Casey Campbell | Gazette-Times (12/4/07) Philomath's David Sturner drives the lane against Cottage Grove.

(The following reprinted by permission from the Corvallis Gazette-Times.)



18-7, Val-Co League Champions


Blake Ecker, sixth season


David Sturner, (Sr. F), Derek Davis (Sr. PG), Dan Haynes (Jr. F)


Trevor Motter (Jr. W), Ky Fisher (Sr. F), Kasra Azizian (Sr. F), Cody Thomas (So. G), Carson Howard (Jr. G)


David Sturner (second-team all-league) and Derek Davis will anchor the Warriors this year. “We are not quite as experienced as last year but we should be in the running for the league title. Sweet Home and Central look to be strong in league also.” Ecker.

Boys Basketball 2007-2008 Schedule

Philomath 42, Molalla 41

MOLALLA (11/27) — Philomath switched zone defenses and the Warriors shut down Molalla in the second quarter en route to a 46-41 non-league win in the boys basketball game.

Philomath (1-0) trailed 16-12 at the end of the first. Coach Blake Ecker put the Warriors in the one-three-one zone and held Molalla to six points in the second and third quarters.

“That really bothered them,” Ecker said. “They were really hesitant in attacking it.”

The Warriors had the first-game jitters on offense early, but Kasra Azizian scored all 10 of his points in the first half to keep them going. Azizian also had five rebounds and four assists.

The Warriors play at Pleasant Hill on Thursday.

Philomath 46, Molalla 41

PHILOMATH 12 14 8 12 n 46

MOLALLA 16 6 6 13 n 41

Philomath: Kasra Azizian 10, Derek Davis 10, Straub 6, Motter 5, Sturner 7, Haynes 6, Fisher 2, Thomas, Howard

Molalla: Terrence Glynn 17, Moore 6, Sprague 11, McCullough 3, Kemp 2, Newton 2, Schaefer, Morales, Eppler

JV: Molalla 50, Philomath 44. Freshmen: PHS won.

Philomath 63, Pleasant Hill 37

PLEASANT HILL (11/29) — A strong defensive effort and resilient offensive performance allowed Philomath High to collect a 63-37 victory over Pleasant Hill on Thursday in a nonleague boys basketball game.

David Sturner led all scorers with 22 points for the Warriors (2-0).

“We did some things defensively that kind of confused them,” PHS coach Blake Ecker said. “It was a good team effort. We played really hard and hard work definitely pays off.”

After missing a number of shots in the first half, the Warriors hit the boards harder in the second half and started hitting their shots in the second half. They turned a 29-20 halftime lead into a 17-point edge entering the fourth quarter.

The Warriors will host Cottage Grove on Monday.

Philomath 63, Pleasant Hill 37

PHILOMATH 15 14 12 22 — 63

PLEASANT HILL 9 11 4 13 — 37

Philomath: David Sturner 22, Azizian 9, Straub 6, Davis 5, Howard 4, Haynes 7, Thomas 3, Fisher 7, Motter, Murphree

Pleasant Hill: Arnold 8, Beagle 1, Clancy 2, Tendiek 5, Rexius 6, A. Jordan 7, K. Jordan 4, Kenworthy 2, Brink, Onder, Davis, Johnson, Nelson

JV: Pleasant Hill won.

Frosh: Pleasant Hill won

Philomath 41, Cottage Grove 34 Casey Campbell | Gazette-Times. Philomath’s David Sturner grabs a rebound against Cottage Grove. Sturner had 22 points and 13 rebounds in the victory. Casey Campbell/ Gazette-Times (12/4/07) Philomath's Derek Davis drives the lane toward the basket during the Warriors' game against Cottage Grove.

WARRIORS WORK FOR WIN By Raju Woodward Gazette-Times Reporter

Cottage Grove puts up a fight after falling behind in first quarter

PHILOMATH (12/3) — After one quarter, it appeared the Philomath High boy’s basketball team was well on its way to its third victory of the season.

The Warriors led Cottage Grove 13-4 after the first as 6-foot-7 senior David Sturner scored nine points for the Warriors in the quarter.

“I was really looking forward to coming out strong,” Sturner said. “The last two games I didn’t come out as strong as I wanted to. So I attacked the hoop and that opened things up for everyone else.”

The Lions, however, came storming back in the second quarter and the game was close the rest of the way as the Warriors held on to win the nonleague game 41-34.

“It was definitely back and fourth,” PHS coach Blake Ecker said. “I definitely would have liked more consistency. I think the way the game was played, and the officiating not being consistent, it was hard to get a good flow going.”

Cottage Grove turned to its own big man in the second quarter to keep things close. Shaun Culp, a 6-6 senior, scored seven points, mostly off putbacks. As a result, PHS went to halftime up by four.

