The Philomath High School girls basketball team won its third straight game Friday with a 44-35 victory over Douglas in a tournament at Elmira.
The Warriors now head into a needed break with their next contest not until Jan. 5. Philomath played three games this week in less than 45 hours.
Despite the fight against fatigue and struggling with parts of their game, the Warriors got the job done against Douglas.
"Overall we just had a poor game, but good teams find ways to win when they have off nights and we did that on the road," PHS coach Dave Garvin said.
Sophomore Emma Pankalla made 6-of-13 shots and 5 of 7 free throws for a game-high 17 points. She also had five steals and two assists. Junior Lauren Berklund had a team-high seven boards and scored eight points. Senior Haidyn Ecker had nine points, six rebounds and four blocks.
Garvin said the Warriors had issues on the boards, which were reflected in the final statistics. Douglas had a considerable advantage on the glass at 46-23.
On offense, the Warriors shot just 28.1 percent and Garvin said that included 19 misses on layups or point-blank shots. But on defense, Philomath allowed Douglas to shoot 23.9 percent.
"The real saving grace of the game was that we committed just eight turnovers while forcing 32," Garvin said. "Our best game of the year, by far, in taking care of the basketball."
Philomath maintained a lead of five to eight points for most of the game. The Warriors led 13-6 after one quarter with senior Carrie Lillis hitting a deep 3-pointer before the buzzer.
In the second quarter, Douglas had the upper hand by three points to cut its deficit to 19-15 at the break.
Garvin saw an energized team come out for the second half and the Warriors had a nice run that included working the ball inside. Douglas persevered, however, trailed by just three points going into the fourth quarter.
Philomath's starting lineup then took a hit early in the fourth with Ecker and Pankalla both forced to the bench with four fouls apiece. The Warriors led 31-29 with a little over five minutes remaining when all the starters returned. But then Douglas tied the score.
"When it became gut-check time, we stepped up and took the lead back and then extended it for the win," Garvin said.
Ecker scored after an offensive rebound and Pankalla made a back-door cut, took a pass from senior Reiley Reichhuber and scored for a 33-31 lead. Pankalla followed with a steal and on the possession, Berklund got an offensive board and scored for a four-point lead.
Reichhuber hit a couple of free throws on the front end of 1-and-1 opportunities and Pankalla sank 4 of 4 foul shots down the stretch.
Garvin said senior Bree Couture played well off the bench in the post position and junior Riley Weaver "was a lock-down defender for us."
The coach added that he felt "in the mental game, I think we made another big stride in believing in ourselves and digging down deep to get the job done."
Philomath has a No. 7 spot in the OSAA rankings heading into the weekend. The Warriors' four losses have comes to the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in 4A, the No. 1 team in 3A and the No. 1 team in 2A. With the team getting healthier each week, Garvin expects the Warriors to be competitive when conference play arrives Jan. 16.
"Right now, the Oregon West looks like it far and away is the toughest league in the state so we are going to have to be much stronger in January and February," he said.
Philomath 44, Douglas 35
Friday at Elmira
DOUGLAS (3-6) 6 9 12 8 — 35
PHILOMATH (6-4) 13 6 11 14 — 44
Douglas: Amy Dickover 3 4-5 10, Kaylie Hall 1 5-6 7, Ayana Parson 1 3-4 5, Lainey Rincon 2 1-2 5, Calyisa Anderson 2 0-0 4, Mila Polamalu 2 0-0 4, Taylor Davis 0 0-0 0. Totals 11 13-17 35.
Philomath: Emma Pankalla 6 5-7 17, Haidyn Ecker 4 1-1 9, Lauren Berklund 4 0-2 8, Carrie Lillis 1 1-2 4, Reiley Reichhuber 0 4-8 4, Bree Couture 1 0-0 2, Riley Weaver 0 0-0 0, Mia Rust 0 0-0 0, Olivia Jahn-McClaren 0 0-0 0, Braedyn McNeely 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 11-20 44.
Team notes: The JV squad defeated Douglas Friday to improve to 10-0 on the season. ... The win came on the second day of a tournament in Elmira. ... The final score and statistics were not available. ... Philomath is scheduled to play next play Jan. 5 at home against Gladstone.