STAYTON — The Philomath High boys passed its first road test Friday night with a significant victory.
In a showdown between two top-10 Class 4A teams, the Warriors pulled away from the home squad in the second half and then held on late in the fourth quarter to post a 57-54 win.
“Last year, we came here and we got blown out and coming back this year, it feels a lot better getting that W,” senior Ben Reams said, “Especially against a top 10 team and the first game in league, it boosts our confidence greatly.”
The Warriors (9-2) had gone on a 13-4 run to end the first half for a 31-24 lead. Philomath never trailed again but the Eagles kept hanging around and got it down to a one-possession game at the end.
“We had three in a row really good possessions where we worked the clock and we had great shot opportunities and we just missed the shot,” PHS coach Blake Ecker said about the fourth. “If we convert those and maybe get one shot, it’s a totally different ballgame.”
The Warriors had the Eagles on the ropes with a nine-point lead with under 4 minutes remaining. Stayton’s Derek Berning hit a couple of baskets to keep his team in it and then Jacob Axmaker scored with 48 seconds left to cut Philomath’s lead to 54-50.
Most of the final 3-1/2 minutes were spent at the free-throw line with Stayton having the upper hand in that category. With 16 seconds left, Ben Rash scored off an offensive rebound to make the score 55-52. The two teams traded free throws to keep the margin at 3 and then Philomath missed a pair of foul shots with 4 seconds left to give Stayton one final shot.
On the rebound opportunity on the second missed free throw, the ball went out of bounds off the Warriors. Stayton had 3 seconds to try to score but Rash could only get off a desperation shot from around half-court.
“If we hit our free throws and maybe make a couple of more layups off of fouls, it would’ve been a whole different story,” Reams said. “Mike (Lundy) had one on the left side — wide-open layup, ended up missing it, but we stayed composed and got the win.”
Philomath freshman Ty May battled inside all night against a tough Stayton defense but finished with a game-high 17 points.
“Ty had a really good game,” Ecker said. “He got beat up pretty bad; they were physical with him inside and he’s taking it like a trooper. He was making some tough shots.”
Lundy hit double digits in scoring as well with 13 on the evening. Senior Dylan Edwards had 10 points.
On defense, it was business as usual with Stayton never really finding much of a rhythm. In the early going, the Eagles hit a trey for a quick 3-0 lead but Philomath responded with seven straight points over a 90-second span. May scored on a third-chance shot inside, then hit a jumper after a steal, and Lundy buried a 3-pointer for a 7-3 lead.
When Stayton scored on its second 3-pointer to cut the deficit to one, Philomath immediately answered with one of its own off the shot of Edwards. The game remained in that mode into the second quarter with Philomath getting a boost on the court when senior Toby Stueve checked in.
The Eagles took a 20-18 lead with 4:52 left in the half on a Rash 3-pointer. Philomath then went on that run, which started with May scoring after an offensive rebound and the Warriors taking the lead on a Lundy jump shot.
Stayton did tie the game at 22-22 but Philomath scored nine straight to set the tone going into the second half. During that run, May scored five points and senior Dylan Bennett finished a fast break.
In the second half, Stayton cut the lead to 35-34 at the 3:47 mark only to see Philomath come up with its latest response. May buried at 3-pointer at 3:11 and Lundy followed with a traditional three-point play at 1:32 to get the lead back up to 41-34. Reams hit a shot at the buzzer for a 43-38 advantage going into the fourth.
“They’re a good team, they shot the ball well, they execute well,” Ecker said. “It’s a great win for us ... we really battled for it.”
Rash led the Eagles (8-4) with 16 points.
Philomath will play at home Tuesday against Sweet Home before heading to Cascade on Friday.
Philomath 57, Stayton 54
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Friday at Stayton
PHILOMATH (9-2, 1-0) 14 17 12 14 — 57
STAYTON (8-4, 0-1) 10 14 14 16 — 54
Philomath: Ty May 7 2-9 17, Michael Lundy 5 2-3 13, Dylan Edwards 3 3-4 10, Ben Reams 2 2-4 6, Dylan Bennett 2 1-2 5, Toby Stueve 2 0-0 4, Brody Hiner 1 0-0 2, Cole Matthews 0 0-0 0, Dillon Olsen 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 10-22 57.
Stayton: Ben Rash 5 5-6 16, Derek Berning 3 3-3 10, Bryce Whieldon 4 1-1 9, Gabriel Wigginton 2 0-0 6, Jacob Axmaker 2 0-0 5, Jonathan Daniels 2 0-0 4, Logan Classen 1 0-0 2, Malachi Muhic 1 0-0 2, Quinton Strand 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 9-10 54.
Stayton 61, Philomath 50
Friday at Stayton
PHILOMATH 5 20 14 11 — 50
STAYTON 16 9 22 14 — 61
PHS scoring: Carson Gerding 12, Brody Bushnell 9, Mark Grimmer 8, Cameron Ordway 6, Garrett Hibbs 6, Logan Carter 5, Caleb Jensen 4, Dylan Bell 0, Chad Russell 0, Isaac Lattin 0, Micah Poole 0.
Team notes: The JV team’s record falls to 6-2 on the season. ... Philomath got into a big hole early with a 16-5 deficit through the first quarter. ... After the first, the two teams scored evenly at 45-45. ... Sophomore Carson Gerding had a team-high 12 points on five field goals with two of those 3-pointers. ... Mark Grimmer (two) and Logan Carter (one) also hit treys. ... The team plays at home Tuesday against Sweet Home and will hit the road Friday at Cascade. Those games have 4 p.m. tip-off times.
Junior Varsity II
Philomath 63, Stayton 30
Friday at Stayton
PHILOMATH 14 11 22 16 — 63
STAYTON 2 16 3 9 — 30
PHS scoring: Josh Peters 22, Isaiah Poole 10, Chad Russell 10, Micah Poole 8, Aaron Sapp 6, Garrett Wulk 4, Colton Hibbs 3, Dylan Bell 0, Dawson Clendenin 0, Eliason Hinds-Cook 0.
Team notes: The JVII squad remains unbeaten at 7-0. ... Freshman Josh Peters scored 22 points on 10 field goals and a couple of free throws. ... Sophomore Micah Poole buried two 3-pointers, both in the third quarter. ... Freshman Colton Hibbs also hit a 3. ... Next week, the teams plays Tuesday at home against Sweet Home and Friday at Cascade.