The Warriors (3-0) came out in the second half determined to stop Culp and succeeded, despite using undersized players to contain him.

“Dan Haynes and Ky Fisher did a great job on him,” Ecker said. “Also, Dustin Straub did a nice job with backside help. We were able to get our hands in and know the ball away from the backside.”

Culp was held to four points in the second half and was pretty much a nonfactor down the stretch due to fatigue.

Despite holding the Lions to seven points in the third, PHS was unable to pull way, due to poor free-throw shooting. Sturner scored five of the Warriors’ seven points in the quarter. However, he shot just 1-for-6 from the line. Sturner sank all four of his attempts in the first half.

“I don’t know what happened,” Sturner said. “After missing the first two, I lost some confidence. I tried to work through it and put some in but it didn’t work out too well.”

He wasn’t much better in the fourth, missing 3 of 4 attempts. Sturner finished 6 of 14 from the line in the game. His teammates picked up the slack, though, after the Lions pulled within 38-34 on 3-pointer by Jesse Westbrook with 40 seconds left.

Trevor Motter sank his second pair of free throws in the fourth quarter seconds later to push the Warriors’ lead to 40-34.

Sturner finished with a double-double, scoring a game-high 22 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. Motter added nine points and Haynes had 10 rebounds.

Culp led the Lions with 11 points and was their only player in double digits.

Ecker credited Motter with containing Westbrook, who is Cottage Grove’s best shooter. The 3-pointer was his only field goal of the game.

“Trevor had a great game defensively. He did a great job getting in the passing lanes and guarding their best shooter. He always had his hand up in his guy’s face.”

Philomath will play at Tillamook on Thursday.

Philomath 41, Cottage Grove 34

COTTAGE GROVE 4 14 7 9 34

PHILOMATH 13 9 7 12 41

Cottage Grove: Shaun Culp 11, Biglay 8, Besser 4, Westbrook 3, Allen 3, Black 3, Nowak 2, Hurd

Philomath: David Sturner 22, Motter 9, Fisher 4, Davis 2, Haynes 2, Straub 1, Thomas 1, Howard, Azizian, Steves, Whiteman

JV: Cottage Grove 40, Philomath 34

Philomath 63, Tillamook 44

Gazette-Times (12/07/07)

TILLAMOOK - David Sturner had 21 points, Derek Davis 16 and Dan Haynes 14 as the Philomath High boys basketball team remained undefeated with a 64-44 nonleague win over Tillamook on Thursday night.

The Warriors (4-0) held Tillamook to five points in the second quarter to go up 29-20 at the half, then outscored the Cheesemakers 21-11 in the third to break it open.

Philomath’s man-to-man defense gave the Cheesemakers trouble in the second quarter.

Sturner added 11 rebounds, three assists and five blocks for the Warriors, who travel to Phoenix on Saturday.

Philomath 63, Tillamook 44

PHILOMATH 19 10 12 21 - 63

TILLAMOOK 15 5 11 13 - 44

Philomath: David Sturner 21, Davis 16, Haynes 15, Motter 8, Thomas 2, Straub 1, Stout, Fisher, Stevens, Crowell

Tillamook: Kuehwert 14, Baertlin 11, Oldencamp 11, Wetzel 4, Bryant 2, Begin, Blum, Rodriguez

JV: Tillamook won

Frosh: Tillamook won

Philomath 41, Phoenix 49

Gazette Times (12/9/07)

PHOENIX - The short-handed Warriors faltered in the second half and could not recover in the nonleague loss.

Philomath (4-1) played with six players and had trouble with the physical Phoenix lineup. The Warriors were outscored 30-11 in the second half, including 20-6 in the fourth quarter.

“I though they plain and simple came out and outplayed us in the second half,” PHS coach Blake Ecker said. “They were physical and we didn’t respond to that challenge.”

The Warriors began the season with nine players available and are down to six due to injuries, personal issues and academics.

David Sturner had 19 points, 19 rebounds and five blocks for PHS.

The Warriors host Cascade on Tuesday.

Phoenix 49, Philomath 41

PHILOMATH 17 13 5 6 - 41

PHOENIX 13 6 10 20 - 49

Philomath: David Sturner 19, Motter 9, Haynes 7, Straub 4, Davis 2, Thomas

Phoenix: Barrett 12, Shepherd 10, Robinson 8, Locken 3, Workman 3, George 10, Emmerson 3

JV: Phoenix won. Freshmen: Phoenix won.

Philomath 56, Cascade 51

PHILOMATH Gazette Times (12/12/07) David Sturner scored 18 points and Derek Davis added 10 for Philomath in a home win against Cascade.

