North Medford’s Jordan Ellis drives to the basket over Clackamas’ Curtis Papenfuss during the Abby’s Holiday Classic Friday at North Medford High School. - Jamie Lusch

Tornado romps to crown

A win and the North Medford boys basketball team had its first Abby's Holiday Classic tournament championship in 13 years.

Just a victory wasn't enough, however. Instead, the Black Tornado turned in a statement win Friday night with an 85-61 pasting of 10th-ranked Clackamas at the North Medford High gym.

North Medford (6-3) gained a 41-22 lead at the half and used the 3-pointer — 11 of them in all — to build its advantage to an insurmountable bulge in the second half.

"We talked about having a chance to win a tournament," said North coach Scott Plankenhorn, whose team finished fourth last year at the Abby's Holiday Classic. "More than anything we wanted to make a statement at our own tournament."

The Black Tornado cruised to a 3-0 record at the tournament, winning by an average score of 73-46.

"We played a good team tonight and turned in a very solid performance," Plankenhorn said. "I think this shows how much we have improved this year."

Junior guard Jordan Ellis and senior wing Danny Berger did most of the damage from deep, with Ellis hitting five treys and scoring 21 points and Berger knocking down four 3s to augment his 20 points. Overall, North shot 11 of 18 from 3-point land and 32 of 52 (67 percent) from the field.

"Danny started hitting and then everybody started getting in on it," said Ellis, the lone North player to make the all-tournament team. "We came out with a lot of intensity and that turned into confidence in our shot."

The triumph gave the Tornado its first Abby's title since 1994 and its fourth championship overall in the 18-year-old tournament. It was North's first championship game appearance since 2003, where the Black Tornado lost to rival South Medford.

"This is great," said Ellis. "We want to start a new generation of North Medford basketball. A win like this definitely helps that."

The win was the first over a Class 6A top-10 team this season for North Medford. The Tornado lost to seventh-ranked Southridge, 92-90, in overtime earlier this season and was defeated by North Eugene, the state's top-ranked 5A team, 76-50 in the season opener.

"(Clackamas) is a good team that is well coached," said Berger. "To be able to beat a top-10 team like this is a good feeling."

Clackamas (7-2) hit 10 of 19 from behind the arch but shot just 20 of 48 overall from the field against North's stingy man-to-man defense.

"We knew this would be our toughest matchup so far this season," said Cavaliers' coach Jeff Bair. "No. 1, North is well coached. No. 2, North has great athleticism and No. 3, they are very strong. And the one thing we don't have right now is the kids that can manage the flow when things start to turn south."

That moment came towards the end of the first quarter when the Tornado broke away from a 4-all tie to take a 15-4 advantage midway through the period. Senior Josh Pecktol led the opening-quarter charge with eight of his 14 points.

The surge continued in the second period.

Berger knocked down a 3, Tim Budavari-Jasper followed with a steal and a layup and Berger, following a Matt Maurer offensive rebound and kickout, drilled another trey for a 34-18 lead.

Tylor Waldron scored on a short jumper and Ellis sank a 3-pointer to push the North lead to 20 points at 41-21.

Clackamas would get no closer than 15 points the rest of the way as the Black Tornado used a 26-point surge keyed by a pair of 3s each from Ellis and Berger in the third quarter.

"Some guys found their groove," said Plankenhorn. "It's not a surprise to me because those two (Berger and Ellis) go back and forth making 3s in practice all the time. We've been waiting for it to happen, and tonight it did."

Maurer led North Medford on the glass with eight rebounds, while Michael Williams dished out nine of the Tornado's 25 assists.

Jake Mauermann scored 17 points to lead the Cavaliers.

North Medford wraps up nonconference play on Thursday at Churchill.

CLACKAMAS (61) — Houf 0, Bankofier 8, Jan 0, Swerzbin 1, Mauermann 17, Papenfuss 11, Rowland 2, Earnest 6, Young 7, Stanley 0, Coleman 9, Arntson 0. Totals: 20-48 11-18 61.

NORTH MEDFORD (85) — McLemore 6, Williams 7, Ramirez 0, Ellis 21, Pecktol 14, Berger 20, Barlow 0, Waldron 2, Budavari-Jasper 5, Maurer 8, Gentry 2. Totals: 32-52 10-13 85.

Clackamas 16 6 21 18 —61

North Medford 26 15 26 18 —85

3-point goals — Clackamas 10-19 (Coleman 1, Mauermann 4, Earnest 2, Papenfuss 1, Young 1, Bankofier 1), North Medford 11-18 (Williams 1, Ellis 5, Berger 4, Budavari-Jasper 1). Technical foul — Clackamas coach Bair.

Other Games

ALOHA 43, WEST SALEM 42 — Zach Parent hit the game-winning shot as Aloha claimed third place.

West Salem led 38-33 entering the final quarter before Aloha stormed back.

Aloha's A.J. Stephenson had 25 points and West Salem was led by Chase Sexton's 10 points.

MCNARY 66, BATTLE GROUND 45 — J.J. Baisch had 15 points and led a balanced McNary attack to a fourth-place finish.

Jeff Walker added 10 points and three others scored eight for the Celtics, who pulled away in the third quarter by outscoring Battle Ground (Wash.) 16-6. Battle Ground was led by Kyle Kromminga's 11 points.

MCNARY 66, BATTLE GROUND 45 — Franklin picked up its only win of the tournament by defeating Red Bluff (Calif.) behind eight points each from Dustin Davis and Nate Keilholtz.

Kevin Bosworth had 14 points and Cole McKenzie had 13 for Red Bluff.

Reach reporter Kevin Goff at 776-4483 or email

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