PHOENIX — With only one player back with varsity experience, this year's Phoenix boys basketball team is a drastically different version of the program that fell in last year's Class 4A state championship.
The newest cast of Pirates took a positive step in their growth with a 50-38 victory over 5A Ashland on Tuesday.
Senior Hunter Mahaffey led the way with 16 points and 18 rebounds. The 6-foot-2 forward knocked down six of his seven field-goal attempts, while teammate Tyson Morris (the squad's only returner) added nine points, three assists and three steals, including two crucial thefts in the fourth quarter. With his team holding just a 37-36 lead late in the game, Morris snagged back-to-back steals that led to Joe Raffensperger layups.
"We played a well-rounded game for the most part," Phoenix head coach Glenn Johannes said. "We are trying to get better and figure what our rotations are gonna be, and we're happy with the effort of everybody on the floor."
Phoenix (2-1), which was coming off a 51-38 loss to Del Norte on Saturday, led 28-26 at halftime and maintained its two-point advantage heading into the final period.
"The loss was a tough one for the kids," Johannes said. "They are learning how to lose a game like that and respond and come back to play on short rest."
Gabe Stanley led the Grizzlies with 10 points.
ASHLAND (38) — Stanley 10, Walters 9, Fredrickson 8, Kaegi 8, Layton 3, Atteberry 0, Feinberg 0, Kandaris 0. Totals: 14 6-12 38.
PHOENIX (50) — Mahaffey 16, Raffensperger 10, Morris 9, Deras 8, Wyncoop 5, Janousek 2, Mayers 0, Leavens 0, Kotsios 0. Totals: 18 14-19 50.
Ashland 9 17 7 5 — 38
Phoenix 15 13 9 13 — 50
3-point goals — Ashland 4 (Fredrickson 1, Walters 1, Layton 1, Stanley 1).
JV result — Ashland won.
The Southern Oregon men's basketball team climbed four spots to 12th in the latest NAIA Division II top 25 Poll on Tuesday, while the SOU women picked up 60 points to sit two spots out of the top 25.
The Southern Oregon men's team has won seven of its past eight games, including an 87-79 nonconference road win against Simpson on Saturday. The Raiders host second-ranked and undefeated cross-state rival Eastern Oregon in a Cascade Collegiate Conference matchup Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Bob Riehm Arena.
Eastern Oregon leads all CCC teams in the rankings, while the Raiders are the second-highest ranked conference team. Warner Pacific dropped one spot to 14th in the latest poll, while Northwest ranks 21st. Oregon Tech picked up three points.
In the women's poll, the SOU women have won 12 of their first 13 games this season to work their way into the national voting picture. The Raiders were picked sixth in the preseason CCC poll but won their first two conference games of the season on the road two weeks ago.
Eastern Oregon leads the CCC in the women's poll as well, ranking ninth with an 11-2 record. College of Idaho ranks 22nd, with SOU tallying 60 points and Oregon Tech picking up five points.
The Raiders face a tough weekend, hosting both ranked conference teams, as EOU comes to town on Friday at 5:30 and College of Idaho follows on Saturday at 5:30.
Second-ranked Southern Oregon faces a tough week as the Raiders host No. 4 Montana State-Northern in an NAIA dual on Thursday before traveling to Reno for the 2012 Reno Tournament of Champions.
Southern Oregon, 2-0 in duals this season, will go against an MSU-Northern team that is coming off a 21-20 win over then-No. 6 Great Falls. The win improved the Northern Lights' record to 2-2. The teams will square off for the 11th time since 2001 on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Bob Riehm Arena.
"We've always had a good rivalry with them and they're always tough," SOU head coach Mike Ritchey said of the Lights. "I know they've got some real tough individuals. At 165 they've got the No. 1-ranked individual, and he's a pinner. Mestrovich has wrestled him before but I don't think he's beaten him, so that could be a good matchup."
The Raiders boast four top-ranked wrestlers, as Prescott Garner climbed to No. 1 at 133 pounds in the latest poll. He joins season-long top-ranked Raiders Mitchell Lofstedt at 125, Jimmy Eggemeyer at 149 and Brock Gutches at 174. A total of 10 SOU wrestlers received rankings, tied with top-ranked Grand View for the second-highest total behind only third-ranked Great Falls (11).
Southern Oregon is 6-4 all-time against Montana-State Northern, with the Raiders claiming the last six matches between the teams. The Raiders have knocked off the Lights six times in the last four years, including twice in each of the last two years. Last season, SOU knocked off then-seventh ranked MSU-Northern 27-18 in Havre, Mont., before taking down the sixth-ranked Lights 35-8 at the NAIA National Dual Championships.
Cameron Neiss ranks third in the 133 and will match up with top-ranked Garner. Third-ranked Max Payne will challenge Gutches in the 174 in another one-versus-three bout. Raider wrestlers will also look to upset top-ranked Ethan Hinebauch in the 165 and second-ranked Kody Reed in the 184.
"They're going to bring a good lineup in, so we're going to have to get after them to get it done," Ritchey said. "They're always in shape and ready to wrestle, so it will be a great preparation for the Reno Tournament of Champions."