HILLSBORO — Game on.
Sparked by a 17-2 run to start the second half, No. 2 Oregon City ran past No. 1 South Medford 64-58 in the semifinals of the Les Schwab Invitational Friday, which should alter the top of the state rankings for the first time in a year.
Senior point guard Brad Tinsley tossed in 24 points, senior post Sam Shafer added 14 points and 15 rebounds and the Pioneers survived a late rally to move into tonight's final against Archbishop Mitty of San Jose, Calif.
Senior guard Michael Harthun led South with 26 points and E.J. Singler added 10 points and 12 rebounds, but the Panthers couldn't overcome an 18-point second-half deficit.
South closed to within three points, 58-55, with 55 seconds left in the game on a 3-point basket by Zach Haveman, but the Pioneers made a pair of layups and two free throws to hold on.
"They outplayed us," said Singler, who had 10 offensive rebounds. "We didn't do anything well or like we can.
"We've got a night to reflect on this and get right back after it (tonight)."
South, 8-1, will play Grant of Portland at 7 tonight in the third-place game. The Generals also got routed, 79-45, in their semifinal.
Despite shooting just 33 percent from the field (10 of 30) in the first half, South trailed only 28-25 at intermission. But the Pioneers, 10-0, raced to a 45-27 lead in the first four minutes of the third quarter behind Tinsley's shooting and passing (he finished with six assists) and solid defense.
South coach Dennis Murphy said his halftime speech might have had a negative effect on his players.
"I browbeat them pretty good at halftime," he said. "Maybe that had the opposite effect I was hoping for."
Haveman, who played on the junior varsity team last year along with most of this year's varsity team, said the third quarter worked into the team's learning curve.
"Coach's talk at halftime didn't affect us negatively," Haveman said, "we just didn't put what he said into effect until late in the quarter. We learned a lot about the level we have to play at, the level everyone has to play at."
Oregon City didn't seem to struggle with effort for most of the game. The Pioneers had three players — Tinsley, Shafer and senior wing Kamal Smith — go all 32 minutes and they finished 25 of 50 from the field (50 percent).
"We shot the ball really well," said Tinsley, who hit 10 of 21 shots — 4 of 6 on 3-pointers. "We're all really pleased with this game, but it's a long season.
"We're looking forward to meeting South again at some point."
Losing by just six points might turn into something of a confidence booster for the Panthers, who had just Harthun play all 32 minutes.
"The final margin actually wasn't all that bad," Singler said. "But, imagine what we would have done if we had actually played well."
Grant, ranked sixth, fell behind 14-4 in the first quarter of its game with Archbishop Mitty, which is ranked in the nation's Top 25 by USA Today, and never recovered. The Generals (6-2) hit just 16 of 67 shots from the field (23 percent) and just 4 of 25 3-pointers (16 percent). They also got outrebounded 48-28.
During one stretch of the second half, Archbishop Mitty dunked on four consecutive possessions, which had Grant coach Tony Broadous hanging his head after the game.
"We were coming together pretty good, playing pretty good," Broadous said. "Things were going well until tonight. We got behind and then everyone started to try and win the game by themselves.
"Our next game is really going to be a test for us."
OREGON CITY (64) — Tinsley 24, Shafer 14, Smith 10, Kinney 7, Siegal 7, Huntting 2, Kirchhofer 0.
SOUTH MEDFORD (58) — Harthun 26, E. Singler 10, Haveman 9, M. Singler 7, Kezer 4, Boyd 2, Aguirre 0, Walport 0, Egan 0.
Oregon City 19 9 27 9 —64
South Medford 16 9 13 20 —58
3-point goals — Oregon City 7 (Tinsley 4, Kinney 1, Smith 1, Siegal 1), South Medford 7 (Harthun 3, Haveman 3, M. Singler 1).
Pioneers take down Panthers
HILLSBORO — Game on.