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Bitter ending for South Medford girls

Clackamas uses 13-3 closing run to stun Panthers in 6A third-place final

PORTLAND — South Medford had a third-place trophy clearly within reach late Saturday night, then it all slipped away here in the Class 6A girls basketball state tournament at the Chiles Center.

After a roller-coaster of a clash with Clackamas, the No. 3-seeded Panthers were forced to settle for fifth place after the Cavaliers rallied in the fourth quarter with a closing 13-3 surge to score a 59-54 victory.

“Those ones really hurt because that was a game that we controlled,” said South Medford head coach Tom Cole. “We made some miserable mistakes that were unforgiving, and they were consequential.”

South Medford junior Donovyn Hunter, the lone unanimous all-tournament team pick, had 18 points, 12 rebounds and three steals and senior Sierra Logue added 12 points with five boards to pace the Panthers (24-5), who led 51-46 with 3 1/2 minutes to play after a steal and lay-in by freshman Sara Schmerbach.

After that, however, the wheels simply went off the track for South Medford, which previously lost 58-56 in overtime to Clackamas (27-3) on Dec. 4 in Eugene.

“Today, I think our energy was better,” said Logue, “but we played in kind of ups and downs. We just didn’t pull it off in the end, but I’m super proud of my team for getting as far as we got.”

The fifth-seeded Cavaliers’ comeback began with a pair of free throws by Eliza Buerk, then was extended after forcing turnovers by Kim Ceron and Logue that were converted on the other with a 3-pointer by Jazzy Davidson to tie the game at 51-all and a three-point play by Dylan Mogel.

Logue then was unable to convert on a pair of free throws but teammate Tatum Schmerbach bailed her out with a rebound on the second miss. Davidson, however, swooped in for a blocked shot.

The 54-51 score remained the same still one minute later, with senior Lottie Dillard missing a layup opportunity before a hustling effort by Mogel on a missed free throw by Buerk gave Clackamas a chance at two more free throws, which she made.

Dillard then turned the ball over under full-court pressure by Avery Peterson to thwart another scoring opportunity.

Buerk was fouled on the ensuing possession and missed the front end of a 1-and-1, but Hunter’s driving shot couldn’t find the mark and Davidson grabbed the rebound before getting fouled.

After two more Davidson free throws extended the Cavaliers’ lead to 58-51, Hunter connected on a step-back 3-pointer with 14 seconds to go. Peterson added one free throw to the total for Clackamas, and Dillard’s leaner in the final seconds went long to again keep the Panthers off the scoreboard.

“There were some good things today and I think there were some good things for the whole tournament,” said Cole. “Unfortunately, we were the most uncharacteristic from some of the most uncharacteristic spots that we could be all year in a time that it needed to be the most meaningful.”

“I’m really proud of the fact that we’re here,” added the coach. “I always have to put in perspective that the journey was bigger than how it ended. I’m really proud of this group of seniors. As I told them as I laughed with them in the locker room, I definitely am irritated with them from a basketball lens but I love them as people and I love them as players.”

The Panthers were able to head into halftime with the lead for the first time in the tournament behind much better offensive execution, with Hunter and Logue leading the way with eight points apiece to make it 31-28.

“It being mine and the other seniors’ last games,” said Logue, “obviously I felt an extra sense of urgency for this game to get my team going and just pump them up. I think it worked, we just weren’t able to pull it together in the end.”

Davidson had 11 points and six boards before picking up her third foul and having to sit for the final 3 minutes, 44 seconds of the first half, then picked up her fourth foul early in the third quarter.

None of it mattered for the Cavaliers, who got five 3-pointers from Sara Barhoum and saw Davidson finish with 16 points and eight boards. Buerk also tallied 10 points with eight boards and four blocks.

Dillard struggled from the field, going 1-for-10, but was able to produce seven points and five rebounds for the Panthers, while the Schmerbach sisters were once again a bright spot for South. Tatum Schmerbach, a junior, had four rebounds and four steals to offset a 1-for-7 shooting night, while younger sister Sara stepped up with six points, three steals and two boards.

“We all need to learn from this,” said Cole. “I hope the teammates who were here and a part of this, whether they played some or not, use it as a motivation to return here and be better. That’s what we want from any season.”

CLACKAMAS (27-3)

Jazzy Davidson 6-13 3-3 16, Sara Barhoum 5-8 0-2 15, Eliza Buerk 3-9 3-5 10, Dylan Mogel 1-6 5-6 7, Avery Peterson 1-2 3-3 5, Reyce Mogel 2-3 0-0 4, Rhyan Mogel 0-0 2-4 2, Ella Shackleton 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 18-43 16-23 59.

SOUTH MEDFORD (24-5)

Donovyn Hunter 7-20 2-2 18, Sierra Logue 5-9 2-5 12, Lottie Dillard 1-10 5-6 7, Sara Schmerbach 2-3 2-4 6, Kendall Fealey 2-3 0-0 4, Kimberly Ceron 2-4 0-0 4, Tatum Schmerbach 1-7 0-0 2, Janaya Bullock 0-0 1-2 1, Keana Settle 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 20-56 12-19 54.

Clackamas199823— 59

South Medford1417914— 54

3-point goals—Clackamas 7-17 (Sara Barhoum 5-7, Eliza Buerk 1-5, Jazzy Davidson 1-2, Ella Shackleton 0-1, Avery Peterson 0-1, Dylan Mogel 0-1), South Medford 2-5 (Donovyn Hunter 2-3, Kimberly Ceron 0-1, Tatum Schmerbach 0-1). Fouled out—Clackamas-None, South Medford-None. Rebounds—Clackamas 31 (Dylan Mogel 8, Eliza Buerk 8, Jazzy Davidson 8), South Medford 31 (Donovyn Hunter 12). Assists—Clackamas 10 (Avery Peterson 4), South Medford 2 (Sierra Logue 2). Total fouls—Clackamas 16, South Medford 16.

Have a story idea? Reach sports editor Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, khenry@rosebudmedia.com or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry

South Medford senior Sierra Logue, shown in action earlier this season, had 12 points and five rebounds in Saturday’s 59-54 loss to Clackamas in the Class 6A girls basketball state tournament. MT file photo