long as they stay healthy all year is that we’ve got two guys that are pretty tough off the bounce and can handle pressure. Cam really stepped up when Malcolm had to come out.”
Porter, son of former NBA star Terry Porter, returned in the second half to score 11 of his 15 points to join junior teammate Chuka Mekkam (15 points) and Parker in double figures for Jesuit (2-0).
North Medford (2-1) couldn’t have asked for a better start as senior guard Brian Schireman opened the game with a 3-pointer and some great two-man play between senior Tyren Wolfe and junior Brad Allen led to an early 9-6 advantage.
Unfortunately for the Tornado, Wolfe fell prey to the same early foul trouble that landed Porter on the bench after scoring his sixth straight point midway through the quarter.
North Medford, however, didn’t have the same kind of success with Wolfe, who wound up scoring a team-high 20 points, on the bench.
After five straight points by junior Tre Holmes, who finished with 15 points and five rebounds, North Medford built its largest lead at 14-8, but it was short-lived thanks to Parker and company. Two assists by Parker on Matthew Kollas baskets were followed by successive drives to the basket for layins by the smooth lefty and suddenly the Crusaders were on top 17-14 and with all the momentum.
“We came out hot and then I think we just kinda stopped playing defense and they started making shots and we started missing them,” said Wolfe. “Then it just kind of went downhill from there.”
That 9-0 run to close the first quarter was duplicated to open the second quarter as Jesuit ultimately wound up scoring on eight straight possessions while North Medford went scoreless in as many trips on 0-for-9 shooting.
“Some of those possessions were turnovers leading to easy baskets and other ones were just bad, bad shots that led to transition baskets,” said North Medford head coach Scott Plankenhorn. “What I told them is sometimes your defense can be OK but your offense can cause your defense to look pretty bad, and I thought that’s what happened tonight.”
“We took a lot of bad shots and got ourselves in really bad situations and didn’t make the good decision,” added Plankenhorn, “and that affected ourselves on the other end to where we couldn’t get back and get people locked in the way we wanted it to be. They’re a really good basketball team and they made us pay.”
Jesuit was never really threatened in the second half, opening as much as a 25-point advantage early in the fourth quarter. The Crusaders, who face No. 9 South Medford at 1:30 p.m. today, also got seven points and five rebounds from Matthew Hickman and nine points from Kollas to help combat the team’s slow start.
“We were just real stagnant,” Potter said of his team early on Friday. “We lost three important seniors last year that really made our offense click. Obviously we’ve got some guys that can make plays, but we’ve just got to figure out exactly how to get into things a little bit quicker and not look at each other like, ‘What are you gonna do, what are you gonna do?’ and actually get some flow early in the game.”
For North Medford, which hosts Sunset at 12:45 p.m. today, senior Tucker Barry had eight points and sophomore Kaison Faust finished with five points and six rebounds.
“Obviously I’m not happy at all with what we did,” said Plankenhorn, “but it is December.”
A big factor in the rare road trip for Jesuit, according to Potter, was to make sure he and his team had the chance to play at South Medford before head coach Dennis Murphy retires. A conversation at the state tournament between the longtime coaches set the wheels in motion a couple years ago, with the Medford teams — plus Wilson last year and Sunset this year — setting up home-and-home dates for last season and this season.
Jesuit swept the Medford teams at home last year, winning 66-55 over North and 60-41 over South.
JESUIT (79): Parker 22, Mekkam 15, Porter 15, Kollas 9, Hickman 7, Lang 5, Kalafatis 4, Dalebroux 2, Turina 0, Lang 0, Handley 0, Wall 0. Totals: 30-51 14-19 79.
NORTH MEDFORD (57): Wolfe 20, Holmes 15, Barry 8, Schireman 5, Faust 5, Allen 2, Hunter 2, Lasota 0, Brothers 0, Franklin 0, Davis 0. Totals: 21-52 11-13 57.
3-point goals — Jesuit 5-15 (Porter 1, Mekkam 1, Hickman 1, Kollas 1, Lang 1), North Medford 4-15 (Wolfe 2, Schireman 1, Holmes 1).
JV score — Jesuit 51, North Medford 37.
Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, email@example.com, www.facebook.com/krishenryMT or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry