South Medford freshman Ula Chamberlin was a student at Ashland’s Bellview Elementary in 2010.
The 15-year-old Chamberlin did her research before Tuesday’s Southwest Conference opener against Sheldon, learning that the Panthers owned 64 straight league victories dating back to Feb. 17, 2010.
More than anything else, she wanted to keep that streak alive.
“We haven’t lost any conference games in five straight years, so it’s really big to us,” she said.
Chamberlin erupted for a career-high 28 points, senior Jasmin Falls dominated the paint with 23 points and 11 rebounds and fourth-ranked South defeated the No. 7 Irish, 86-70, for the program’s 65th consecutive conference triumph at South Medford High.
The Panthers (8-3) overcame several challenges along the way.
There seemed to be no answer for Sheldon senior Autumn Baumgartner, who went off for 36 points. The Georgetown commit finished with 27 first-half points, scorching South for 20 points in the second quarter alone.
Baumgartner presented enough of a conundrum, but adding to the Panthers’ troubles was the fact that starter Julissa Tago had four fouls pinned on her in the second period.
The game was tied at 44 entering halftime.
“It was frustrating,” South head coach Tom Cole said. “We made enough errors on defense that not only did (Baumgartner) score buckets but she put one of our top kids in foul trouble. It disrupted everything we were doing.”
But South’s second-half act was a thing of beauty, Cole said, showing resilience and heart.
Baumgartner finished the game a cold 10 of 32 from the floor as the Panthers mixed up their defense with some 2-3 zone and 1-2-2 zone.
And with the University of Hawaii-bound Tago sitting out all of the third quarter with the foul trouble, Chamberlin went to work. She poured in 10 points in the third and 11 in the fourth, finishing 9 of 14 from the floor and 6 of 6 from the free-throw line.
Chamberlin canned four 3-pointers, including one at the end of the third that rattled around and popped in.
South outscored Sheldon (7-5), 20-11, in the third.
“I just really wanted to beat Sheldon and not lose a conference game,” said Chamberlin, who is a starter. “We all worked together as a team.”
Meanwhile, Falls was a steady force throughout, drawing in defenders and setting up open shots.
“I am so proud of everyone’s effort together,” Falls said. “That just proves who we are as a team. Everyone contributed.”
Said Sheldon head coach Brian Brancato of Falls: “We couldn’t stop Jasmin on the block.”
Cole gave special credit to Chamberlin and Falls, plus props for the effort from the squad’s only bench players: Jonnay Foote and Jeryka Johnson.
Foote knocked down a 3 and had a diving steal and assist, while Johnson’s only bucket came at a pivotal point in the tilt.
“I just thought those two pumped some energy into us,” Cole said. “I was proud of those kids.”
The Panthers led 64-55 entering the final frame.
Tago ended up with 12 points, Hannah Washington eight points, 10 rebounds and six assists and Lauren Orndoff eight points and five assists.
“We needed to take advantage of (Tago’s foul trouble) and we didn’t,” Brancato said.
Both teams finished 19 of 22 at the foul line. South earned a 30-21 rebounding edge.
SHELDON (70): Barclay 3, Winkler 0, Anderson 18, Miller 0, Hanson 3, Morosky 2, Baumgartner 36, Reinen 0, Green-Brooks 8. Totals: 21 19-22 70.
SOUTH MEDFORD (86): Chamberlin 28, Johnson 2, Orndoff 8, Foote 5, Falls 23, Tago 12, Washington 8. Totals: 31 19-22 86.
3-point goals — Sheldon 9 (Baumgartner 5, Anderson 2, Barclay 1, Green-Brooks 1), South Medford 5 (Chamberlin 4, Foote 1). Fouled out — Baumgartner.
JV result — Sheldon won.
Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or email email@example.com. Find him online at twitter.com/danjonesmt