The Warriors (5-1) survived a fourth-quarter rally by the Cougars thanks to strong second and third quarters.

Trevor Motter had eight assists for Philomath, while Sturner led the team in rebounds with nine.

Philomath 56, Cascade 51

CASCADE 11 8 10 22 51

PHILOMATH 11 13 15 17 56

Cascade: Lowder 17, Williams 13, Coots 9, Hudspeth 8, Hibdon 2, Curnin, Smith, Audiss, Holloway.

Philomath: David Sturner 18, Davis 10, Motter 8, Straub 7, Haynes 5, Fisher 5, Thomas 3.

JV: Philomath 50, Cascade 41

Philomath 53, Marist 52

Warriors rally, slip by Marist

Gazette-Times (12/15/07)

EUGENE Derek Davis hit two free throws with 20 seconds left to give the Philomath High boys basketball team a three-point lead and the Warriors ran the clock out on No. 2 Marist to claim a 53-52 nonleague victory.

After Davis’ free throws, Marist called a timeout and Philomath (6-1) switched its defense and forced the Spartans to settle for a layin.

“We didn’t want them to get a three-pointer, and by the time they figured out the defense and got the layin, there was only four seconds left,” PHS coach Blake Ecker said.

David Sturner then held the ball out of bounds as the clock expired.

Sturner led all scorers with 24 points.

Philomath trailed 47-36 entering the fourth quarter, but Sturner made back-to-back 3-pointers and the Spartans concentrated on him the rest of the half. That opened the lanes for Davis and Trevor Motter, who combined for 19 points.

Philomath hosts No. 1 Junction City on Tuesday

Philomath 53, Marist 52

PHILOMATH 8 15 13 17 53

MARIST 16 15 16 5 52

Philomath: David Sturner 24, Derek Davis 11, Motter 8, Straub 2, Haynes 2, Thomas 2, Fisher 4, Knudson

Marist: David Berney 18, Murray 13, Waldron 9, Clemens 6, Price 2, Houser, Bustrin 2, Milligan, Engelmann, Martin

JV: Marist won

Frosh: Philomath won

Philomath 34, Junction City 40

Philomath boys fall short at home

Gazette-Times (12/19/07)

PHILOMATH - The Philomath High boys basketball team failed to execute on offense and dropped a 40-34 nonconference decision to Junction City in a battle of top-4 teams on Tuesday night.

David Sturner led the No. 4-ranked Warriors with 19 points and 12 rebounds, but the second-ranked Tigers kept Sturner’s teammates at bay.

“Once they got the lead, they were able to spread it out a little bit,” PHS coach Blake Ecker said. “We had opportunities but were unable to capitalize.”

The Warriors are on the road at Yamhill-Carlton on Friday.

Junction City 40, Philomath 34

JUNCTION CITY 13 11 9 7 - 40

PHILOMATH 10 8 8 8 - 34

Junction City: Wheadon 14, Tumer 9, Garner 6, Lighty-Powell 5, Martin 4, Hazelton 2, Parks

Philomath: David Sturner 19, Davis 5, Haynes 4, Motter 4, Straub 2, Thomas, Fisher

JV: Philomath 56, Junction City 46

Frosh: Junction City 37, Philomath 35

Philomath 45, Sweet Home 41

Sturner ignites Philomath’s win

Gazette-Times, 1-9-08

High School Boys Hoops

PHILOMATH - David Sturner returned from a bout with the flu to lead the Philomath High boys to a 45-41 Val-Co League win over Sweet Home.

Sturner missed three games but was feeling good enough to score 22 for the Warriors (9-4, 1-0), who held on for the win when Cody Thomas knocked down two free throws with less than a minute to go.

“It was nice to get David back. He was a big jump-start to our offense,” PHS coach Blake Ecker said. “He was pretty gassed tonight. By the end of the game he was pretty tired.”

The Warriors held a slim lead for most of the game and nearly let it slip away in the fourth.

“We got about a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter and kind of got in a comfort zone,” Ecker said.

It was a big win for the Warriors, who lost all three games to the Huskies last year.

“We kind of got that monkey off our back,” Ecker said. “It was nice to beat them.”

The Warriors were nearly at full strength for the first time since the start of the season. Kasra Azizian was back from a broken finger, but Dustin Straub missed the game due to illness.

The Warriors travel to Newport on Tuesday.

Philomath 45, Sweet Home 41

SWEET HOME 12 4 12 13 - 41

PHILOMATH 8 14 12 11 - 45

Sweet Home: Emmert 18, Kauffman 18, Cravill 2, Riggs 3, Hay, Olson, Moyer, Riggs, Marchbanks

Philomath: David Sturner 22, Davis 2, Motter 6, Azizian 5, Haynes 7, Thomas 3, Stephenson, Fisher, Knudson, Whiteman

JV: Philomath 54, Sweet Home 42.

Freshmen: Philomath 34, Sweet Home 31

Philomath 52, Central 47

Gazette-Times (1-18-08)

PHILOMATH — David Sturner rebounded a missed free throw and scored to ice the Val-Co League victory over Central.

The Warriors (10-5, 2-1) got a big lift off the bench from Dan Haynes, who scored eight points in the first quarter.

“Anytime you beat Central it’s a good win,” PHS coach Blake Ecker said. “Still, we feel that we didn’t play to our expectations. We didn’t take care of the ball like we should have.”

Philomath overcame 22 turnovers by outrebounding the Panthers 30-17 and hitting 10 of 19 free throw attempts. Central mad just 5 of 10 free throws.

Sturner had 22 points, 17 rebounds and four blocked shots to lead the Warriors.

Philomath plays at Taft on Tuesday.

Philomath 52, Central 47

CENTRAL 11 8 16 12 — 47

PHILOMATH 16 12 10 14 — 52

Central: Whiteman 20, Wallace 2, Pratt 4, Hedrick 6, Hamilton 11, King 2, Girard, Deardorff 2

Philomath: David Sturner 22, Haynes 8, Davis 7, Motter 6, Straub 4, Azizian 4, Stephenson 1, Thomas

JV: Central 51, Philomath 41

Frosh: Central 46, Philomath 43

Philomath 63 , Central 57

Gazette-Times (1-30-08)

MONMOUTH - Stiffer defense and David Sturner’s dunk of a missed shot sparked Philomath to a 63-57 victory over Central in the Val-Co League boys basketball game.

Trailing by two at the half, the Warriors (12-5, 4-1) got more aggressive defensively and limited Central’s Michael Hamilton to seven points in the final two quarters.

Hamilton finished with 21 points.

Sturner played another monster game for the Warriors, scoring 29 points, grabbing 28 rebounds, blocking three shots and making two steals.

It was his two-handed dunk with an offensive rebound early in the second half that got the Warriors going, coach Blake Ecker said.

“At that point we took a seven, eight point lead and kept it until the end,” Ecker said. “It was a great game by David. And we played much better defensively in the second half and they didn’t get as many easy looks.”

Philomath hosts Newport on Friday in a battle of first-place teams.

PHILOMATH 15 15 17 16 - 63

CENTRAL 15 17 12 13 - 57

Philomath: David Sturner 29, Azizian 8, Davis 8, Motter 7, Haynes 4, Fisher 4, Thomas 2, Stephenson 1, Straub

Central: Michael Hamilton 21, Whiteman 11, Wallace 5, Pratt 7, Hedrick 8, Phillips 3, King 2, Girard, Derdorff

JV: Central 52, Philomath 41

Frosh: Central 47, Philomath 27

Philomath 63, Taft 39

Warriors follow Sturner past Taft

Gazette-Times (2-5-08)

PHILOMATH — David Sturner scored 21 points and had 14 rebounds to lead the Philomath High boys basketball team to a 63-39 home Val-Co League victory over Taft on Tuesday night.

Sturner had three 3-pointers, five assists and three blocks. Teammate Derek Davis scored 14 points and had eight assists.

The third quarter made the difference when the Warriors (13-6, 5-2) dominated for a 20-4 advantage.

“I thought we came out and set the tone defensively,” coach Blake Ecker said. “We kept the effort up in the second half and wore them down at the end.”

Philomath outrebounded Taft 37-15, and was better at the free-thrown line. The Warriors were 8-for-11 with Taft 2-for-5.

The Warriors host Sweet Home on Friday.

TAFT 13 9 4 13 — 39

PHILOMATH 14 17 20 12 — 63

Taft: Hamlin 13, Butler 11, Willinger 5, McRelly 4, Sawyer 4, Buring 2, Hindman, Schmedt.

Philomath: David Sturner 21, Davis 14, Straub 8, Azizian 8, Fisher 6, Motter 5, Haynes 1, Stephenson, Thomas, Whiteman, Knudson.

JV score: Philomath 58, Taft 52

Sweet Home 47, Philomath 42

Gazette-Times (2-9-08)

PHILOMATH — Two missed layins late in regulation and a couple of missed free throws cost the Warriors in the Val-Co League loss.

“We played hard. Some shots didn’t fall at the end, some front end of one-and-ones were missed,” PHS coach Blake Ecker said. “That hurt us. Really it was the little things that got us tonight.”

Sweet Home made 9 of 13 foul shots in the overtime to claim the win.

