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South shoots by Barlow

There was an uneasiness in the South Medford gym after a lackluster first half by the host Panthers in a Class 6A girls basketball first-round playoff game Wednesday.

Then Ula Chamberlin found her shooting touch and the South Medford offense found another gear in romping to a 73-41 victory against the Barlow Bruins from Gresham.

The fifth-seeded Panthers (20-5) will host No. 21-seed Lincoln (15-10), a 23-22 upset winner over Sherwood, at home on Saturday with a state tournament berth at stake. For South, it would be its seventh consecutive appearance in the final eight.

The Panthers held a 24-16 halftime advantage over the underdog Bruins (13-12) from the Mt. Hood Conference after the first two quarters.

During a three-minute span of the third period, Chamberlin scored 10 points to key an 18-5 run that left Barlow with a 22-point deficit, 43-21.

“I was a lot more focused,” said Chamberlin of a second-half performance that accounted for 23 of her game-high 31 points. “We just had to play as a team and make shots.”

With Chamberlin leading the way, the Panthers put up 51 points in the final two periods.

“We got our flow going,” said Chamberlin. “I felt this is working pretty well so I kept shooting.”

Chamberlin was 5-for-9 on 3-pointers — all after intermission.

“Ula Chamberlin was very special in the second half,” said South Medford coach Tom Cole. “I really challenged her at halftime. It shows a lot how she responded.”

Cole was perplexed by his team’s first-half performance.

“We got out of rhythm and we were our own worst enemy,” said Cole. “In the playoffs, you play a bad game and it can be your last game.”

Diminutive Jonnay Foote was one of the few Panthers that exhibited high energy from the tipoff. The 5-foot senior guard was fearlessly running the court and raced to three fastbreak layups in the opening quarter and then added one of her two 3-pointers in the second stanza.

“Our goal is to set the pace,” said Foote. “I try to get out on the fastbreak and create opportunities.”

When Foote wasn’t orchestrating, she was observing Chamberlin shred the Bruins defense from the outside.

“When Ula gets hot, you just want to keep feeding her,” said Foote. “You know it’s going in.”

The South Medford alert defense came up with 15 steals and caused 26 turnovers.

“We didn’t take care of the ball,” said Barlow veteran coach Ron LaFord. “Too many turnovers turns the game on you fast.”

LaFord was complimentary on South Medford’s style of play: “I love the way they spread the court. Everyone is a threat.”

Renick Meyer paced the Bruins with 18 points.

Reliable Lauren Orndoff produced another effective all-around game for the Panthers with 17 points, seven assists, five steals and five rebounds.

“(Orndoff) is so athletic and her overall length is her greatest asset,” said Cole.

Senior power forward Hannah Washington did the heavy lifting for the Panthers with 15 rebounds and six blocked shots.

If he wasn’t happy with the early execution by the Panthers, Cole was pleased with the end product.

“As we settled down and made the extra pass, it opened things up,” said Cole. “It’s a win. We did enough good things to move on.”

BARLOW (41): Rispler 6, Pemberton 6, R. Meyer 18, Waddell 0, Gotur 3, Miller 0, S. Meyer 8, Gifford 0. Totals: 16 4-9 41.

SOUTH MEDFORD (73): Chamberlin 31, O’Brien-Long 0, Martin 0, Pedrojetti 7, Orndoff 17, Foote 14, Washington 4. Totals: 29 7-10 73.

Barlow;7;9;12;13;—;41

South Medford;13;11;28;21;—;73

3-point goals — Barlow 5 (Pemberton 1, R. Meyer 2, S. Meyer 2), South Medford 8 (Chamberlin 5, Pedrojetti 1, Foote 2). Technical foul — S. Meyer.

Reach reporter Frank Silow at 541-776-4480 or fsilow@mailtribune.com

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South Medford senior Lauren Orndoff gets fouled on her way to the hoop during Wednesday's game. [ANDY ATKINSON/MAIL TRIBUNE]
South Medford's Ula Chamberlin pulls up for a jumper in the second quarter of Wednesday's opening game of the Class 6A state playoffs against Barlow. [ANDY ATKINSON/MAIL TRIBUNE]