North Medford boys slam shorthanded Ashland

Of all the things on Larry Kellems' Christmas wish list, not many rank higher than a few healthy bodies for his Ashland High boys basketball team.

With two starters sidelined by injury and a third hobbling noticeably, the Grizzlies were run over by a deep and athletic North Medford team 74-44 on Saturday at McNeal Pavilion.

"We're really banged up right now, playing on about three cylinders out of a six-cylinder engine," Kellems said.

Even at full strength, the Grizzlies (4-4) figured to have their hands full with an undefeated Black Tornado team that had already beaten them by 20 points in the season opener three weeks ago. Since that time, the Grizzlies have lost starting point guard Adam Pavlich (toe), post Talon Haggard (shoulder) and played with leading scorer Garrett Tygerson at barely half speed with a hyperextended knee.

"That changes our ballclub tremendously," Kellems said. "We would really like to get them back as soon as possible."

Haggard is scheduled to undergo a MRI on his shoulder on Tuesday. Kellems said the earliest that Pavlich could return would be Dec. 29 in the opening game of a tournament at Summit. Tygerson's prospects are uncertain.

Ashland stayed competitive for most of the first half, before North's depth, quickness and relentless pressure defense took its toll. The Tornado (4-0) led 12-11 after one quarter, 36-26 at halftime and slowly pulled away. North was named champion of the Ashland Rotary Classic, despite not being entered until Friday morning when inclement weather scraped the Tornado's scheduled tournament in Lakeridge and also led to Marshfield, Summit and Henley cancelling their plans to visit Ashland.

"I think they're probably up there among the top five in the state," Kellems said of the Tornado. "They play hard all of the time. They have good fundamentals. Their defense has gotten better since we played them three weeks ago."

North alternated between a man-to-man and 1-3-1 zone defense, forcing Ashland into 18 turnovers, including 14 in the second half. Many of those led to uncontested layups on the other end.

"Our defense in the second half really changed the way the game went," Tornado coach Scott Plankenhorn said.

Jordan Ellis led all scorers with 13 points, but all 10 North players who saw action cracked the scoring column, with seven of the 10 posting seven points or more. The Tornado bench outscored its Ashland counterparts 43-14.

"We usually try to play eight, nine, 10 guys because we like to play up and down," Plankenhorn said.

Ashland can't match North when it comes to quality depth. Tygerson had 11 and Charlie Sebrell nine to lead Ashland, which played its reserves throughout the fourth quarter. The Grizzlies shot just 41 percent from the floor (17-of-41) and missed all 11 of their 3-point attempts.

Despite not having a starter taller than 6-foot-2, North controlled the boards throughout, finishing with a 40-21 advantage.

Tanner Borg came off the bench to hit consecutive 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter to extend the North lead to 62-36. North led by as many as 32 in the closing minutes.

In an effort to compensate for the weather-related cancellations last week, Ashland has scheduled a game against 3A powerhouse Cascade Christian tonight at 7:30 at The Pavilion.

"We have to look at all of December as kind of practice games," Kellems said, "because we start (Southern Sky Conference play) on Jan. 6 at 0-0."

NORTH MEDFORD: Maurer 4, Faust 3, Ellis 13, Pecktol 7, Formolo 4, Clark 7, Borg 9, Shipley 8, Waits 8, Ross 11, Totals: 31 10-16 74.

ASHLAND: Sebrell 9, Tygerson 11, Costantino 4, Resch 4, Amrhein 2, Stone 2, Kendall 2, Hansen 4, Schwarzer 6, Chasmar 0, Foley 0, Totals 17 10-16 44.

North Medford 12 24 20 18 — 74

Ashland 11 15 10 8 — 44

3-point baskets: North Medford 2 (Borg 2), Ashland 0. Fouled out — None. Total fouls — North Medford 18, Ashland 15. Technicals — None.

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