Right after Philomath High senior Matt Hamilton controlled the opening tip-off and the Warriors started the game on offense, the student section immediately started chanting, "It's all over ... it's all over ... it's all over."
The students couldn't have been more correct.
Philomath opened the game with a 19-1 run and tuned up for a Class 4A play-in game with a 69-34 rout over visiting Yamhill-Carlton.
"I think this was a great learning experience," PHS senior Nolan Jackson said. "There were a couple of times when I think we should've pulled back and ran through our offense and used this to get ready for our play-in game, but with that being said, I think this was also very good for us to get ready. It was a confidence booster for us."
Philomath ends the regular season with an overall record of 14-8 and ended up in a tie with Stayton in the Oregon West Conference's runner-up position. Newport took the league title by a game over the Warriors and Eagles.
"Our whole group played hard and it was a little bit different tonight," PHS coach Blake Ecker said. "We didn't do our normal defensive stuff but we gave them some traps and the kids did a good job of executing it. And it gave them fits and gave us energy for a good start. That's what we need, good starts, that helps tremendously."
Philomath will host a play-in game at 5 p.m. Saturday against North Valley.
"North Valley's got a big kid, I know that, and they do some zone," Ecker said about the Knights, which tied for third in the Skyline Conference. "We've just got to come out and do our thing and be prepared for whatever team we're going to play."
The Knights enter the game with an overall record of 11-12. Philomath and North Valley had four common opponents during the regular season and those results favor the Warriors. Philomath went 4-0 vs. those four teams, defeating Junction City (60-59), Sutherlin (57-44), Sweet Home (59-44) and Marshfield (54-46). North Valley went 1-5 against those same four schools with losses to Junction City (45-42), Sweet Home (36-22) and Sutherlin (46-34 and 56-33), and a split vs. Marshfield (53-28 loss and 35-30 win).
Philomath's game Wednesday against Yamhill-Carlton was played a day later than expected with poor weather conditions leading to a postponement. Playing on senior night, it seemed fitting that Philomath's top three scorers were all playing in their final regular-season home game.
Jackson scored 23 points on eight field goals, one of those a 3-pointer, and 6 of 9 free throws. Hamilton had 12 points on six field goals. Kenan Conner finished with nine points.
Yamhill-Carlton couldn't do anything on offense through most of the first half. In fact, all three of the Tigers' points in the first quarter came on free throws with the team not making a field goal until 3:05 remained in the half.
Jackson buried a 3-pointer to start the evening's scoring and Conner followed with a fast-break hoop. Hamilton then scored inside, both of those last two baskets featuring assists from Jackson.
"Every single guy on this team can score the ball," Jackson said. "I have confidence in them that they're going to score. It's really nice being able to do that."
After Y-C got on the board with a free throw past the halfway point of the first quarter, Philomath then scored 12 straight. Toby Stueve, sophomore, had a hand in half of those points scoring on a layup, forcing a turnover and getting the ball to Jackson for another two, and then stealing the ball in the backcourt and driving for a hoop.
Jackson and Conner both had three-point plays 50 seconds apart with baskets and free throws. Jackson also hit a pair of foul shots during that stretch.
Philomath led 31-3 before the Tigers made their first bucket and had a 38-9 advantage at the break.
In the second half, the Tigers were able to conjure up more offense while Philomath went about business as usual. Ecker cleared his bench during the second half of the fourth quarter with players like Dakota Kantor, Dylan Bennett and Devan Hunsaker seeing time. Michael Lundy, another swing player up from the junior varsity, has worked his way into a regular contributor off the bench.
Yamhill-Carlton ended the game with just nine field goals. The Tigers scored 16 of their points from the foul line.
Philomath 69, Yamhill-Carlton 34
Wednesday at Philomath
YAMHILL-CARLTON (3-21, 0-10) 3 6 15 10 — 34
PHILOMATH (14-8, 7-3) 19 19 20 11 — 69
Yamhill-Carlton: Chandler Morris 2 7-7 11, Jared Barrett 2 3-7 7, Jonathan McGhehey 2 0-0 4, Camden Myrick 1 2-2 4, Braden Frost 1 1-3 3, Decker Richmond 0 3-4 3, Shane Davis 1 0-0 2, Kyle Shipley 0 0-0 0, Ramon Avila 0 0-0 0, Joey McGhehey 0 0-0 0, Adam Fugate 0 0-0 0. Totals 9 16-23 34.
Philomath: Nolan Jackson 8 6-9 23, Matt Hamilton 6 0-1 12, Kenan Conner 4 1-3 9, Michael Lundy 2 3-3 8, Toby Stueve 4 0-2 8, Marshall Brattain 0 3-4 3, Tyler Pfarrer 1 0-0 2, Dakota Kantor 1 0-2 2, Dylan Bennett 1 0-1 2, , Calvin Snuggerud 0 0-0 0, Devan Hunsaker 0 0-0 0. Totals 27 13-25 69.
Philomath 58, Yamhill-Carlton 26
Wednesday at Philomath
YAMHILL-CARLTON 5 5 8 8 — 26
PHILOMATH 21 13 16 8 — 58
PHS scoring: Michael Lundy 18, Dakota Kantor 13, Duane Hellesto 6, Daniel Lundy 5, Dylan Bennett 5, Devan Hunsaker 5, Brandn Vogler 4, Jaden Williams 2, Mason Howard 0.
Team notes: Philomath's JV ends the season with a 19-1 record. ... The Warriors led 21-5 after the first and 34-10 at halftime. ... Michael Lundy played two quarters and scored 18 points on eight fields and a pair of free throws. Twelve of his points came in the first quarter. ... Dakota Kantor scored 13 points on six field goals and a free throw with eight in the third quarter alone. ... Lundy, Kantor and Dylan Bennett scored in both the varsity and JV games. ... Yamhill-Carlton could not reach double digits in any of the four quarters.
Junior Varsity II
Philomath 35, Yamhill-Carlton 34
Wednesday at Philomath
YAMHILL-CARLTON 7 5 12 10 — 34
PHILOMATH 6 4 18 7 — 35
PHS scoring: Mason Howard 9, Dillon Olsen 5, Grant Hellesto 5, Levi Knutson 4, Taylor Couture 4, Jaden Williams 4, Hunter Kaumanns 2, Chris Hamilton 2, JJ Rutledge 0, Pablo Gurturbay 0, Emmit Tutt-Lamberty 0.
Team notes: Philomath's JVII team finished the season with a 12-10 record. ... In another close game for the JVII Warriors, Philomath trailed 7-6 after the first and 12-10 at halftime before an 18-12 performance in the third. ... Mason Howard scored his team-high nine points on four field goals, one of which was a 3-pointer in the third quarter. ... Grant Hellesto and had a trey in the third and Dillon Olsen buried one in the fourth. .... Philomath shot just 2 of 10 from the foul line. ... More than two-thirds of Y-C's points were scored by two players.