North blows by McKay
Facing a McKay squad that entered the night scoring a state-best 89.6 points per game, North Medford’s boys basketball team put a premium on getting off to a fast start Tuesday night in the opening round of play in the 27th Abby’s Holiday Classic.
Even those high hopes, however, couldn’t have lived up to the reality of a first-quarter barrage that set the tone for a runaway victory by North Medford on its home floor. The Black Tornado scored the first 12 points of the contest and led 29-15 through one quarter of an eventual 86-67 romp over the Royal Scots of Salem.
North Medford (6-4) advances to play Oregon City (3-3) in Wednesday’s tournament semifinals at 5:30 p.m., while McKay (4-2) will face Ashland (3-5)in the consolation semifinals at 2 p.m. Remaining tournament games will be at South Medford High.
Oregon City topped Ashland, 46-21, in earlier action Tuesday. On the other side of the bracket, South Medford edged Reynolds 58-54 and Forest Grove beat Roseburg 74-52.
“I thought we played very well early,” said North Medford head coach Scott Plankenhorn. “Defensively we were very sound and offensively we shared and got the ball where we wanted to get it against their defense. We took advantage of some good stuff early and then really just kind of held on from there.”
North Medford senior Brad Allen was a lightning rod of activity in the opening stretch, scoring 13 of his 22 points in the first quarter to go with six rebounds. The 6-foot-6 post remained engaged throughout, finishing with a career-high 19 rebounds to go with four assists.
“We were all sharing the ball really well and taking open shots,” Allen said of the Tornado’s fast start, “and when we get open shots we make them. That was just good basketball tonight.”
North Medford junior Kaison Faust echoed the play of Allen, finishing with 22 points of his own to go with 12 rebounds, four blocks and three assists. Faust was especially key in attacking the full-court defensive pressure employed by McKay.
“Brad’s been playing really well lately, especially on the boards,” said Plankenhorn. “He had 18 in the championship game the other day (in the Lakeridge Tournament) and then to follow up tonight with another huge performance, that was really important. We kind of go with those two guys, him and Kaison, and they’ve been playing really well so far.”
North Medford’s ability to go 3-0 to claim a repeat title at Lakeridge last week seemed to have restored the team’s confidence and it showed Tuesday. The Black Tornado was efficient from the field (21-for-31) in the first half to take a 48-33 lead into the locker room and didn’t get caught up in taking the hurried shots spurred on by McKay’s defensive frenzy.
“What we’ve done the last four games is guys have kind of cleaned up their game to be a little more patient,” said Plankenhorn. “They’re trying to find Kaison and Brad a little more often and then playing off them more and good things are coming from it.”
Even with such offensive efficiency, the Black Tornado knew it couldn’t take its foot off the pedal against the Royal Scots, whose only other loss was a 78-74 setback against South Medford. McKay was never able to trim its deficit below double digits after North’s initial flurry, but it wasn’t for lack of trying — the Black Tornado just didn’t let up.
“They’re a chore,” added Plankenhorn of the Royal Scots. “They continue to always be in you and force turnovers and they can knock down 3-pointers so we know how fast they can turn the game around. But I thought what helped was we got really good minutes from all 11 guys. They all got minutes where it mattered and all 11 did something good tonight.”
Joey Hunter added nine points and three assists, Tre Holmes had eight points, four rebounds and four assists and Wyatt Baptiste added seven points and two assists to boost a balanced North attack that saw all but one play score.
Shaton Daniels had 14 points and Josiah Castillo added 11 to pace McKay, which utilized a wholesale substitution pattern to keep fresh bodies on the attack against North. The Royal Scots had been off for two weeks so that likely led to some early game struggles — McKay was 7-for-21 from the field in the first quarter — but head coach Dean Sanderson made no excuses for the outcome.
“North Medford was the team that was more ready to play and really they dictated the game because of that start and we never got into the tempo that we wanted it,” said Sanderson. “They were able to control and do what they wanted in the halfcourt offensively and we never got them out of sorts.”
“They did the best job of anyone we’ve played of when they attacked, they did it with a purpose,” added Sanderson, whose team placed fourth in this event last year. “They made the right read, they either went and finished or drew the defense and made the easy pass. Our rotation was slow and they exposed a lot of our weaknesses tonight so hat’s off to them, they’re a really good team.”
Of all the stats Allen and company were most proud of Tuesday night, however, the defensive effort stood out among all the rest.
“I think it shows a lot about our defense, holding a team that averages 90 per game to 67 points,” said Allen. “That says a lot about the defensive passion we have.”
MCKAY (67): Joel 0, Daniels 14, Kovalinko 8, Tavera 6, Castillo 11, Tovar 0, Beach 2, Sampson 6, Garza 8, Hull 4, Eliu 0, Bangs 6, Beatty 2. Totals: 24-70 14-23 67.
NORTH MEDFORD (86): Baptiste 7, Banuelos 0, O’Connor 4, Hunter 9, Barry 3, Spence 2, Rumrey 5, Allen 22, Holmes 8, Faust 22, Ireland 4. Totals: 36-63 13-22 86.
3-point goals — McKay 5-23 (Castillo 3, Kovalinko 2), North Medford 1-6 (Rumrey 1).
OREGON CITY 46, ASHLAND 21: Oregon City junior guard Teron Bradford scored 20 of his game-high 25 points in the first half as the Pioneers bolted out to a fast start and held Ashland at bay in the opening round at North Medford High.
Chris Figert added eight points and Dakota Sim had seven for Oregon City (2-1), which will play North Medford at 5:30 tonight at South Medford High.
Despite sitting out the first half, Malik Pippa scored five points to pace Ashland (3-3). The Grizzlies, who were limited to six field goals overall, will play McKay at 2 p.m. at South Medford High.
ASHLAND (21): Pippa 5, Benson 0, Swanson 4, Atteberry 2, Hansen 4, Sentle 0, Fuller 3, A. Jones 0, Ellis 3, MacMillen 0, Ekwald 0, Shibley 0, C. Jones 0. Totals: 6 7-16 21.
OREGON CITY (46): Bradford 25, Sim 7, Wooten 0, Lee 0, Talley 0, Figert 8, Thompson 0, Vetter 0, Fowler 0, Sheldon 0, Smith 4, Quinsey 2. Totals: 19 3-6 46.
3-point goals — Oregon City 5 (Sim 1, Figert 1, Bradford 3), Ashland 2 (Fuller 1, Pippa 1). Fouled out — Bradford.
Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.facebook.com/krishenryMT or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry