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- Written by Andy Wooldridge (CCCougarfan)
- Published on March 5, 2013
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1-2 Punch of DeSalunier & Nash Too Much for Bulldogs
With the #3 and #4 teams pitted against each other, a close, hard fought game was bound to result, and that’s just what the Gill Coliseum crowd for the afternoon’s second game got.
In the end, it came down to Philomath’s Ben DeSaulnier’s ability to handle a triple team in backcourt by North Bend, and the Warriors’ ability to find Derek Nash that earned the Warriors the upset win.
“It’s an awfully good luxury to have,” Philomath coach Blake Ecker said of DeSaulnier’s ball handling.
DeSaulnier had a game high 25 points, but it was Nash’s 9 of 10 free throw shooting in the 4th quarter, which keyed the Warriors’ 13 of 14 effort at the line down the stretch, that put the game away.
North Bend took an early 5-0 lead, but both the Brown Bulldogs and Philomath were hard pressed to even find shots in the defensive struggle, and it was still only 6-2 more than half way through the quarter, DeSaulnier’s personal 4-0 run tied it.
Ty Roane’s 2 3 pointers was the difference in North Bend taking a 9-6 lead to the second quarter.
Philomath opened the second quarter with a lob to DeSaulnier, and tied it on a Ryan Nelson free throw, and it remained an even game after both Hamilton Mateski and DeSaulnier sank NCAA range 3 pointers.
Nash and DeSalnier added 3 pointers, and the Warriors opened an 18-14 lead, and then Nash nailed another, but Zach Barker answered with the 6th made 3 pointer of the period to keep North Bend close.
Cam Lucero tried a 3 pointer of a different kind, but couldn’t convert the “and 1”, and a rash of misses left it 21-19 Philomath at the break.
The 3 point festival continued, as Barker buried another to start the 3rd quarter, and take a brief 22-21 lead for the Brown Bulldogs, but Philomath answered with a 6-0 run.
Another lengthy lack of offense ensued, with North Bend edging only within 2 points. But just past the midway mark in the quarter, the 3 point shooting derby resumed, with both teams burying back to back bombs.
Nash, Cole Chambers, and DeSaulnier, above, all decided that was enough of that though, and all 3 made driving baskets to put the Warriors back out in front by 6 points, up 39-31 with 1:23 to go in the 3rd, and Philomath carried most of that margin into the final quarter, up 39-33.
North Bend’s bulldog tough defense almost force a turnover to start the period, and did necessitate a Philomath timeout to avert trouble, but a give and go to DeSaulnier out of the conference made it an 8 point game.
North Bend got no closer than 5 points in the next several minutes, as the grinding battle wore down both teams, and after a pair of free throws by DeSaulnier, it was back to a 7 point, 43-36 Warrior lead half way through the final period.
Nothing changed scoreboard wise in the next minute and a half, but another 3 pointer by Roane made it a 4 point game with 2 ½ to go. A Philomath turnover that led to a Cam Lucero layup made it a 2 point game with a minute and a half left, but Nash answered with a pair of free throws.
The Warriors really needed them, as Roane drilled his 5th 3 pointer of the game to pull the Brown Bulldogs within 47-46 with still almost a minute left.
Nash nailed another pair of free throws, making Philomath 8 of 8 at the line in the 4th quarter (6 of them by Nash) at that point, but it was still a 1 possession game with 13.9 seconds left.
“Derek is a very good free throw shooter, and we ran him off of a lot of 2 up top sets to get the screens so he could get the ball,” Ecker explained.
Forced to foul to extend the game, Lucero had to leave with 11.7 seconds left, and Nash added another pair, before finally going only 1 of 2 with 7.4 seconds left.
An inexplicable foul on Mateski while shooting a 3 pointer left the door ajar, but it swung shut when Mateski made only 1 of 3, and the Warriors wound up winning by 7, 54-47, and Nash and DeSaulnier got a congratulatory high 5 at mid court from Oregon St.’s Joe Burton for their efforts.
It was only the 3rd loss of the season for North Bend, both to the teams that will contest tonight’s final first round game, Sutherlin and North Valley.
Roane led a balanced North Bend attack, with 16 points on his 9 made 3 pointers, and Barker’s 3 made 3s got him to 11 points. Lucero was also in double digits, with 10 points, and Mateski just missed a double double, with 9 points and a game high 9 rebounds.
In addition to high scoring honors for the game, DeSaulnier co-led Philomath on the boards, with 8 along with Chambers, and also had a game high 5 steals.
The Far West League Champion Brown Bulldogs will take their 20-3 record into a Wednesday morning consolation contest against Elmira.
Philomath’s win sets up an all-OWL semifinal Thursday afternoon. The Warriors, who improved to 18-5 for the season, lost both meetings in the regular season against Cascade, but both games were 1 basket decisions, and not the 3 point kind.
“I hope its another game that close,” Ecker said. “They got us by 2 points both times, and we are excited to play them again.”
(Photos by Andy Wooldridge)