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North races to Abby's crown

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Only briefly did Scott Plankenhorn try to sell the notion his halftime speech ignited the best offensive quarter North Medford’s boys basketball team has played this season.

“Sometimes it’s pretty good,” said the coach, referring to his pep talk.

Then he laughed it off.

Regardless, the Black Tornado came out of halftime in the Abby’s Holiday Classic championship game against South Medford with a purpose and rode it to a 68-48 victory Saturday at North Medford High.

The Black Tornado scored 31 points in the period and made 13 straight baskets in one dominant stretch.

The barrage enabled North Medford (6-4) to capture its 11th crown in the 30 years of the three-day, eight-team tournament, and its fifth in sixth years. It placed fourth last year.

The Black Tornado had battled to a 28-22 halftime lead, scoring the final four points of the second quarter to achieve that margin.

“It was a really good half by both of us,” said Plankenhorn. “It was a good battle back and forth. Then when we came out of halftime, we just exploded.”

North Medford opened the third quarer with a 10-2 run, with Bryce Dyer scoring on a back-door cut and a 3-pointer, and Jett Carpenter hitting another 3.

South Medford coach James Wightman called a timeout, but when it ended, the Black Tornado was back at it with a fastbreak layup and a basket by Nick Karrick.

The Panthers’ Carson Cota ended the 14-2 run with a putback with 3:35 left.

But it didn’t stop the onslaught.

Victor Orozco-Bernal scored six of North Medford’s next nine points and the lead kept climbing. At the end of the third, North Medfod’s six-point advantage at intermission had grown to 26, 59-33.

So what did Plankenhorn have to say at halftime?

“We just talked about trying to clean things up,” said Plankenhorn. “I didn’t think we played a horrible first half, I just thought we had too many turnovers and were just trying to play too fast. We just wanted to clean it up, clean up the defensive end a little bit and be a little more solid.”

And that’s what happened.

“All of a sudden, I looked up and it was a very good quarter for us.”

North Medford’s physicality was a concern for South Medford (5-6) going into the game, said Wightman. But the biggest issue, he added, was the Panthers not being ready to play a third game in three days.

“We came out and just were not ready to play,” he said. “It looked like we were scared and not up to the challenge. It was too bad. We were lucky to be down by six at halftime. It felt like we were down 15 or 20.”

He blamed himself for not having the team ready.

“It’s on me,” he said, adding, “Our goal was to come in and play for the championship, and we did. I was hoping we could put up a fight. We still finished second, and it’s the first time we played for it (championship) since 2015. But the bottom line is, we’ve got to get better, and that starts with us as coaches.”

North Medford got contributions from throughout its roster. Five players scored in the third quarter, with Orozco-Bernal tallying eight of his 12 and Carpenter scoring seven of his 12.

Landon Ellis led the Black Tornado with 14 points and Dyer added 12 to go with 10 rebounds and four assists. Carpenter had seven rebounds, and Ellis and Orozco-Bernal three assists each.

Winning the title was signifcant to his players, said Plankenhorn.

“It’s definitely nice to get back in the championship game, and it’s definitely exciting for our program to get a win and get that fifth one in six years,” he said. “It’s a good thing.”

South Medford got nine points each from Junior Sleezer and Peyton Shepard.

Carpenter and Karrick made the all-tournament team, along with South Medford’s Sherman Hunter, McNary’s Nate Meithof and North Eugene’s Cameron Parks.

SOUTH MEDFORD (48): Hunter 0, Shepard 9, Sleezer 9, Gaut 4, Townley 4, Harmon 5, Pannell 0, Losinski 7, Dye 2, Booth 4, Cota 4. Totals: 17 10-15 48.

NORTH MEDFORD (68): Neff 3, Sherbourne 0, Robustelli 2, Ellis 14, Stults 5, Carpenter 12, McNaught 0, Karrick 8, Orozco-Bernal 12, Marincus 0, Goodrich 0, Dyer 12. Totals: 30-55 4-12 68.

South Medford11111115— 48

North Medford1513319— 68

3-point goals — South Medford 1 (Shepard 1), North Medford 4-19 (Stults 1, Carpenter 2, Dyer 1).

MCNARY 64, FOREST GROVE 43: McNary’s Nate Meithof, a 6-foot-4 junior, broke the 26-year-old tournament scoring record with a 38-point performance that gave him 109 points for the three games.

Meithof had 32 points in the opener against Roseburg and 39 Friday against North Medford.

He broke the record of 97 points set in 1993 by Lakeridge’s Jamie Snook.

McNary placed third and Forest Grove fifth.

NORTH EUGENE 54, ASHLAND 32: North Eugene, ranked ninth in Class 5A, placed fourth while improving its record to 5-5 with the win over its Midwestern League rival.

Ashland placed sixth and dropped to 4-5 the season.

ROSEBURG 73, RED BLUFF 57: Roseburg’s first tournament victory gave it seventh place over eighth-place Red Bluff, Calif.

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Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune North’s Victor Orozco-Bernal drives to the hoop during the 2nd quarter.
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Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune North’s Treyson Neffdrives to the hoop during the 1st quarter.
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Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneNorth’s Landon Ellis drives to the hoop during the 3rd quarter.
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Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune North’s Nick Karrick shoots for 3 points during the 3rd quarter.
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Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune North’s Landon Ellis drives to the hoop during the 2nd quarter.
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