Newberg — Coming fresh off their 34-28 road win over Wilson on Friday, the Newberg Tigers came into Saturday looking to sweep a back to back with Wilson and North Medford. North Medford was also coming into Saturday on a back to back, having faced Jesuit on Friday night and dropping 62-20 on the road. In a game that had the potential of becoming a blowout, the Black Tornado’s organized a fierce, fiery rally that almost flipped the result into their favor, but ultimately fell short at the end of the day.
This one started off hot, with the Black Tornado drawing first blood on a Jazmyne Wells bucket, and they held an early 4-2 lead. A pair of Sicily Hampton free throws and an Ashley Kosmicki trey combined for a 5-0 run to seize the lead 7-4 for Newberg. Wells and Jane Ersepke went on a 4-0 run to retake the lead 8-7 before the Tigers opened up the advantage on a 6-0 run to take a 13-8 advantage, with Newberg leading 13-10 after a quarter of play.
Newberg started the second quarter on a 7-0 run with buckets from Paige Krebs, Karly Fouche, and a Lexi Morace trey to lead 20-10 early in the quarter. Ersepke’s individual 4-0 run cut it to 20-14, but Newberg responded with a run of their own to extend it back out to 24-14 and lead 24-16 entering the half. Sicily Hampton led Newberg with seven points at the half, while Ersepke and Hannah Drysdale had six apiece for North Medford.
Just like the second, Newberg opened out of the locker room with a 5-0 run to extend the lead to 13 points 29-16. After trading buckets, Newberg went on another 5-0 run and North Medford went for a 4-0 run to get us to a 35-23 score after three quarters of action. After a Hampton free throw to begin the fourth, North Medford began to rally a comeback.
Ersepke drilled a trey and another bucket, while Savannah Weaver hit a three to lead the Black Tornado on an 8-0 run to crawl back within 36-31 early in the fourth quarter. With under two minutes left, leading 42-35, Newberg committed turnovers on the offensive end, allowing North Medford to find Weaver for two clutch threes from the corner to make it a one point contest 42-41. After making it 44-41, Ersepke hit the biggest bucket of the night, tying the match on a trey to make it all 44.
With the game on her shoulders, Sicily Hampton made North Medford pay with a fastbreak layup, splitting two defenders on her way to the rack and give Newberg the lead with under five seconds remaining. Facing a final possession trailing by a deuce, North Medford worked the inbound and found a contested Abby Christiansen for a three point attempt, which went off the back iron and Newberg survived North Medford’s comeback 46-44 to get to 2-0 on the season.
Despite falling after the fierce comeback, North Medford Head Coach Terrence Readus praised his team’s effort down the stretch and talked about the overall team performance.
Coach Readus on his team’s effort and comeback: “I’m extremely proud of them….no words could express how proud I am of them. We’re in a learning process, we’re getting our players ready and prepared. We aren’t going to win it all in a day, we aren’t going to win it all in the fourth, instead we chip away at it. We made some mistakes, learned from them, and then threw it out. The key thing is dealing with obstacles, overcoming adversity, and continuing that process.”
On the flip side, Newberg Head Coach Luke Lindell also had an upbeat attitude after his team almost let it slip away, but kept talking about the reality of the evening result for Newberg.
Coach Lindell on the match and what it means: “At the end of the day that’s all that matters is getting that W. Teams get hot, and I thought we have a lot of energy running down and back all night. I felt we didn’t do the necessary things to close the game, I thought we missed a lot of easy shots that allowed them to get back into it. It was more about lack of offensive efficiency than it really was what they did offensively. We realized that what matters is that we were able to close it, so to close out last night against Wilson and tonight was huge for the girls.”
Newberg (2-0) hosts Lincoln on Tuesday, North Medford (0-2) hosts Tualatin on Tuesday