Klamath Union's helter-skelter style of basketball is designed to bait opponents into playing the same way, and for a while Ashland obliged.
But the Grizzlies pulled it together long enough to regain control, used a blitz of their own in the third quarter to build a cushy lead then clutched up at the free throw line late to secure a 78-65 nonconference boys basketball win Friday at Mountain Avenue Gym.
"It felt good in practice yesterday and then today that each player seemed to elevate the play of their teammates," Ashland head coach Jeff Schlecht said. "I said that's a good habit to get into. Very encouraging."
Recap: Ashland uses a 15-2 third-quarter run to take control, then hits 12 free throws in the fourth to hang on for its eighth win.
Up next: Mazama at Ashland, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Junior forward Collin Malcolm had 21 points, 12 rebounds and four assists and Ashland hit 12 of 16 free throws in the fourth quarter to thwart Klamath Union's comeback bid.
Jackson Byers added 14 points, Mitchell Harfst 10 points, 12 rebounds and three steals and Gabe Stanley seven rebounds and three steals for the Grizzlies (8-12), who saw their 13-point lead cut to five with 1:25 to go before pulling away.
For the Pelicans (9-12), senior guard Gabe Ovgard had 21 points, eight assists, seven steals and six rebounds. Ben Mitchell added 11 points and Bobby Mitchell 10 points and four rebounds.
Byers scored seven points and Malcolm six in the tide-turning third, when Ashland outscored KU 27-16 to extend its two-point halftime lead to 13, 60-47, heading into the fourth.
There, the Pelicans slowly chipped away, outscoring Ashland 18-10 to cut the Grizzlies' lead to 70-65. But Ashland's Walker Shibley-Styer drained two clutch free throws to stop the bleeding and increase Ashland's lead to seven with 1:13 to go, and KU never threatened again.
"I think maybe they got tired," Schlecht said of the Pelicans, who scored 13 of their 34 second-half points at the free throw line.
After a high-scoring opening quarter that saw the Pelicans drain three 3-pointers Ashland seemed to regain its footing in the second. Nick Bacchetti's athletic layup gave the Pelicans a 26-19 lead about halfway through the second, but Ethan Jones' inside bucket sparked a 12-2 Grizz rally. Malcolm capped the run by sticking a 10-foot pull-up, giving Ashland a 31-29 lead.
The former Southern Sky Conference rivals were deadlocked at 38-all early in the third when Ashland used a 15-2 run to go up 54-40 with 2:56 left. A spectacular sequence by Malcolm — a monster block followed by a soaring rebound putback at the other end — seemed to ignite the run, and Byers' corner 3 helped keep it going.
The athletic, 5-foot-11 Ovgard did his best to keep the Pelicans in the game, scoring 18 points in the second half, but KU's all-out defense and hurry-up-and-shoot offense skidded out of control in the second half. The Pelicans settled for 25 3-point attempts, hitting just five, and turned the ball over 20 times.
"It looks hectic," Schlecht said. "What are they trying to do? They're trying to get us into that mindset and all I talked about was tempo, patience and discipline on offense. We did not get involved in that."
KLAMATH UNION (65) — Bacchetti 3, Bo.Mitchell 10, Ovgard 21, Gettman 10, Crawford 1, Shoults 3, Be. Mitchell 11, Velasquez 4, Munson 2. Totals: 22 16-29 65.
ASHLAND (78) — Hasskamp 6, Jones 7, Atteberry 0, Layton 4, Harfst 10, Feinberg 0, Fredrickson 1, Shibley-Styer 9, Byers 14, Malcolm 21, Stanley 6. Totals: 26 24-33 78.
Klamath Union 17 14 16 18 — 65
Ashland 14 19 27 19 — 78
3-point goals — Klamath Union 5 (Mitchell 3, Shoults 1, Bo. Mitchell 1), Ashland 2 (Shibley-Styer 1, Byers 1).
JV score — Ashland 64, Klamath Union 50.
5A DISTRICT 4 MEET — At Bend, Eagle Points had 13 wrestlers advance to semifinals and Ashland had three clinch spots in the semifinals at Bend High.
Action resumes today. The top four finishers at each weight class will advance to the state tournament at Portland's Memorial Coliseum on Feb. 28 and March 1.
The Eagles lead the 10-school meet with 176.5 points. Churchill (120.5) is second and Bend (110) third.
Top-seeded Alek Callahan (132) pinned Ashland's Sydney Norvell in 17 seconds in the quarterfinals.
For Ashland in the quarterfinals, top-seeded Mason Montgomery (220) pinned Bend's Jakob Larsen in 1:13, top-seeded Cody Frost-Eisenberg (285) pinned Summit's eighth-seeded John Murphy in 2:36 and third-seeded Sam Gostnell (152) pinned Bend's Dacoda Crane in 53 seconds.
TEAM SCORES — Eagle Point 176.5, Churchill 120.5, Bend 110, Redmond 108, Mountain View 107.5, Ashland 58, Summit 55, Springfield 45, Willamette 20, North Eugene 12.