South Medford's Kylie Towry, center, floats up the game-winning shot in the final seconds Saturday. - Jamie Lusch

Towry connects on game-winner for Rogue team

If Kylie Towry worked in the newspaper business, she'd be the star reporter.

The South Medford freshman would leave the headline writing to somebody else.

Towry was author of a sensational performance on Saturday evening, scoring a team-high 18 points and knocking down the game-winning jump shot as the Rogues rallied to edge the Siskiyous, 71-70, in the third annual Mail Tribune All-Star Basketball Classic.

The wild contest, held inside the jam-packed Kids Unlimited Gym, featured some of the best high school players from Class 1A to 6A in Southern Oregon.

Towry had no trouble composing the award-winning piece — she was named Most Valuable Player — but afterward, she vacillated over a headline.

"I really don't know," she said. "Game winner? I don't know."

Towry knocked down three 3-pointers, all with less than five minutes left in the game, and the Rogues overcame a 16-point deficit with 5:33 to go. With her team trailing 70-69 and 10 seconds left, she rolled off a screen and buried a hurried jumper to make the news.

"We isolated Kylie on a screen and roll," said Rogues coach Lynn Kennedy, the Southern Oregon University women's head coach. "They were sagging down in the first half on Tess (Picknell) with two or three people on her. That cleared the lane and allowed us to penetrate and drive. We hit Katie (Patton) first, then Kylie was able to drive and get that shot."

Kelsey George (Phoenix) had 14 points, Veronica Valdez (St. Mary's) 11 and Patton (Ashland) 10 for the Rogues. Aleena Cesaro (Cascade Christian) turned in eight points and Picknell (South Medford) added five points and several big blocks.

George, a senior, finished her high school career as the Pirates' all-time leader in points and assists.

Crater's Jen Noon was equally special, recording a game-high 20 points and sinking three 3-pointers for the Siskiyous. Teammate Leona Steel (Crater) scored 13 points, Heather Wonsyld (Grants Pass) had 12 and Jacquie Nicholson (North Valley) added 10.

"It was a lot of fun getting to know other athletes around the county," said Noon, who had 13 points in the first half.

The Rogues scored 14 straight points — including nine from Towry and four by Patton — to take a one-point lead with under a minute left. Steel powered to the basket and scored with 14 seconds to go to recapture the lead for the Siskiyous.

After that it was all Towry, who turned in her best shot just before deadline.

"It didn't come out the way we planned it, but we went with it," Towry said.

The Siskiyous led 34-29 at halftime.

"It took a lot of heart and effort to come through," Towry said. "I don't know — we just kind of went with it, run and gun. I was thinking if we all came together we could all play really hard."

Nicholson and Steel sparked an 18-3 run late in the second half with six points each.

"To come down to a final shot was great," said Siskiyous coach Scott Meredith, the Oregon Tech women's head coach. "That's how an all-star game should be. For the players, it's a reward for them for having outstanding seasons, and for the fans, it's great. They made the play and hats off to them."

Led by George, the Rogues kept in the game at the free-throw line in the first half, struggling to establish much offensive rhythm elsewhere.

"We had an hour practice on Thursday and we couldn't miss, so I was thinking we probably won't make anything Saturday," Kennedy said. "The first 30 minutes we were getting great shots, we just weren't able to hit any of them. Then they built some confidence and got on a roll.

"Before you know it, it's a game. It tells a lot about the kids. Both kids played hard, but our kids stuck with it and were able to pull it out."

Karissa Dixon, a standout at North Medford, was unable to play due to illness.

ROGUES (71) — Kylie Towry 18, Kelsey George 14, Veronica Valdez 11, Katie Patton 10, Aleena Cesaro 8, Tess Picknell 5, Drew Van Vleck 3, Sande Wood 2, Laurissa Tausaga 0. 23 20-32 71.

SISKIYOUS (70) — Jen Noon 20, Leona Steel 13, Heather Wonsyld 12, Jacquie Nicholson 10, Dana Powell 7, Lexie Kappel 4, Mariah Moore 2, Alyssa Maurer 2, Alexis Zeller 0, Mariah Moore 0. 27 11-15 70.

Rogues 29 42 — 71

Siskiyous 34 36 — 70

3-point goals — Rogues 5 (Towry 3, Van Vleck 1, George 1); Siskiyous 5 (Noon 3, Powell 1, Wonsyld 1).

Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or e-mail

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