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PREP BASKETBALL: Crater swamps South Medford

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CENTRAL POINT — Hard work paid off for Crater’s boys basketball team Tuesday.

The Comets focused on improving their offense, and it showed in a 70-50 nonleague victory over South Medford.

Nate Bittle, Crater’s 6-foot-10 sophomore wing, was outstanding in all phases with 31 points, including five 3-pointers, eight rebounds, eight blocked shots and four assists.

The Comets (5-2) outscored the Panthers (1-8) in the third quarter, 26-8, to build a 59-28 advantage.

“I thought, for the first time this season, that we really worked hard to get the kind of shots we wanted,” said Crater coach Chris Schmerbach. “We moved the ball a lot better, set screens for each other, cut hard. When that happens, you get good looks and can get your feet set.”

Crater was coming off a Midwestern League loss to Thurston on Friday.

“We could have done things differently on the offensive end,” said Schmerbach of last week’s game. “They played good defense; we just didn’t work hard enough. That was really our focus in the game tonight.”

Bittle established himself inside early and set up outside looks later for himself and his teammates. Four of his 3s came in the second half, including three in the decisive third.

Crater’s defensive pressure created stops and a few breakaways in the third.

“Nate was great tonight about setting the tone inside first, posting up and attacking the glass,” said Schmerbach. “Not only that, he was finding his teammates early with key passes to get things going. That’s a big step for Nate.”

Nathan Horton attacked the basket and scored 11 points, and Kruger Edwards tallied eight points and eight rebounds. Trevor Jaasko was active inside and Hunter Chubb had seven points, seven rebounds, four assists and set up the offense.

Blake Eaton and Nathan Johnson teamed up to limit one of South Medford’s top threats, Sherman Hunter, to six points.

“Our focus was to make life difficult for him, run him off screens and make sure he had a hand in his face or push him to Nate in the middle,” said Schmerbach.

Freshman guard Junior Sleezer paced the Panthers with 14 points.

SOUTH MEDFORD (50): Hunter 6, Shepard 1, DeBoer 6, Bottero 4, Smith 6, Sleezer 14, Harmon 2, Pannell 5, Townley 0, Ramsay 6. Totals: 19 8-9 50.

CRATER (70): Ray 0, Horton 11, Jaasko 2, Chubb 7, Eaton 5, Lacey 0, Fliegel 0, Edwards 8, Johnson 6, Bittle 31. Totals: 25 12-16 70.

South Medford812822— 50

Crater18152611— 70

3-point goals — South Medford 4 (Sleezer 3, Pannell 1), Crater 8 (Hunter 1, Eaton 1, Edwards 1, Bittle 5).

ASHLAND 50, EAGLE POINT 29: At Ashland, senior guard KJ Pippa scored 26 points and hit a trio of 3-pointers as Ashland cruised to its first Midwestern League win at Mountain Avenue Gymnasium.

Ashland (3-3, 1-1 MWL) held Eagle Point to 14 points in the first half, one of the Grizzlies’ best defensive efforts of the season.

The Eagles (2-7, 0-2) were led by Tre McGarrell, who had six points in the loss.

EAGLE POINT (29): McHugh 2, Kendrick 0, Chaparro 0, Shaffer 0, McGarrell 6, Gelbrich 3, Esquibel 2, Bradd 4, Rodriguez 0, Aguilar 0, Gorman .4 Totals: 12 2-3 29.

ASHLAND (50): Pippa 26, Wallner-Sentle 2, Ekwall 4, Hanks 0, Sanford 0, Saulsbury 6, Swenson 0, Sayre 0, Carter 2, Desmond 4, Barnes 0, Harris 0, Lapierre 6. Totals: 19 3-5 50.

Eagle Point21296— 29

Ashland11131511— 50

3-point goals — Eagle Point 3 (McGarrell 2, Gelbrich 1), Ashland 7 (Pippa 3, Saulsbury 2, Lapierre 2).

UMPQUA VALLEY CHRISTIAN 92, PROSPECT 18: At Prospect, Umpqua Valley Christian raced to a 45-12 halftime lead and continued the torried pace in the nonleague game.

The Cougars, who dropped to 1-6, got eight points from Jordan Royce, five rebounds from Logan Gordon and four boards from Jadon Taylor.


EAGLE POINT 60, ASHLAND 56, OT: At Ashland, Eagle Point tied the game with under a minute to go to force overtime and then held on to beat Ashland for its first Midwestern League victory at Mountain Avenue Gymnasium.

Eagle Point (4-2, 1-1) got 17 points from senior guard Nicole Lawler — who hit five of the Eagles’ seven 3-pointers. Andrea Flores added 11 points, while Kelsi Monroe had eight points in the win.

For Ashland (3-4, 0-2), Kendyl Abel used her size advantage in the paint to record 22 points. Nina Munson, who fouled out late in the fourth quarter, had 19 points, while Jayd Sollinger added 13.

The trio of Munson, Abel and Sollinger combined to score all but two of the Grizzlies’ 56 points in the game.

EAGLE POINT (60): Shelton 2, Hogan 7, Monroe 8, Flores 11, Amidei 4, Burgess 3, Swanson 8, Sked 0, Lawler 17, Sather 0. Totals: 23 7-11 60.

ASHLAND (56): Altig 0, Sollinger 13, Barnes 0, Larson 0, Munson 19, Witnauer 0, Rodriguez 2, Abel 22. Totals: 24 7-18 56.

Eagle Point191211810— 60

Ashland13161386— 56

3-point goals — Eagle Point 7 (Hogan 1, Burgess 1, Lawler 5), Ashland 1 (Sollinger 1); Fouled out — Munson.

JV score — Ashland 32, Eagle Point 24.

Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneCrater’s Trevor Jaasko looks to make a pass under the hoop in the 2nd quarter.