Corvallis High played like a Mid-Willamette Conference contender for two quarters Friday night.
Visiting South Albany, which had already clinched a 5A state round of 16 berth, responded with one of its best halves of the year to spoil the Spartans’ senior night.
South outscored the hosts 52-23 after the break to run away for a 77-56 road victory in the regular-season boys basketball finale for both teams. The Spartans (9-15, 5-9), who led 33-25 at halftime, will get a rematch with Churchill (17-7) in next week’s state play-in round.
The Lancers won the first meeting, 58-55, in Corvallis.
“It was a close game up here,” CHS coach Ross Duerfeldt said. “We know we are capable of beating them if we put together an effort of 32 minutes that we played in the first 16 tonight. If we do that, good things will happen for us.”
South (19-5, 12-2) senior Jake Costello led all players with 26 points. Costello had 17 after the break as the Rebels turned an eight-point halftime deficit into a rout.
“My teammates did a great job looking for me,” said Costello, a first-team all-MWC pick last year. “We felt like we could take advantage of a couple things, and they did a great job finding me.”
Jaden Guilford added 14 points for South while Kyle Miller recorded 10. Ten Rebels scored in the victory.
Sophomore Isaac Gabriel paced the Spartans with 11 points. Maxwell Johnson had nine points, Noah Greenblatt eight and Dyshawn Hobson seven.
South needed about 90 seconds to overcome an eight-point halftime deficit, going up 34-33 on a Costello elbow 3-pointer. Buckets from Miller and Costello pushed it to 38-33 to cap a 13-0 run.
Costello had 15 points in the period as South took a 50-44 lead into the fourth.
A nifty Miller layin gave South its first double-digit advantage of the evening at 54-44. Seth Cullison then knocked down a dagger 3 that essentially put it away at 59-45.
“It was up to what we’re capable of doing,” South coach Justin Smith said of the second-half performance. “We didn’t play real well in the first, and a lot of that was them doing a really good job. They beat us to loose balls, they were getting offensive rebounds, they just took us out of what we wanted to do. It was more on Corvallis playing really well than it was on us playing poorly.”
Following an Ivan Rodriguez 3, CHS put together an 8-0 run to grab an 8-3 lead early in the opening quarter. Hobson then found Johnson for an open corner 3 that made it 15-7.
The Spartans, who dropped their first meeting with South 67-50 in Albany, led 15-9 after one and went up 20-11 on a Roman Gabriel triple. The Rebels stormed right back with seven straight points, getting within two on a Guilford drive and finish.
Costello’s first made shot from beyond the arc tied it at 23, but a Greenblatt’s buzzer-beating 3 gave CHS a 33-25 lead at halftime.
“We communicated really well, we rotated really well on the defensive end,” Duerfeldt said of CHS’ first-half performance. “Offensively, we moved the ball well and guys knocking down shots certainly helps.”
Prior to the game, the Spartans honored eight seniors: Braydon Lebar, Seamus Hennessy, Parker Wright, Jonathan Ely, JD Pinion, Eugene Davis, Ephrem Borie and Hobson.