The Philomath High School boys basketball team saw its season come to an end Friday night with a 59-49 loss at Henley in the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs.
The Warriors finish with an overall record of 13-12 while Henley moves on to the state tournament next week at Forest Grove with a 17-7 record.
In a game that had been close most of the way, the Hornets were able to pull away over the final three minutes. Philomath trailed just 44-42 following a 3-pointer by senior Ethan Manning. A short time later, sophomore Michael Lundy buried a trey to keep the Warriors to within 47-45.
But Henley had all the answers the rest of the way. Seconds after the Lundy 3, Hornets senior Dale Fenters scored and drew a foul. With the free throw conversion, Henley led 50-45 with 1:40 remaining. Seconds later, Henley senior Andrew Reynolds came up with a steal and officials called a foul on the other end. His free throws made it 52-45 and the Warriors were not able to recover. The rest of the game was played at the free-throw line.
“We were right there … it was a one-possession game and we had a couple of calls that definitely did not go our way that were very questionable that hurt us bad,” PHS coach Blake Ecker said in reference to an offensive charge and on the other end, a blocking call on the Warriors.
Senior Marshall Brattain scored a team-high 17 points for the Philomath. Manning finished with 13 points and junior Toby Stueve scored 11. Manning and Brattain had a strong presence inside for the Warriors and on the boards, Ecker said.
Fenters had 22 points and Reynolds scored 19 to lead Henley.
“We know it’s rough coming down here … but our kids did a good job of handling their physicality,” Ecker said. “They didn’t back down and my hat’s off to our young men that kept battling and playing hard.”
Neither team hit much early on but Fenters buried a pair of 3-pointers in the game’s first four minutes for an 8-5 lead. The Warriors responded with a 6-0 run to take their first lead of the game. Lundy scored and then Brattain hit back-to-back shots for an 11-8 advantage.
The two teams traded hoops for a couple of minutes before Philomath finished the quarter strong for a 16-12 lead. Manning scored after grabbing an offensive rebound following a missed 3-pointer and then Stueve hit his second trey of the quarter for the four-point advantage.
In the second, Philomath slowed things down and continued to crash the glass hard to hang on to its lead. Stueve hit a layup and Manning nailed a 3-pointer for a 21-14 lead more than 3 minutes into the quarter.
But the Warriors would score only two more points the rest of the half. Henley closed the quarter on a 10-2 run to take a 24-23 lead into the break. Reynolds scored five points in the final 30 seconds of the half.
In the third, the two teams battled back and forth. Brattain was finding success inside and he had baskets for a 26-24 lead and later to tie the game at 28-28 and again at 30-30. The only other points of the quarter for PHS came on free throws — Stueve early on and Manning in the final minute.
Henley took a 37-32 lead into the fourth quarter.
Philomath scored the first four points of the final period with Brattain hitting and then Stueve going coast-to-coast for a hoop to make it 37-36. Senior Calvin Snuggerud later scored to cut Henley’s lead to 39-38.
With 5:04 remaining, things got a little heated when Henley junior Matthew Neubert and Philomath’s Stueve continued to battle for the ball after the official’s whistle.
“Toby was right there on the ball, both guys were on the ball but there was no possession and they get a timeout and get the ball back,” Ecker said. “Nobody had possession.”
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After the game resumed, Fenters hit a jumper and Reynolds nailed a 3-pointer for a 44-38 Henley lead.
Snuggerud made 1 of 2 free throws with 3:25 left to cut the deficit to five and Manning followed later with his 3-pointer that made it 44-42 to set up the final stretch.
The Warriors experienced some challenges in the days leading up to Friday’s game because of the cancellation of classes twice because of snow.
“We were able to have an optional one on Wednesday, but it was kind of a last-second deal and it was tough to have the kids be mentally focused that day,” Ecker said. “So it’s like we lost two days of practice.”
Ecker said it was a tough year, but he put it in perspective.
“I think about 2017 when we made the final eight. Here, we were a play or two from winning this game. The score was not indicative of how close it was,” Ecker said. “If we win this game, we’re in the final eight and you never know what can happen there. All of a sudden, if you win a game, you’re better than that 2017 team that was coming off a state title (in 2016). We were that close to changing things. It was a tough year, many ups and downs overall.”
Philomath will lose four players off the squad to graduation — Snuggerud, Manning, Brattain and Duane Hellesto. Ecker said he appreciates the efforts that each of them put in.
“Not many kids make it through our program … from year to year, there’s only three to four that make it out of 50, 60 boys,” Ecker said. “Those boys are pretty special. To make it in our program, they have to be good people, too, and that’s huge.”
Henley 59, Philomath 49
Friday at Klamath Falls
PHILOMATH (13-12) 16 7 9 17 — 49
HENLEY (17-7) 12 12 13 22 — 59
Philomath: Marshall Brattain 8 1-2 17, Ethan Manning 3 5-6 13, Toby Stueve 4 1-2 11, Michael Lundy 2 0-0 5, Calvin Snuggerud 1 1-2 3, Ben Reams 0 0-0 0, Dylan Bennett 0 0-0 0, Carter O’Hare 0 0-0 0, Duane Hellesto 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 8-12 49.
Henley: Dale Fenters 6 7-9 22, Andrew Reynolds 7 3-4 19, Blake Loney 3 2-5 8, Braden Lawrie 3 0-0 6, Matthew Neubert 2 0-0 4, Mason Snider 0 0-0 0, Seth Howe 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 12-18 59.