AHS boys clinch SSC title with clutch finish

KLAMATH FALLS — In their own way, Adam Pavlich and Billy Hansen each put on heroic performances on Friday with much on the line for the Ashland boys basketball team.

Down by eight with about three minutes to play, Pavlich helped rally the sixth-ranked Grizzlies for a 55-53 win over Mazama, stealing the Southern Sky Conference title from the Vikings.

Ashland (16-8, 9-2 SSC) will host the winner of a SSC playoff game next Saturday to determine seeding for the Class 5A playoffs.

The Grizzlies put on a full-court press to force a couple turnovers and quickly cut an eight-point deficit to just three.

Moments later, Pavlich knocked down a 3-pointer before the Grizzlies made another key defensive stop to set up Pavlich's 15-foot jumper to put Ashland on top 54-53.

Pavlich was fouled on the Grizzlies' ensuing possession and made the first of two free throws. When he missed the second, Jordan Resch came down with the rebound to secure the victory and the league title.

"Our guys played their hearts out and that was the difference tonight," said Ashland coach Larry Kellems. "We made mistakes early, but when it came down to it, we put the ball in the right guys' hands."

Coach Kellems and the rest of the Grizzlies didn't think they'd see the ball put in Hansen's hands on Friday.

Hansen suffered a severely sprained ankle on Monday and made a remarkable return to score 13 points in the Grizzlies' biggest game of the season.

Pavlich poured in eight of his 16 points in the fourth quarter. He also had six assists.

Charles Swann led Ashland with 20 points and Daniel Mathis scored 15 points and had eight in the fourth quarter.

ASHLAND (55) — Pavlich 16, Costantino 13, Hansen 13, Foley 4, Chasmar 2, Kendall 3, Resch 4, Hitchko 0. Totals: 23 4-12 55.

MAZAMA (53) — Swann 20, Mathis 15, Seeback 9, Jackson 9, Reinhard 0, Hall 0, Evans 0. Totals: 21 5-8 53.

Ashland 8 17 13 17 — 55

Mazama 8 18 17 10 — 53

3-point goals — Ashland 5 (Hansen 2, Kendall 1, Costantino 1, Pavlich 1), Mazama 6 (Mathis 4, Seeback 1, Swann 1).

JV score — Mazama 56, Ashland 53.

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