PORTLAND — North Medford started the fourth quarter with a flurry to finally catch Jesuit on the scoreboard and after a long climb back from a 12-point halftime deficit, the Black Tornado had some momentum on its side.
But Jesuit owned the next seven minutes, outscoring North 21-6 down the stretch to win going away, 66-51, Saturday and advance to next week’s OSAA Class 6A state tournament.
Jesuit will face top-ranked Jefferson in the state quarterfinals Thursday at the Chiles Center, while North Medford says goodbye to four seniors who helped the Black Tornado win back-to-back Southwest Conference championships and go 22-4 this season.
Down 32-20 at the half and 44-40 to start the fourth quarter, North Medford got a deep 3 by Darrius Wells and a breakaway dunk by Kaison Faust to knot the score at 45-all with 7 minutes, 5 seconds left in the game. Soon thereafter North had a chance to take its first lead since the first quarter, but Jesuit got the stop, 6-foot-6 post Joe Wall drained a long 3-pointer at the other end and the Crusaders controlled the rest of the game to win by the largest margin of the night.
“We stopped scoring after (Faust’s dunk),” North Medford coach Scott Plankenhorn said. “They made a bunch of big shots and late in the game we started trapping and picked up fouls.”
Jesuit also was the better shooting team Saturday. North Medford missed five consecutive free throws as Jesuit began to pull away, while the Crusaders hit two big 3-pointers in the fourth and 9 of 21 overall, including four by Matthew Lang and three by Wall.
“They were executing across the whole space on the floor, moving the ball to the extra guy and made layups, and the thing you can’t do in Oregon is fall behind late because there’s no shot clock,” Plankenhorn said.
Faust, a senior guard, went out with a bang, leading the Tornado with 19 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Senior guard Quinton Rumrey added 10 points, junior post Elias Spence eight points and seven boards and senior guard Oscar Banuelos seven points.
For Jesuit, Lang led all scorers with 23 points and Wall scored 21, burning North’s perimeter defense with NBA-range 3-pointers.
The Crusaders (21-5) started fast, outscoring North 18-8 in the opening quarter to open up a double-digit lead they held for most of the first half.
North Medford began to chip away early in the third, cutting the lead to two, 34-32, with six minutes to go in the quarter and a single point following a Faust driving layup.
After Wall’s tie-breaking 3 early in the fourth, the Crusaders extended their lead with two free throws, a floater and another 3 by Wall to make it 56-45 with 3:12 to go.
After a layup by Jesuit, Faust finally ended North’s draught with an and-one layup with 2:38 remaining, but by then time had all but run out on the Tornado’s comeback hopes.
“The ball stopped going in,” Plankenhorn said.
The win was the sixth in a row for the Crusaders, who placed second to Southridge in the Metro League.
North, which went 8 of 17 from the free throw line, had a five-game winning streak snapped. Plankenhorn said his team accomplished a lot.
“It was an amazing season,” he said. “Back-to-back conference titles, went 22-4. Obviously, everybody loves to end on a perfect note, but there’s no way you can take away what we did this season. And what a special group of seniors.”
NORTH MEDFORD (51): Wells 5, Sandoval 0, Banuelos 7, Rumrey 10, Thomas 0, O’Connor 0, Carpenter 0, Angulo 0, Orozco-Bernal 0, Parker 2, Faust 19, Spence 8. Totals: 19-40 8-17 51.
JESUIT (66): Lang 23, Wan 0, Spitznagel 0, Levis 6, Sheaffer 5, Bieker 4, Kaczmarek 0, Handley 4, Williams 3, Wall 21, Gadda 0, Barton 0, Eichten 0. Totals: 21-43 15-24 66.
3-point goals — North Medford 5-13 (Wells 1, Banuelos 1, Rumrey 2, Faust 1), Jesuit 9-21 (Lang 4, Levis 1, Williams 1, Wall 3). Fouled out — Banuelos.
JEFFERSON 77, GRANTS PASS 52: At Portland, Keylin Vance hit five of his team’s 12 3-pointers on his way to a game-high 18 points as Jefferson jumped out to a 30-point halftime lead and coasted from there in the 6A state playoff game.
The win advanced top-ranked Jefferson (24-3) to the eight-team state tournament, while Grants Pass ended its season 16-10 after finishing second in the Southwest Conference.
Marcus Tsohonis added 17 points and Kamaka Hepa 11 for Jefferson, which saw nine players score.
Taylor Anderson scored 17 points and Tayler Phillips 12 for the Cavemen, who suffered their most lopsided defeat of the season.
GRANTS PASS (52): Rich 4, Lopez 4, Rund 8, Anderson 17, Lackey 3, Clark 4, Phillips 12, Rucker 0. Totals: 19 11-16 52.
JEFFERSON (77): Strickland 7, Tsohonis 17, Akil 1, Brown 5, Chatman 9, Vance 18, Ford 6, Rawlins-Kibonge 2, Hepa 11, Graves 0. Totals: 28 8-20 77.
3-point goals — Grants Pass 3 (Anderson 2, Rund 1), Jefferson 12 (Vance 5, Ford 2, Tsohnis 2, Hepa 2, Brown 1).