Gladstone rallies from 15 down, stuns Philomath, 61-59
FOREST GROVE -- The Gladstone Gladiators refused to roll over and play dead against Philomath Friday morning.
Trailing 17-2 after the first seven minutes, the Gladiators stormed back for a 61-59 victory over the No. 4-ranked Warriors in Friday's consolation round of the OSAA Class 4A boys' basketball tournament at Forest Grove High School.
Gladstone senior Quinn Carl scored the go-ahead basket with 2:36 to play and sophomore Damian Zaines knocked down two free throws with 7.1 seconds to help keep the Gladiators in the trophy hunt.
"We've been underdogs since pre-season and we may play with a chip on our shoulders, but we embrace it," said Zaines, who scored eight of his game-high 20 points in the fourth quarter. "We play hard every game. We give it our all.
"When we dug ourselves in a hole, coach told us, 'Now, it's time to start fighting.' I know my team is going to fight until that clock ticks down to all zeroes. It was a good win, and I'm just glad to be a part of it."
Gladstone's Jose Rodriguez scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half, and Lyric Warren finished with 14 points for the Gladiators (16-7), who will face Banks in Saturday's 9:45 a.m. fourth-place game at Forest Grove High School.
"A win like this speaks volumes about the players' character and them wanting to compete," Gladstone coach Cody Akers said.
Things looked bleak for the Gladiators when they made only one of the their first 15 shots and trailed 17-2 with less than a minute to play in the first quarter.
"We talked in the huddle that there was no time to feel sorry for ourselves," Akers said. "I told them, 'You've just got to play right now and see what happens.'"
The Gladiators crept within six points, 26-20, at halftime, and then tied the game twice in the third quarter, the second time at 37-37 when Warren knocked down a 3-pointer from the left wing with 3:12 remaining.
"The way that we've been playing, I was fairly confident that we were going to get over the hump," Akers said. "As a coach, you've got to manage your guys when it comes to that energy level. But when you're down to eight minutes left in your season, you've just got to take whatever you've got and go with it."
After Philomath's Austin Gerding scored to give the Warriors a 54-48 lead with 3:38 to play, the Gladiators went on a 10-0 run that started with a Warren trey and ended with another Warren trey that gave the Tri-Valley Conference champions a 58-54 lead with 1:50 to play.
Philomath scored to make it 58-56 and then got the ball back with a chance to tie, but Gerding misfired from close range, and Zaines grabbed the rebound and got fouled.
After Zaines made one of two free throws with 19.4 seconds remaining, Philomath's Cal Stueve came up empty on a drive to the basket, and Zaines again ended up with the ball and got fouled.
This time, Zaines made both free throws to push the lead to 61-56 and put the game out of reach with 7.1 seconds left.
One of the keys to Gladstone's second-half comeback was the decision to go to a diamond-and-one defense that isolated the 6-foot-4 Stueve, who finished with a team-high 18 points on 4-for-13 shooting from the field, and 9-for-10 shooting at the free-throw line.
"It worked for us," Akers said. "We were able to extend on Philomath's shoters on the win, and Lyric did a great job in the second half of containing Cal and making sure that somebody else for Philomath got shots up."
Another key was that Gladstone scored 20 points off 18 Philomath turnovers, while the Warriors scored six points off nine Gladiator turnovers.
Briggs Tatom and Carl finished with four points and seven rebounds apiece for the Gladiators, who shot 32.8 percent (20 for 61) from the field, and 31 percent (9 for 29) from beyond the arc.
Stueve had a game-high 16 rebounds to go with his 18 points, while Clark Hellesto added 15 points and 12 rebounds, and Gerding finished with 14 points. The Warriors shot 44.9 percent (22 for 49) from the field, but made only 2 of 11 treys.