David Sturner led PHS (13-7, 5-3) with 16 points, 16 rebounds, three assists, three steals and three blocks.

Philomath plays at Sweet Home on Monday.

Sweet Home 47, Philomath 42 (OT)

SWEET HOME 5 8 15 10 9 — 47

PHILOMATH 8 11 9 10 4 — 42

Sweet Home: Kaufmann 22, C. Emmert 13, Graville 8, Hay 3, Olsen 1, Moyer, Riggs, Marchbanks

Philomath: David Sturner 16, Davis 9, Motter 6, Haynes 5, Straub 2, Azizian 2, Fisher 2

JV: Philomath 45, SH 25

JV II: Philomath 43, SH 35

Philomath 58, Central 36

Philomath moves into first place

Gazette-Times (2-19-08)

PHILOMATH n A big second quarter allowed Philomath to take control en route to a 58-36 victory over Central on Tuesday in the Val-Co League boys basketball game.

The Warriors (16-7, 8-3) took a 23-point lead into halftime following the 24-4 second quarter burst.

The win, coupled with Newport’s loss at Sweet Home, gives the Warriors a shot at the league title with a win Friday at Taft.

“We had a good second quarter,” PHS coach Blake Ecker said. “We kind of jumped on them defensively a little bit. (And) the shots went in the hole.”

David Sturner finished with 24 points and 18 rebounds to lead PHS.

Derek Davis had 12 points and Dan Haynes added 10 points.

“Dan Haynes came off the bench and gave us a nice spark in the second quarter with six points,” Ecker said.

Philomath 58, Central 36

CENTRAL 6 4 16 10 n 36

PHILOMATH 9 24 14 11 n 58

Central: Hamilton 17, Whiteman 12, Pratt 4, King 1, Girard 2, Wallace, Soto, Hedrick, Philips, West, Deardorff

Philomath: David Sturner 24, Davis 12, Straub 4, Motter 6, Haynes 10, Thomas 2, Azizian, Fisher, Whiteman, Knudson, Murphree

JV: Central 49, PHS 45

JV II: Central 48, PHS 43

Philomath 59, Taft 50

Warriors collect Val-Co Crown

Gazette-Times, 2-23-08

LINCOLN CITY — Philomath won the Val-Co League title for the fourth time in five years Friday night, defeating Taft 59-50 in the regular season finale.

Taft led early and it wasn’t until after the Warriors (17-7, 9-3) switched their defense to a zone and began trapping that Philomath rallied.

“Taft came out and punched us in the mouth,” PHS coach Blake Ecker said. “We switched to a zone and started trapping out of that and they didn’t respond very well to that.”

The Warriors led by one at the half, 25-24, then extended the lead in the third period. They made 15 of 17 free throws in the game.

David Sturner led PHS with 17 points and 18 rebounds, while Derek Davis and Trevor Motter both added 15 points.

“It wasn’t a great game that we played, but give credit to our guys,” Ecker said. “We don’t play particularly well, but we come out on the victorious side.”

Philomath does not play again until hosting either the Sky-Em League’s third seed or the Greater Oregon League’s second seed in the state playoffs on March 8.

Philomath 59, Taft 50

PHILOMATH 10 15 18 16 — 59

TAFT 14 10 9 17 — 50

Philomath: David Sturner 17, Derek Davis 15, Trevor Motter 15, Fisher 5, Straub 4, Haynes 3, Azizian

Taft: Butler 17, Hamlin 9, Willoughby 7, Schmidt 2, C. Buring 11, D. Buring 2, Hathaway 2, Sawyer, Hindman

JV: Philomath 54, Taft 44

JV II: Philomath 27, Taft 25

Philomath 54, Sisters 48

Sturner, Warriors push past Sisters

By Raju Woodward Corvallis Gazette-Times (3-9-08)

PHILOMATH — A strong third quarter helped Philomath High get some breathing room against Sisters and the Warriors held on to earn a 54-48 4A boys basketball second-round playoff victory over Sisters on Saturday night.

PHS advances to the 4A state tournament at Gill Coliseum, where it will play Stayton at 1:30 p.m on Wednesday in the quarterfinals. It marks the first time since 2004 that the Warriors have advanced this far.

The win was ever so sweet for the Warriors because they narrowly missed returning to Gill the past two seasons, losing to Tillamook both times in the second round.

“It feels incredible,” senior David Sturner said. “Three years in a row I have had to walk back to the bench, so this is amazing. I’m so happy for the players and coaches.”

And the Warriors couldn’t have done it without Sturner, the Val-Co League player of the year. The 6-foot-7 wing took advantage of his size to hurt the Outlaws inside and out.

Sturner scored a game-high 26 points for PHS and came up with numerous key rebounds.

