Two weeks after leaving the C.E. Jeffers Center in Salem with broken hearts, the Southern Oregon men’s basketball team will look to return the favor on tonight as it returns for a semifinal game against Corban in the Cascade Conference Championships.
The sixth-seeded Raiders (20-10) and fourth-seeded Warriors (21-8) have a history of going down to the wire: Of their last 11 matchups, nine have been decided by six points or fewer and three have gone to overtime.
But they produced their wildest finish yet on Feb. 8, when the Warriors hit one buzzer-beating 3-pointer to force overtime and another to force double-OT before winning, 94-92.
Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. Corban has won eight of its last nine games — including two overtime victories and one OT loss — and will be hosting a semifinal for the first time since 2002.
SOU is coming off a win over third-seeded Northwest Christian, 78-77, on Wednesday.
The Raiders trailed by 13 just 10 minutes into the game but climbed back thanks in large part to Tez Allen and Tate Hoffman, who combined for 21 points before halftime to cut the deficit to one.
Trailing 46-43 in the second, they staged a 20-3 run highlighted behind Tristen Holmes’ three consecutive 3-point makes. Holmes, a senior guard, finished with 19 points and nine rebounds, while freshman guard Teron Bradford went for 12 points and 10 boards.
Also on Wednesday, Corban hung on for an 80-75 win over Eastern Oregon as AJ Hodges scored 19 to lead four Warriors in double figures and the Mountaineers missed a potential game-tying shot with five seconds left.
The semifinal winners will play on Tuesday in a game that will air live on Root Sports Northwest and decide the conference’s second team to the national tournament.
SOU SWEEPS: At Belmont, Calif., third-ranked Southern Oregon produced shutouts in both ends of a doubleheader for only the second time in 16 years, defeating Notre Dame de Namur (Calif.) 4-0 in seven innings and 10-0 in five.
Junior pitcher Gabby Sandoval took care of Game 1, recording a career-high 11 strikeouts in a two-hitter that made her 5-1. Freshman Jordyn Ragan worked the first three innings and senior Morgan Jones finished off Game 2 as they combined to give up just three hits.
The Raiders improved to 10-1. Their defense played error-free for the third and fourth times in five games. Three of their four runs were unearned in the opener and they erupted for an eight-run third inning in Game 2.
NDNU, an NCAA Division II member of the Pacwest Conference, fell to 0-7.
In the opener, in the third inning, Avery Morehead-Hutsell singled and scored on Hannah Shimek’s squeeze bunt. A dropped fly ball enabled Shimek to score later in the inning, and in the fourth Lauren Quirke delivered a two-out RBI single.
Quirke went 3-for-4 with a double and Morehead-Hutsell went 2-for-3 with two runs.
In Game 2, five walks led to SOU’s big third inning. Shimek cashed in with a three-run triple, Tiana Brown with a two-run single and Lauren Quirke with an RBI single, while Allie Stines drew a bases-loaded walk. Paige Leeper, whose run-scoring single put SOU up 2-0 in the first, added a sacrifice fly.
Olivia Mackey was the only Raider with two hits.