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No. 2 South routs North, eyes Sheldon showdown

South Medford took some time to get untracked, but when it did, the second-ranked Panthers raced past visiting rival North Medford for an 81-19 Southwest Conference girls basketball victory Wednesday.

South Medford struggled with its shooting early and had a narrow lead through the first half of the first quarter. Then it erupted en route to a 46-10 halftime advantage.

The triumph set up a chance for the Panthers (21-3, 9-0 SWC) to claim their first league title in three years when they visit second-place and fourth-ranked Sheldon Friday.

Sheldon, 8-1 in conference, suffered its only SWC setback three weeks ago at South Medford, 72-58.

On Wednesday, South Medford held the Black Tornado to single-digit scoring in each quarter.

Bella Pedrojetti, the Panthers’ lone senior celebrating Senior Night, scored 19 points on 8-for-10 shooting from the field, including 3 of 4 on 3-pointers.

Kaili Chamberlin added 17 points and nine rebounds, and Emma Schmerbach scored 11 points to go with eight rebounds and five steals.

Toni Coleman had four steals, Tanesha Coley four blocks and Bella Stone four assists.

North Medford (6-17, 2-7) was paced by Jane Ersepke’s 11 points.

South Medford had 16 steals and forced 21 turnovers. It also out-rebounded North Medford, 40-17.

Next up, Sheldon, which won the past two conference titles to end a streak of seven by the Panthers.

“It’s a good season for us to be able to win another conference championship,” said Coel, “but we also would like to secure it exclusively. We have a pretty formidable opponent, obviously, in the reigning league champs.”

The Irish will be fired up on their Senior Night.

“In some ways,” said Cole, “a game like that, win or lose, is going to help us. It’ll be a tough game, and you need that. You need to be able to have games where the focus and execution are going to meaningful because you don’t have much of a ramp-up period.”

Friday’s games mark the end of the regular season. The state playoffs begin on Tuesday.

NORTH MEDFORD (19): Richardson 0, Ersepke 11 , Stewart 0, Wells 3, Weaver 3, Christiansen 2, Chavez 0, Drysdale 0, Jai. Ross 0. Totals: 8 1-9 19.

SOUTH MEDFORD (81): Chamberlin 17, Coleman 8, Dillard 0, E. Schmerbach 11, Pedrojetti 19, Coley 4, Dahlin 5, Stone 8, Teague-Perry 4, T. Schmerbach 3, Fealey 2. Totals: 35 3-18 81.

North Medford7363— 19

South Medford20261817— 81

3-point goals — North Medford 2 (Ersepke 1, Weaver 1), South Medford 8 (Chamberlin 1, Pedrojetti 3, Dahlin 1, Stone 2, T. Schmerbach 1). Fouled out — Wells, Chamberlin. Technical foul — Christiansen

JV score — South Medford 53, North Medford 28.

South Medford senior Bella Pedrojetti scores 19 points on 80-percent shooting against North Medford.