“David did a nice job boarding and getting some good open looks,” PHS coach Blake Ecker said. “Offensively, we did what we wanted to do. Our game plan was to control the tempo.”

Sturner was especially effective in the first half. He scored 12 points in the first quarter to help PHS take an 18-17 advantage in the second quarter.

He then added five more in the second to help the Warriors take a 30-29 lead into halftime, despite the fact they blew a 30-22 lead late in the quarter.

Sturner said he was surprised that Sisters allowed him to get so many clean looks.

“I was definitely shocked,” Sturner said. “They changed their defense on us and we weren’t expecting that, but we solved it and did what we had to do.”

And Sturner saved his best for last. After PHS used strong defense to hold the Outlaws to six points in the third quarter and take six-point lead into the fourth, he buried a 3-pointer with 3:05 remaining to stretch the Warriors’ lead to 46-36, their largest of the game.

Sisters didn’t go down without a fight, though. It scored five straight points to cut the gap to 46-41 with a 1:38 to go. Nate Jackson then hit a 3-pointer, after Derek Davis made one of two free throws, with 1:08 remaining to get the Outlaws within 48-44, but that was the closest they would get.

Davis added nine points for the Warriors, while Daniel Ketcham led Sisters with 18.

PHS hit 6 of 8 from the line in the final minute to keep Sisters at bay and earn the hard-fought victory.

“I thought our guys did a great job,” Ecker said. “I thought they played with heart and enthusiasm. It was an absolutely great game. We got another week of practice and I can’t wait.”

Philomath 54, Sisters 48

SISTERS 17 12 6 13 — 48

PHILOMATH 18 12 11 13 — 54

Sisters: Daniel Ketcham 18, Jackson 14, Miller 4, Hasskamp 3, Reeve 3, Hodges 3, Lange 2, Harrison 1, Purvis

Philomath: David Sturner 24, Davis 9, Motter 5, Fisher 4, Azizian 4, Stephenson 3, Straub 3, Haynes 2

Championship Week Casey Campbell | Gazette-Times Val-Co League Player of the Year David Sturner has helped lead the Philomath boys basketball team to the OSAA 4A state tournament for the first time in four years. The Warriors open the tournament on Wednesday.

By Steve Gress Gazette-Times Sports Editor (3-10-08)

Philomath boys hoping for strong support at tourney

Oregon State’s Gill Coliseum will once again host the 4A boys and girls basketball state tournaments this week, only there will be a slight twist.

Instead of the normal Wednesday starting day and Saturday championship day, the tournament will run today through Friday this year.

The reason is simple — Oregon State’s gymnastics team is hosting the Salbasgeon Suites meet on Saturday.

So the Oregon School Activities Association had to move the tournament up a day.

The OSAA has run a tournament Tuesday through Friday before, but it’s not an ideal situation. The biggest reason for not liking that format is more time missed from school by the athletes and their fans, who usually make the trek to Corvallis in droves.

The girls get underway today with four quarterfinal games.

The girls consolation semifinals are Wednesday morning while the semifinals will be Thursday afternoon and evening.

The boys portion of the tournament will start Wednesday with quarterfinal games. The consolation games are Thursday morning with the semifinals later in the day.

The finals will be Friday night with the girls game at 6:30 p.m. and the boys at 8:30 p.m.

The OSAA has to be happy the Philomath boys advanced to play in the tournament. The Warriors haven’t played at Gill Coliseum since the 2004 season. They will open on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. against Stayton.

Four schools will be represented in both tournaments with Marist, Stayton, Hidden Valley and Newport each qualifying a boys and girls team.

Philomath (18-7) advanced to Gill with a 54-48 victory over Sisters on Saturday night. Stayton (14-12) advanced with a 59-44 road win over Astoria.

The Warriors had lost in the second-round game the past three seasons. The Warriors celebrated Saturday and then began looking ahead to Wednesday’s game.

“We went out and had pizza Saturday night,” PHS coach Blake Ecker said. “We celebrated a little bit, maybe an hour. Then we started thinking about the next game.”

Ecker knows the boys tournament has some good teams involved, but thinks the Warriors have a shot at making some noise. They face a physical team in Stayton right off the bat.

“They like to get up defensively and put a lot of pressure on you,” Ecker said of Stayton. “They clutch, grab, hold to try to get you frustrated. We have to be mentally prepared to face that.”

The Warriors have been working in practice the last couple of weeks to prepare for the physical play they expect to see at the state tournament. Ecker said the Warriors are used to having games called more tightly during the regular season.

“Typically the Corvallis Association calls a lot of fouls where in other leagues they let the kids play,” Ecker said. “It’s hard for us to adjust. It’s a disadvantage when it comes to the state tournament. (Saturday night) was very good. (The officials) let some things go and let them play.”

