ASHLAND — As Ashland's starting setter, Cassie Hall spends most of her court time delivering the ball to teammates. But when it mattered most Thursday, Hall took matters into her own hands and gave the Grizzlies a much-needed shot in the arm.
Hall had 40 assists and one crucial kill to clinch an air-tight third game, and Ashland won nine of the last 11 points in Game 4 to beat Eagle Point and claim the Southern Oregon Hybrid championship on an emotional senior night at Mountain Avenue Gym.
Hall's sneaky dump kill allowed the Grizzlies to pull out a nip-and-tuck Game 3, and Ashland finished the job in the fourth to pick up its third win in a row over the Eagles, 25-19, 25-27, 25-23, 25-20.
Piper Cantrell had 31 digs and three aces, Shelby Minor had 13 kills and Megan Rodden added 11 kills for the Grizzlies (8-11, 2-1 SOH), who will find out today or Saturday which team they will face in the play-in round of the 5A playoffs.
"They played amazing today," Ashland coach Robin Akpan said. "They identified, they played with so much heart and they took the emotion of the gym and they put it on the court."
Christine McCready had 35 digs and 15 kills to pace the Eagles (11-9, 1-2 SOH). Carolina Regalado added 34 assists and Whitney Barber six kills.
"Every game we had was just right there," Eagle Point coach Elizabeth Bilden said. "We had been adjusting and our corners recovered and it was just the little things that we missed tonight."
The Eagles held off a furious Ashland rally to take Game 2 and were in position to take a two-games-to-one lead when Lesley Nielson smashed a kill to put EP ahead 22-21, but Ashland took over from there. A double-touch error tied the match, and back-to-back kills to the corner by Joy Harpham and Rodden put Ashland ahead 24-22.
Eagle Point fought off the first set point when Regalado tipped over a winner, but Hall one-upped her counterpart on the next point with a perfectly-placed hook dump to the floor.
GRANTS PASS 3, SOUTH MEDFORD 2 — South Medford tried to rally after losing the first two sets in an SOH playoff against Grants Pass, but the Cavers finished off the Panthers in the South gym, 25-23, 25-19, 17-25, 15-25, 15-12.
The two teams tied for third place in the SOH standings with 3-5 records.
Grants Pass goes to state as the No. 3 team, while South Medford will host Centennial, the No. 6 team in the Mount Hood Conference, in a play-in game Saturday.
For the Panthers (11-10), Sam Owirka amassed 18 kills and 27 digs, and Chandler Criswell had 42 assists. Molli Calhoun provided nine blocks, and Emily Cutting 26 digs.
ROGUE RIVER 3, LAKEVIEW 1 — At Rogue River, Rogue River won the third-place tiebreaker match, 25-19, 20-25, 25-20, 25-21.
The Chieftains (9-8) and Lakeview were each 3-5 in league. Rogue River next plays St. Mary's at noon Saturday at Cascade Christian High. The winner plays Cascade Christian at 3 p.m. to determine the No. 1 and 2 seeds to state.
Against Lakeview, Rogue River's Alli Ehrhardt had 21 kills, Kailin Honea 24 assists, Kortney Moore 23 service points, Sarah Segura nine kills and Emma Angeletti five blocks and four aces.