ABBY’S CLASSIC: Titans tip Tornado in OT
The effort is there, as is the teamwork and camaraderie.
The only thing missing for North Medford’s boys basketball team has been an ability to finish off games to secure victories, and that dynamic rose up again to bite the Black Tornado in its first contest in the Abby’s Holiday Classic.
North Medford battled back-and-forth with visiting West Salem throughout Wednesday’s championship semifinal, using a driving basket by Houston Klug to force an overtime that then saw the Tornado come up short, 59-56.
The loss dropped the hard-luck Black Tornado to 1-8 overall this season, while West Salem improved to 4-6.
“When we got to overtime I actually thought this might give us a real chance to win the game because we’ve been spoiling our chances all these other times,” said North Medford head coach Scott Plankenhorn. “Actually to finally get there I thought maybe we might get over the hump, but again we failed to execute late multiple times.”
Klug finished with a game-high 20 points, but his own turnover on an attempted low-post pass to Owen Scott opened the extra session, and then Scott was called for an illegal screen on North’s second possession.
That all seemed to be a moot point after the Tornado kept the Titans scoreless as well, and with two free throws by Davis Carr, suddenly North had a 56-54 advantage and two minutes to hold on.
Jackson Leach answered with a driving basket with a left-handed finish moments later and, after a missed 3-pointer by Carr, Tommy Slack scored on a give-and-go from Jimmy Lathen following an inbounds play with 30 seconds remaining to build a 58-56 lead.
The Black Tornado used a timeout to set up a potential tying or go-ahead basket but the play was slow to develop after tight defense by the Titans and Leach ultimately was able to steal the ball away from point guard Andrew Plankenhorn.
“Right there at the end obviously we turned it over but we didn’t execute the play at all so we didn’t have any chance as it was,” said coach Plankenhorn. “We know what the play is but we don’t execute the way it’s supposed to be, and teams aren’t just going to let you run your stuff.”
Leach was immediately fouled and made the second of his two foul shots with 8.5 seconds remaining and Plankenhorn’s 3-point attempt in traffic at the buzzer was no good.
“We definitely had momentum going into it,” Klug said of the OT session. “Turnovers just killed us once again.”
“We’re always close with all these teams, a couple top-5 teams and top-10 teams, we’re right there and then we just lose it because of turnovers,” added the 6-foot-3 junior. “We can definitely come back, we just need to turn it around.”
North Medford will have its next shot at 3:30 p.m. in the third-place game against Nelson, while West Salem will square off with South Medford at 5:15 for the championship in the 32nd annual event.
“It’s a tough one but we’re just gonna keep playing,” said coach Plankenhorn. “For 1-8, I don’t know ... the kids are playing hard, we’re just going to keep plugging away.”
“We’re playing hard, I love the way we’re competing, hopefully we get one soon,” he added.
Carr and Miguel Torres each finished with seven points for the Tornado, while Easton Curtis came off the bench to knock down a pair of big 3-pointers — including one at the halftime buzzer to give North a 33-27 lead heading into the break.
Scott had seven rebounds and two blocked shots, Ty Carpenter pulled in six boards, while Plankenhorn had four assists and Corban Young pulled in six boards with two blocked shots for North.
“We’re seeing lots of good stuff, it’s just the failure to execute at timely parts of the game,” said coach Plankenhorn. “Until we figure out how to get that, we’re going to keep losing, it’s just the fact of life. I don’t have any bad teams on my schedule so I can’t give you an easy win. Everybody’s tough and we’ve just got to play well down the stretch.”
West Salem used a pair of rebound baskets by Lathen and a transition basket by Kaiden Martirano to counter North’s scoring in the fourth quarter and saw Connor Oertel provide an offensive spark with 15 points and a handful of assists.
Lathen finished with 13 points and eight rebounds and Leach scored 12 with four assists and six rebounds.
“They’re a well-schooled team,” coach Plankenhorn said of the Titans. “We had to match their physicality and I thought we did all the things we talked about having to do until a couple late plays again cost us. It’s a bummer to keep saying that but that’s where we’re at every game now. There’s been the Westview blowout but every other game we’re in the fourth quarter late with chances to win but we just haven’t figured out how to get one.”