The Warriors will need to bring good defensive energy each game, Ecker said.

“You’re not always going to make every shot down the floor,” Ecker said. “The one constant is defense. You can always play with heart and passion in that regard. It can jumpstart your offense and get some easy looks.”

And the Warriors will need senior David Sturner to have a solid tournament. The Val-Co League player of the year delivered against Sisters on Saturday night.

“David is a big part of our team offensively,” Ecker said. “He’s a difficult guy to defend. The guards have done a great job the last couple of games. They handled Sisters’ pressure to bring it up and get him the ball. Derek Davis and Trevor Motter did a nice job.”

The Warriors could have some homecourt advantage as well. The school is known for loud, boisterous crowds at the tournament in years past.

“Saturday’s game was a loud game and we had them in our corner,” Ecker said. “That was real exciting. The student body that came out was great. We look forward to having a good student body section. Playing at 1:30 on Wednesday could be tough for parents and family members to get there then. Hopefully we get 500 kids there.

“It may happen. I know kids like to get out of school.”

Quarterfinals: Philomath 33, Stayton 56 Casey Campbell | Gazette-Times Philomath High guard Derek Davis passes off as he is pressured by Stayton’s Coby Proctor during the Warriors’ loss in the OSAA 4A boys basketball tournament.

(Check out the Gazette-Times Philomath Boys Basketball State Tourney archives album—photos available for purchase!)

Bowers, Eagles knock off Philomath By Steve Gress Gazette-Times Sports Editor (3-13-08)

Loss leaves Warriors on verge of elimination

Stayton High’s Ryan Bowers delivered what turned out to be a knockout blow in the first quarter.

The junior scored 12 of his game-high 17 points in the first five minutes and the Eagles cruised to a 56-33 victory over Philomath in the quarterfinals of the OSAA 4A boys basketball tournament on Wednesday at Gill Coliseum.

Bowers’ second 3 put the Eagles (15-11) up 17-6 and Philomath (18-8) would get no closer than six points as the Eagles advanced to face Brookings-Harbor in today’s 3:15 p.m. semifinal.

The Warriors fall into the consolation bracket and will face Hidden Valley at 9 a.m. Brookings -Harbor scored the final 12 points to knock off Hidden Valley 45-38 on Wednesday.

“We realized he was their main scorer so we had Trevor Motter on him,” PHS coach Blake Ecker said of Bowers. “(Motter) had a hard time getting through some of the screens that were set for (Bowers).

“He’s a good player but we’ve got to be able to withstand the storm like that and be able to come back and get back in the ballgame. Right from the start we weren’t able to get back in the ballgame.”

It didn’t help that the Warriors had good looks inside, but the shots didn’t go down.

“And I don’t know why,” Ecker said. “I think at some points we were concerned about getting fouled so there were some situations where we were just kind of throwing the ball up there.

“We called timeout and said guys just shoot the ball. They shot it, it just kind of rolled in and out.”

Despite the missed shots inside, the Warriors kept battling and closed to within 23-17 with 3:27 left in the first half on a bucket by David Sturner inside.

The Warriors trailed 26-18 at the break, but Stayton was able to score on seven if it’s 10 third-quarter possessions to push the lead to 39-26.

“They did execute well and they had some confidence, (and) the more confidence you get playing basketball the easier and the bigger the basket looks,” Ecker said. “They did pretty much what they wanted to do and we didn’t take them out of it.”

Bowers opened the fourth quarter with his third 3 of the game to put the Eagles up 42-27. Stayton then hit 10 of 14 free throws in the quarter to deny the Warriors any hope of a comeback.

“I really felt we didn’t have the heart tonight and effort and enthusiasm that we normally have,” Ecker said. “When we played Sisters (on Saturday) there was a lot of gumption and flying around and playing hard.

“(Stayton) beat us. Plain and simple. We didn’t play hard enough.”

Sturner finished with 14 points for the Warriors, while Derek Davis added nine. The Eagles received 13 points from Alex Esparaza to go along with Bowers’ game-high 17.

Ecker hopes the Warriors are able to rebound today or it could be two and done.

“Our guys are definitely disappointed,” Ecker said. “We really felt we could have been in the winners’ bracket right now.

“We’ll see how they respond. I would hope that some seniors take charge and some leadership and try to lead the team and into playing a little harder and to keep playing.”

Stayton 56, Philomath 33

STAYTON 19 7 13 17 — 56

PHILOMATH 8 10 8 7 — 33

Stayton: Ryan Bowers 17, Esparaza 13, Proctor 9, Anderson 9, McGrath 4, Hartsell 2, Rooney 2, Moberg, Loberg, Lindemann

Philomath: David Sturner 14, Davis 9, Motter 4, Haynes 4, Stephenson 2, Azizian, Fisher, Straub, Thomas, Whiteman, Knudson, Murphree

Consolation: Philomath 40, Hidden Valley 51 Casey Campbell | Gazette-Times Philomath High’s David Sturner goes up for two of his game-high 14 points in the Warriors’ loss to Hidden Valley.

Philomath eliminated By Steve Gress

Gazette-Times Sports Editor (3-13-08)

Just when it looked like the Philomath High boys basketball team had the momentum it needed, the wind was taken out of its sails.

The Warriors had trimmed a 15-point deficit to three early in the fourth quarter of Thursday morning’s consolation game with Hidden Valley at the OSAA 4A tournament at Gill Coliseum.

And while they still trailed 43-36 with three minutes to play, two possessions all but ended the comeback attempt.

Senior David Sturner, the Val-Co League’s player of the year, picked up his fourth foul on a charge call 20 feet from the basket. On the next possession, Trevor Motter was whistled for a charge. Sturner went up to dunk the ball, and was whistled for a technical foul for grabbing the rim, his fifth foul.

The Warriors couldn’t recover and dropped a 51-40 decision to the No.7-ranked Mustangs that ended their season at 18-9. Hidden Valley plays Phoenix for fourth place at 10:45 this morning.

Until those calls, the Warriors still had a lot of confidence.

“We thought we can win this,” senior Derek Davis said. “We really wanted it. That play right there turned the momentum around. All of us were down.“

The Warriors could have finished as high as fourth place, and won a trophy, had they prevailed.

“I was really frustrated with that call and didn’t agree with it at all,” PHS coach Blake Ecker said. “David went up to dunk the ball, not realizing the whistle had blown. Yes, he did grab the rim a little bit but when you dunk the ball typically that’s what happens. I didn’t see him pull himself up on it at all and that was (the official’s) call.“

Hidden Valley’s Kyle Bleser hit both free throws to put the Mustangs up 45-36 with 2:54 to play.

Dan Haynes answered with a basket inside. The Warriors forced a turnover and Motter scored inside to make it 45-40, but the Mustangs got another layup and the Warriors were forced to foul.

Despite coming up short, Ecker was pleased with PHS’s determination, especially when it trailed by 13 points starting the second half.

Down 33-18 seconds into the third quarter, the Warriors went on an 11-2 run to get within 35-29 on Sturner’s steal and dunk attempt that rattled around and went down.

After a Hidden Valley layup, Davis rattled home a three from the corner and it was 37-32 with 1:15 to play in the third quarter. The Warriors closed the quarter with a 14-6 advantage.

The Warriors opened the fourth quarter as Dustin Straub grabbed a rebound and made the putback to bring the Warriors within 37-34. But after a timeout, Saxon Gotfried went backdoor twice for layups and just like that Hidden Valley was back up 41-34 with 5:21 to play.

“We came back and played hard, under control, executed, did a great job,” Ecker said.“There were just a couple of possessions there in the fourth quarter and they got up a little bit.

“They have good enough guards and handle the ball well enough it’s hard to get the ball back from them. We did some trapping and rotating and the guys did a good job with it. I was proud of them.“

But it was a seven-minute stretch that spanned the first and second quarters that did in the Warriors.

Hidden Valley, no strangers to scoring droughts as it was outscored 12-0 over the final 3:19 of Wednesday’s quarterfinal loss to Brookings-Harbor, used a 17-1 run over that period to turn an 8-5 deficit into a

22-9 lead.

“Really the second quarter is what got us,” Ecker said. “The bounces went Hidden Valley’s way. We came out and jumped on them and got a couple of loose balls, it was just that second quarter where they got up on us and we didn’t score. If that second quarter is a little different, it’s probably a different outcome.“

Sturner led the Warriors with 14 points while Davis had nine and Motter seven. Bleser led Hidden Valley with 13 and Earl Crawford added 11.

“Everybody that played, who came in, did a nice job of not wanting to lose, not giving up,” Ecker said.

Hidden Valley 51, Philomath 40

PHILOMATH 9 9 14 8 — 40

HIDDEN VALLEY 12 19 6 14 — 51

Philomath: David Sturner 14, Davis 9, Motter 7, Fisher 4, Azizian 2, Straub 2, Haynes 2, Stephenson, Thomas, Whiteman, Knudson, Murphree

Hidden Valley: Kyle Bleser 13, Crawford 11, Gotfried 7, Porter 6, Armanino 5, Longo 5, Scott 4, Woodrum, Kasler, Hayter, Suthan, Maynard