By Jeremy McDonald
PHILOMATH, Ore.– Philomath had the height and length over Cascade Friday night in the Oregon West Conference opener at Philomath High School. But the thing was, though they lacked the height in the Warriors 41-34 win, the Cougars created chaos with their defense.
Physical and aggressive was the theme and both teams stepped up to the challenge at hand as they both embarked on the OWC league season.
“We had to focus on the little things. In our 2-3, we had to be flying around, we had to box out, we had to talk on defense and transition because Cascade’s a good team. So we had to be talking, knowing who we had,” Philomath’s Sage Kramer said. “Everyone did a good job talking to the team and playing together.”
The Warriors edged the Cougs 8-7 after one and took advantage of fatigue late in the first half to built a 18-13 lead. Philomath expanded that to 30-22 after three before Cascade drew them in, down 32-29 as they regained their composure in the last few minutes of the game. Continuing to bring an intensity that both teams knew were coming in this one.
“We knew what we were coming into and that they were going to be physical. We knew what we had to do to get boards and rebounds and keep them from making shots all the time. We just got more physical and we were in front (of the shooter),” the Cougars Abby Jeppesen said.
The game plan was to slow down Kramer, and outside of the second and third quarters where the Philomath senior scored 11 of her 17 points, had worked. But that’s when Abigail Brown picked up, scoring six of her 11 points in the fourth quarter to aid their defensive game. The Warriors managed to hold off a charging Cascade squad down the road as they traveled down the road to Sweet Home Tuesday night.
“We had to be scrappier than them. Even though we were getting pushed around, it was a physical game and we just had to keep fighting and we did that” Kramer said.
Ariel Tobiasson led the Cougars with 11 points. Kenna Coleman and Meah Carley each tallied seven points with Cascade turning their focus to Stayton Friday back in Turner. The squad is already pulling takeaways from this game for the squads rematch on February 1 in Turner.
“It taught us when Sage gets the ball, where we need to be and it reminded us that we’re going to be seeing them again on our floor and we’re going to be ten-times more ready than we were tonight,” said Jeppesen. “It was frustrating because we weren’t hitting a shot. We were missing the post inside a little bit and that didn’t help us. So just hitting shots and being patient with the ball.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald