Glads knock off No. 7 Philomath

Gladstone's unheralded girls basketball team is turning a few heads in preseason.

The Gladiators are off to a 5-0 start and one of their preseason victims was seventh-ranked Philomath. Gladstone traveled to Philomath last week and escaped with a 53-48 victory over the Warriors.

'It was a good win, especially since it was against a very good team,' said Gladstone coach Molly Wilson. 'Being able to beat a good team, even without a lot of fast breaks, was a good sign. The girls did a terrific job of moving the ball around and getting good looks in the half-court.'

Trailing 29-27, the height-challenged Gladiators went on top for good in the third quarter, when they out-scored their hosts 20-11. Philomath closed to within two points in the final quarter, but the Warriors couldn't get any closer.

Madi Cronin, Taylor Plunkett and Molly Webster hit pivotal 3-pointers in the third stanza, and the Gladiators also came through with a couple of steals to open things up.

Cronin (14 points), McKenna Hopkins (14 points, 4 assists) and Amber Jensen (11 points) headed the Gladiator offense.

Jensen and Ashley Beykovsky headed the defense with four steals apiece. Beykovsky, a 5-2 senior guard, was a terror on the backboards, hauling down nine rebounds.

Philomath guard Tegan Grunwald proved a handful, taking the ball to the basket for 16 points.

It was the only loss this season for the Warriors (4-1), who upset second-ranked Cascade 53-42 in a weekend tournament at Cottage Grove High School.

The Gladiators continued on track over the weekend, earning first place at their own tournament through victories over Sweet Home (78-28) and Scappoose (46-38).

Amber Jensen (15 points) and McKenna Hopkins (12 points, 5 assists, 5 steals) headed the effort in Friday's game with Scappoose.

Freshman Molly Webster came off the bench to score a game-high 19 points in Saturday's final with Sweet Home.

Hopkins (16 points) and Jensen (10 points, 5 assists, 5 steals) also reached double figures in scoring.

Taylor Plunkett sparked the offense with five assists.

The Gladiators broke the Sweet Home game open with pressure defense, as they stole the ball 10 times.

In other games played this season, Gladstone coeds defeated Yamhill-Carlton 59-43 and Astoria 59-40.

Gladstone returns to action next Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., when the Gladiators meet Sheldon jayvees in a first-round game of the Cascade Holiday Classic.

Shephard fires

up for Glad guys

Gladstone boys went 1-2 in play last week, defeating Sweet Home 70-48, but coming up short in games with Philomath (61-41) and Scappoose (74-62).

Senior guard Ryan Shephard (18 points, 6 assists) headed the effort in Friday's game with Sweet Home, as the Gladiators got their running game going.

Trace Webster had a big game, scoring 16 points, stealing the sphere four times and snagging six rebounds.

Sophomore guard Trevor Browning (7 rebounds) led Gladstone to a 38-20 advantage on the backboards.

Cool shooting proved costly in last week's loss to Philomath. The Gladiators found the mark on only 15-of-43 shots from the floor, while the Warriors found the mark on 24-of-48 shots, with five 3-pointers.

Shephard (18 points, 4 assists) was the only Gladiator to score in double figures.

Scappoose used sharp outside shooting and defense to put Gladstone away on Saturday.

Led by Blake Updike (32 points) and Zach Smith (21 points), the Indians hit nine 3-pointers.

'We had 24 turnovers,' said Gladstone coach Karl Schmidtman. 'That was the story of the game.'

Shephard (26 points) burned the nets with four 3-pointers to lead Gladstone. Webster added 12 points and seven rebounds.

Sebastian Orr sparked Gladstone's offense with seven assists.

Gladstone guys (2-3) meet tournament host Cascade next Tuesday at 7 p.m. in a first-round game of the Cascade Holiday Tournament.

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