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Moving on up

First it was Jasmin Falls. Then it was Lauren Orndoff. Then it was Julissa Tago.

The third-ranked South Medford girls can be a handful, but West Salem girls head basketball coach Terry Williams knew that coming in.

"You know you have to be on your A game when you go up against a team like that," he said.

Those three each had monster games as the Panthers rolled to a 79-54 triumph over the Titans during the second round of the Class 6A state basketball playoffs on Friday at South Medford High.

Falls finished with 22 points and 16 rebounds, scoring all her points in the first half and 14 in the first quarter alone.

Orndoff had a season-high 26 points with four rebounds, four steals and three assists, going 12 of 13 from the free-throw line and contributing to a key run in the second quarter.

Tago, who went for 17 points, 11 rebounds and five steals, helped keep South's foot on the accelerator in the second half as the Panthers secured their sixth straight trip to the state tournament.

South (24-3), which has won 18 consecutive games and finished with a perfect home record, will play Canby in the eight-team state quarterfinals at 8:15 p.m. on Wednesday at the University of Portland's Chiles Center.

The Panthers are as determined as ever to make a splash in the Rose City, Falls said.

"We want this so bad," said Falls, who was efficient with 6-of-7 shooting in the first quarter and a 9-of-13 clip by intermission. "We are a family. We want it for each other, so we're all just gonna push."

Jonnay Foote added 11 points and three steals for South, which went 22 of 26 from the free-throw line.

Falls dominated the opening eight minutes, propelling the Panthers to a 23-16 lead.

"She single-handedly took over the game in the paint," South Medford head coach Tom Cole said.

Said Falls: "I gotta give it to my teammates. They saw when I had an opening or when I was being single covered and got me the ball."

Early in the second quarter, West Salem's Tayler Gunesch canned a jumper to make it a five-point game, but an ensuing 13-2 run by the Panthers marked the beginning of the blowout. Orndoff had seven of those points.

South led 48-31 at halftime and owned a 20-point advantage entering the final eight minutes.

Orndoff, a junior, has really found her groove lately. She scored 16 points in the team's conference finale against Grants Pass and then erupted for 17 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, five steals and three blocks in the Panthers' first-round playoff victory.

She started during a portion of her freshman year in place of Andee Ritter, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee. But then Orndoff suffered an ankle injury that kept her out of much of her sophomore campaign.

"I felt like I started getting better during the (nonconference) season last year, so it was frustrating to get to that point and then have to sit out," she recalled.

Orndoff has adjusted to her new crew, and her mojo was in full effect on Friday. She owned 16 points and was 10 of 11 from the charity stripe at halftime.

"This was her greatest performance," Cole said.

South Medford reserve Jeryka Johnson was helped off the court and visited the locker room with an ankle injury late in the fourth quarter. She'll receive treatment today and Sunday, but her status is unknown, Cole said.

Former starter Hannah Washington, who fractured her foot in two places during a practice January, is still in a boot.

Second-seeded South now looks ahead to the 10th-seeded Cougars, who upset No. 7 Southridge, 45-42, on Friday. Canby finished 20-6 overall and 11-5 in the Three Rivers League. The squad has won four straight.

"This is all that really matters to our team now," Orndoff said.

Delaney Henery led 15th-seeded West Salem (17-9) with 18 points.

"(South) should have a good run in the tournament," Williams said.

WEST SALEM (54): Gunesch 12, Johnson 0, Garland 0, Henery 18, Redman 12, Hand 0, Kizer 0, Diaz 3, Bain 0, Markel 8, McCrae 0, Mumford 0. Totals: 20 9-22 54.

SOUTH MEDFORD (79): Chamberlin 3, O'Brien-Long 0, Johnson 0, Orndoff 26, Foote 11, Jones 0, Falls 22, Tago 17. Totals: 26 22-26 79.

West Salem;16;15;17;6;—;54

South Medford;23;25;20;11;—;79

3-point goals — West Salem 5 (Gunesch 2, Henery 1, Redman 1, Diaz 1), South Medford 5 (Orndoff 2, Chamberlin 1, Foote 1, Tago 1). Technical fouls — Falls.

Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or email djones@mailtribune.com. Find him online at twitter.com/danjonesmt

Julissa Tago of South Medford, a senior, shoots a fadeaway against West Salem's Brenna Redman in the first quarter Friday at South Medford High. PHOTO BY ANDY ATKINSON
South Medford junior guard Jonnay Foote drives to the basket in the third quarter of a Class 6A second round state playoff game against West Salem's Tayler Gunesch (2) and Delaney Henery (11). PHOTO BY ANDY ATKINSON