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Canby stuns South with rally

PORTLAND — For a second straight year, South Medford let a double-digit lead slip away in the Class 6A girls basketball state quarterfinals and ultimately paid the price again by being upset on the first day of the state tournament here at the Chiles Center.

Second-seeded South Medford opened a 14-point lead in the second quarter against 10th-seeded Canby but the Cougars kept clawing away and capitalized on some uncharacteristic sloppiness by the Panthers to rally for a 50-48 victory Wednesday.

The two-point advantage was Canby’s largest lead of the contest.

Canby (21-6) used a 12-0 run from the midpoint of the fourth quarter to shock South Medford (24-4) and when senior standout Julissa Tago’s game-tying effort at the buzzer fell short, so did the Panthers’ hopes at a fourth appearance in the state championship game in five seasons.

“That’s the hardest loss we’ve ever had, honestly,” said South Medford head coach Tom Cole. “That was a game we controlled for 3½ quarters and I just felt like we were very uncharacteristic in the last three minutes. That’s not how we play and I think the wheels just came off and there was no recapturing it.”

Tago picked up her fourth foul with 4:14 to play and after Mackenzie Lee’s free throws cut South Medford’s lead to 46-39, Tago had to come out to preserve her status in the game. Unfortunately, two straight Panther turnovers forced Tago back in the game and Canby took advantage of her foul trouble by slashing Cassidy Posey at her for three straight buckets to pull the Cougars within 46-45.

On the flip side, South Medford committed five straight turnovers and just couldn’t find a basket to cut into Canby’s momentum until Jasmin Falls answered the Cougars’ go-ahead bucket with one of her own with 62 seconds remaining.

“I wish I knew what happened in the fourth quarter,” said Cole. “Turnovers and too many consecutive turnovers at very pivotal times that Canby capitalized on with huge momentum shifts. They hit big shots off of those turnovers and we missed a couple really easy buckets at the end of the game that I think we make under the bucket.”

Two free throws by Hannah Myers allowed Canby to regain the lead at 49-48 but junior Lauren Orndoff, who carried the team with Falls in the early going, couldn’t convert a driving attempt and the ball went out of bounds.

A foul by Canby gave the Panthers another chance but when the ball got into Falls’ hands, she was swarmed by the Cougars and struggled to get a shot up amid a host of arms and Canby’s Skylee Doman came away with the loose ball.

Doman was then fouled and converted one of two free throws for a 50-48 lead but the Panthers still had 7.6 seconds remaining and one of the state’s premier players in Tago to force overtime. Tago took the ball and raced upcourt before finally stopping for a jumper at the top of the key that fell short as time expired.

“We thought if we could advance the ball quick enough that we could get a good opportunity at a shot,” said Cole. “We wanted it to go in Juli’s hands and she came up short on the last shot. But that wasn’t the game, we let momentum fall into the opponent’s hand and credit to Canby, they hit some big shots.”

South Medford hindered its cause by going 20-for-65 from the field (31 percent) and 1-for-12 from 3-point range (8.3 percent). Canby was only slightly better at 18-for-57 overall (32 percent), and the Cougars were outrebounded 47-35.

Freshman Ula Chamberlin led South Medford with 16 points, while Falls added 15 points, 16 rebounds, three blocks and three steals. Orndoff scored all 10 of her points in the first half to go with seven rebounds, while Tago finished with seven points, 12 rebounds and three steals. Junior Jonnay Foote also came up big with three steals and a pestering effort at the top of South Medford’s defense that helped force Canby into 18 turnovers with 13 Panther steals.

Posey had 15 points, Doman 14 and Myers 13 to pace Canby, which finished runner-up in the Three Rivers League to No. 3 seed Tigard, whom the Cougars will face in Friday’s semifinals.

South Medford also gets a league matchup in today’s consolation semifinals with a 10:45 a.m. date with Sheldon, which lost 53-35 in another quarterfinal Wednesday. The Panthers, who lost to Roseburg 52-51 in last year’s state quarterfinals, swept the Southwest Conference series with the Irish this season.

In Wednesday’s other quarterfinals, the No. 1 seed in the tournament, Jesuit, cruised past McNary, 52-33, and No. 2-ranked South Salem won the marquee matchup of the day with a 46-30 triumph over top-ranked Oregon City.

At University of Portland, Chiles Center

CANBY (20-6)

Cassidy Posey 6-11 2-2 15, Skylee Doman 6-11 1-2 14, Hannah Myers 3-15 7-10 13, Mackenzie Lee 1-9 2-2 4, Alice Lambert 2-8 0-0 4, Abby Marine 0-1 0-0 0, Monique Heflin 0-0 0-0 0, Cianne Cates 0-2 0-0 0, Emily Iverson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 18-57 12-16 50.

SOUTH MEDFORD (24-3)

Ula Chamberlin 7-17 1-1 16, Jasmin Falls 6-14 3-6 15, Lauren Orndoff 4-13 2-2 10, Juli Tago 3-14 1-2 7, Jonnay Foote 0-6 0-0 0, Jeryka Johnson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 20-65 7-11 48.

Canby;10;13;12;15;—;50

South Medford;18;12;10;8;—;48

3-point goals — Canby 2-8 (Cassidy Posey 1-4, Skylee Doman 1-1, Mackenzie Lee 0-2, Hannah Myers 0-1), South Medford 1-12 (Ula Chamberlin 1-4, Lauren Orndoff 0-4, Juli Tago 0-2, Jonnay Foote 0-1, Jeryka Johnson 0-1). Rebounds — Canby 35 (Hannah Myers 13), South Medford 47 (Jasmin Falls 16). Assists — Canby 7 (Skylee Doman 3), South Medford 3 (Lauren Orndoff 2). Total fouls — Canby 10, South Medford 12.

Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, khenry@mailtribune.com, www.facebook.com/krishenryMT or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry