Saturday, March 08, 2008

South Medford going to State Tournament

The South Medford Boys' Basketball team beat Wilson High of Portland tonight to gain a spot in the State basketball tournament at Mac Court at the University of Oregon in Eugene. It wasn't easy! Wilson of Portland came to Medford for the game with a very tall and physical team. Mid-way through the first quarter, South Medford's star player, Michael Hartun, went down with a sprained ankle and had to be helped off the Court. Michael is a senior who has received a full scholarship to play basketball for Division 1A Washington State. When Michael went down, the gymnasium full of South fans went silent. Visions of Dennis Dixon going down for the Oregon Ducks kept flashing through my mind. Thereafter, South Medford High's other star player, E.J. Singler, was given a third foul and had to sit down for the rest of the first half. I saw a disaster in the making. South's smaller players stepped it up a notch and were able to keep the lead for the rest of the first half. South was not able to get inside against a taller Wilson team but was doing well from the 3-point line. After the half, Michael Hartun came out with his ankle wrapped up and was walking with a slight limp. He had gone into the dressing room during the first quarter and it was good seeing him come out for the second half. In the second half, South kept a 2 to 6 point lead for most of the game, then Wilson went ahead by 3 points. The Wilson team was double teaming EJ Singler and South wasn't getting anything inside and began to live and die from the outside shot. South tied the game and then went up by 3 and then Wilson got a 3 pointer with about 25 second left. EJ Singler, a man on a mission, drove the entire length of the court to score 2 points. Wilson was unable to answer and time ran out with a South Medford victory. The fans ran onto the Court and joined the team in a cheer. People stayed long after the game was over celebrating the moment. Now South Medford will play #1 Oregon City in the first round of the State tournament. Hopefully, Michael Hartun's ankle injury is not too serious and he wll be back. Go Panthers! On to State!

We then got home in time to watch the Oregon Ducks beat Arizona at the Mac Court on TV. A good night!