Grizzlies run away from Knights

Billy Hansen hit five 3-pointers, including three in the third quarter, on his way to 21 points and Ashland used an 8-0 run early in the fourth quarter to bury North Valley, 68-47, in a nonconference game Tuesday at Mountain Avenue Gym.

Talen Heater added 13 points and Neal Presicci 10 for the Grizzlies (6-5), who have won two in a row for the first time since early December.

"I think that last game over at Bend last week helped a bunch," Ashland head coach Larry Kellems said. "We played very similar to this — we came out mixing up our defenses a lot, which helps keep them on their heals. And, (Hansen's) shooting is obviously big for us."

Jake Herklotz had nine points and four blocks to pace the Class 4A Knights (8-5), who struggled to keep pace in the second half a night after beating South Umpqua by 27 points.

North Valley point guard Kevin Brazille rimmed out a running 3-point attempt at the third-quarter buzzer that would have cut the deficit to nine points. With seven minutes to go in the game, Ashland's Jake McCoy banked home a rebound follow to kickoff a quick eight-point flurry by the Grizzlies.

Heater had four points in the run, including a free throw to cap it and give Ashland a 60-40 cushion with 4:53 left.

"We have to have more than (Hansen)," Kellems said, "so we did. We got other guys involved and that's huge for us."

The Grizzlies controlled the game from the get-go, riding Hansen's outside touch and some tough inside play by Presicci and Heater to a 16-9 lead. Brazille swished a buzzer-beating trey from the corner to get the Knights within four points heading into the second quarter.

Hansen nailed two 3s in the opening quarter, including one with a hand in his face.

The Grizzlies continued their slow separation in the second quarter. They scored eight straight, capped by Heater's fastbreak layup, to go up 29-16, and led by eight, 31-23, at the half.

"They hit some good shots and played pretty well defensively, but we missed a lot of shots that we need to be able to make," North Valley head coach Jeff Nelson said.

Hansen hit his fourth bomb of the game with 7:10 to go in the third, kicking off a 14-5 run that gave the Grizzlies a 45-28 lead. Hansen sank three 3-pointers in the rally, and the Knights were never within single digits again.

Ashland had success running off long rebounds, and held its own in the paint despite North Valley's height advantage. The Knights, who open Skyline Conference play Friday against Hidden Valley, have a 6-foot-5 post in Herklotz, but couldn't take advantage on offense.

"Especially against bigger teams, we're going to have to (run) to give ourselves a chance," Presicci said.

The game was the first of three straight home games for the Grizzlies, whose cross-classification schedule continues Friday against 6A Grants Pass.

NORTH VALLEY (47) — Brazille 8, Anderson 8, Pughe 2, Dean 7, Rusk 8, Vandehey 2, Herklotz 9, Chirnside 1. Totals: 18 8-12 47.

ASHLAND (68) — D. Skinner 0, Mills 4, Heater 13, Hansen 21, Mickey 2, Hitchko 0, Finch 0, Presicci 10, Schlecht 7, McCoy 3, Good 6, Morrison 2, Skinner 0. Totals: 27 8-14 68.

North Valley 12 11 15 9 — 47

Ashland 16 15 19 18 — 68

3-point goals — North Valley 3 (Brazille 2, Anderson 1), Ashland 6 (Hansen 5, Schlecht 1).

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