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The Kingsmen fell behind 26-17 at halftime and never got closer seven in the second half of Saturday's OSAA Class 5A first-round playoff game

PMG PHOTO: JIM BESEDA - Putnam's Maddy Olma (15) drives on Silverton's Josslyn Ames during the first half of Saturday's first round of the OSAA Class 5A girls' basketball playoffs. Silverton downed the Kingsmen 57-36.Silverton's Truitt Reilly scored 11 of her game-high 13 points in the second half as the Foxes pulled away from the Putnam Kingsmen for a 57-36 home win in Saturday's opening round of the OSAA Class 5A girls' basketball playoffs.

Josslyn Ames and Jori Paradis added 11 points each to help propel the No. 4 Foxes (21-3) into Thursday's 3:15 p.m. quarterfinal against No. 5 La Salle Prep (22-4) at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis.

Putnam's Miranda Evans and Emma Whittington scored nine points each, and Abby Paul and Maddy Olma added seven points apiece for the Kingsmen, who finished the season with a 17-9 record.

"Our performance wasn't where it needed to be," said Paul, one of the Kingsmen's four seniors. "We were playing a little bit score on their home court with all their fans and … I think that got a little bit in our heads."

Put rallied from an early five-point deficit to tie the score at 10-10 when Sarah Rope scored on a lay-up with an assist from Olma with 48 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

Silverton bounced back with a basket by Ames, and then Paradis got the ball off a Putnam turnover and hit a runner at the buzzer to put give the Foxes a 14-10 lead.

The Kingsmen then struggled to find any soft spots in the Silverton defense and came up empty on 11 of their first 12 possession of the second quarter, while the Foxes knocked down five of their first nine shots and went on a 12-2 run that pushed the lead to 26-12.

"We just weren't consistent," Paul said. "That's what happened. We weren't getting rebounds, we weren't making shots, and that's what Silverton was doing. They just had really good consistency and we didn't, and that's what hurt us."

Trailing 29-17 early in the second half, Putnam mounted a 10-5 run that ended with Evans scoring on a lay-up with an assist from Olma 34-27 with 30 seconds left in the third quarter.

Silverton countered with a Riley Traeger 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter, touching off an 11-3 run that all but put the game out of reach with four minutes left.

Again, the Foxes' relentless defense underscored the fourth-quarter surge as the Kingsmen came up empty on five of their first seven possessions in the fourth, going 1 for 5 from the field with three turnovers and saw the deficit go from seven points to 15.

"Silverton had really good with help defense," Paul said. "If someone tried to set a screen, they'd get right in front of you to stop you. There was no way you could get to the hoop or even have space to hit a shot.

"Congratulations to them. They did a great job. They deserve to go to Corvallis. They did everything right."

The Kingsmen did a lot of good things, too, during a season that started with head coach Brad Miller suffering a heart attack on Nov. 20 and undergoing open-heart surgery six days later.

Assistants Dean O'Dell and Amanda Wiedeman helped guide Putnam to a 9-2 record in non-conference play and a 1-1 start to Northwest Oregon Conference action. Miller then returned the bench on Jan. 15 as the Kingsmen finished third in the conference with an 8-6 record.

"I'm really, really proud of this team for the season as a whole," Miller said. "With all the distractions and all of the disruptions, there could have a hundred excuses that we could have made for a crummy season. But none of the kids did anything remotely like that and we finished higher in the conference than we had in five or six years."

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