Julissa Tago had nine reasons to be so happy on Wednesday night.
To be precise, the South Medford senior had 9-0 reasons.
That, after all, is her personal record against crosstown rival North Medford.
The senior forward helped pick up that ninth victory as the fourth-ranked Panthers topped the Black Tornado, 71-54, during Southwest Conference girls basketball action at South Medford High.
Tago, who recorded 19 points and six assists, smiled with friends and posed for photographs afterward.
“It always feels good,” she said.
Freshman Ula Chamberlin had 21 points, five steals and four assists and senior Jasmin Falls had 17 points and 11 rebounds for South (12-3, 4-0 SWC), which has won six straight games and extended its league winning streak to 68 straight.
Chamberlin canned three 3-pointers and Falls was 7-for-8 at the free-throw line.
Lauren Orndoff added nine points and five steals for the Panthers, who went 14 of 20 from the charity stripe.
South Medford led 18-15 after the first quarter before outscoring North, 22-12, in the second period to create some separation.
“We gave them a game,” North Medford head coach Tim Karrick said. “I feel like we are getting closer every time we play them.”
In a pivotal final stretch of the first half, Falls snagged a rebound and scored to put the Panthers ahead by 10 points with around a minute to go. After a Tornado turnover, Tago buried a 3-pointer with only seconds remaining before halftime to give her squad a 13-point advantage.
“(Falls) always gets in there and gets position so it’s hard for teams to guard her,” Tago said.
That sequence of possessions was deflating at a time when momentum was still up for grabs, Karrick said.
“Those last two buckets hurt,” he said.
Chamberlin had 14 points on 4-for-7 shooting with two 3s and was 4-for-4 at the free-throw line at intermission.
South maintained its edge in the second half.
“We had balanced productivity from five positions,” South Medford head coach Tom Cole said. “In the long run that is what we need.”
North Medford sophomore Maggie Freeman had 17 points and a career-high 14 rebounds. Rylee Karrick recorded nine points, Savannah Bumgardner eight points and Adriane McLemore five points and six rebounds for the Tornado (11-3, 3-1), which had a five-game winning streak snapped.
“In my opinion this game shows a lot of growth at North Medford,” Cole said. “Tim has them competing and playing hard and I think that is a great sign of maturity and I think our girls had to work very hard to earn this.”
As happy as she was, Tago said her squad can still improve.
“There are some things we need to work on offensively and defensively back in practice,” she said.
NORTH MEDFORD (54): Ross 5, Bumgardner 8, Karrick 9, Hamilton 2, Mo. Fossen 2, Freeman 17, McLemore 5, Me. Fossen 6. Totals: 21 9-17 54.
SOUTH MEDFORD (71): Chamberlin 21, Johnson 0, Orndoff 9, Foote 4, Falls 17, Tago 19, Jones 1. Totals: 26 14-20 71.
3-point goals — North Medford 3 (Freeman 1, Karrick 1, Ross 1), South Medford 5 (Chamberlin 3, Orndoff 1, Tago 1). Fouled out — Bumgardner.
JV score — North Medford 60, South Medford 27.
Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or email email@example.com. Find him online at twitter.com/danjonesmt