WEST SALEM (59): Leach 12, Slack 8, Luke 3, Goodrich 4, Lathen 13, Martirano 2, Oertel 15, Whipple 2. Totals: 24 7-16 59.
NORTH MEDFORD (56): Carpenter 2, Klug 20, Walker 0, Carr 7, Torres 7, Plankenhorn 5, Curtis 6, Young 1, Kelly 3, Scott 5. Totals: 20 9-14 56.
West Salem1611198 5— 59
North Medford1518138 2— 56
3-point goals — West Salem 4 (Slack 1, Luke 1, Lathen 1, Oertel 1), North Medford 7 (Klug 2, Carr 1, Torres 1, Plankenhorn 1, Curtis 2).
SOUTH MEDFORD 60, NELSON 57: Jackson Weiland hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 50-all midway through the fourth quarter and the Panthers followed with a 7-2 run to gain a narrow lead and hold on to advance into Thursday’s championship game.
Boden Howell scored nine of his game-high 26 points in the fourth quarter and Weiland finished with 21 points, four assists, four steals and five rebounds for South Medford, which will be seeking its first Abby’s Holiday Classic title since 2012 at 5:15 p.m. Thursday against West Salem at North Medford High.
The Panthers (6-4) had opened a 10-point lead by halftime but a 12-0 run by Nelson that capitalized on five straight one-and-done missed shots by South allowed the Hawks to pull even at 36-all midway through the third quarter.
Nelson (3-5) led 45-41 entering the final quarter but the Panthers saw Howell score off an assist from Ty Henry with two minutes remaining to go up 25-52 and, after a defensive stop, Howell was fouled on a drive to the basket and converted a three-point play that created a cushion for a game that went down to the wire.
CJ Borin scored 22 points and Reid Gray had 14 points and 10 rebounds for Nelson, which will play in the third-place final at 3:30 p.m. Thursday.
NELSON (57): Kamara 0, Womack 0, Townsend 5, Borin 22, Lewis 7, Gray 14, Man 0, Heard 9. Totals: 20 14-15 57.
SOUTH MEDFORD (60): Edgar 3, Sewell 5, Weiland 21, Howell 26, Shuldberg 3, Henry 2, Akpan 0, Espinosa 0. Totals: 19 14-18 60.
South Medford1420719— 60
Nelson 3 (Townsend 1, Lewis 1, Gray 1), South Medford 8 (Edgar 1, Sewell 1, Weiland 3, Howell 2, Shuldberg 1). Fouled out — Espinosa.
LA SALLE PREP 52, ASHLAND 44: Ashland got a lift off the bench from Reed Barnard and Jaydan Hermogenes but couldn’t completely erase an early 23-point deficit in dropped the consolation semifinal contest.
Izzy Golden knocked down three of Ashland’s six 3-pointers to finish with 12 points while Hermogenes had eight points and Azure McNamara added seven points for the Grizzlies.
Ashland trimmed its deficit to 50-44 with the ball and about one minute to play but a driving attempt by Hermogenes rolled off the rim and the Grizzlies were unable to convert thereafter.
Finbar O’Brien contributed 14 points and Nick Robertson had 12 to pace La Salle Prep (4-4), which will play North Eugene at 1:45 p.m. Thursday in the fourth-place final.
With an odd number of teams in the tournament, Ashland finishes with only two games in the event.
LA SALLE PREP (52): Robertson 12, Frick 5, Cate 0, Ceballos 5, O’Brien 14, Jansen 10, Ellison 6, Barnes 0. Totals: 19 8-13 52.
ASHLAND (44): Stowasser 0, Lehnerz 4, Golden 12, Wright 4, Thompson 6, Nogues 0, Hermogenes 8, McNamara 7, Barnard 3. Totals: 16 6-10 44.
La Salle Prep1319137— 52
3-point goals — La Salle Prep 6 (Frick 1, Ceballos 1, O’Brien 2, Jansen 2), Ashland 6 (Golden 3, Nogues 1, Hermogenes 1, McNamara 1).
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