Stayton catches fire in OT, scorches Gladstone 59-46 in tourney finale
Stayton's Ben Rash scored nine of his game-high 20 points in overtime, leading the Eagles to a 59-46 victory over Gladstone in Saturday's championship final of the Gladstone High School Holiday Basketball Tournament.
Gladstone went on a 15-1 run at the start of the fourth quarter to turn a seven-point deficit into a 43-36 lead with 1:53 remaining, but Stayton answered with a 7-0 run capped by Logan Classen's runner in the lane with nine seconds left to tie the score at 43-43.
Gladstone's Blake Harman scored the first basket in overtime, but Stayton then went on a 16-0 run to put the game away.
Stayton's Jacob Axmaker broke a 45-45 tie with a 3-pointer from the left wing with 2:43 to play in overtime, and then Rash scored the next three baskets, connecting twice from long range to push the lead to 56-45.
"Our coach has a really good offense and it's working really well," Rash said. "We're starting to trust in it and when we're all confidence, that's when we're at our best and I think that's what happened down the stretch.
"That was a really tough game. Gladstone is a really good team and we'll probably see them again in the playoffs."
Axmaker finished with 16 points and Classen added nine points as the Eagles improved to 5-3.
Gladstone's Jude Ashpole scored a team-high 16 points and Jeremy De Voe had 14 but was the only other player to score in double figures for the Gladiators (4-2), who had their three-game win streak snapped.
"Give Stayton credit," Gladstone coach Cody Aker said. I think all night, they played hard and tougher than we did. Talent-wise, we shot the ball well in the third and fourth quarters to put ourselves in position to win, but on the defensive end, when we needed to just be tough and get stops, Stayton outplayed us."
Trailing 35-28, Gladstone turned up the intensity at both ends of the court to start the fourth quarter.
Stayton came away empty on its first 10 possessions of the fourth quarter, going 0 for 5 from the field with five turnovers. At the other end, Gladstone scored on six of its first eight possessions, highlighted by back-to-back 3-pointers by Ashpole and De Voe that gave the Gladiators a 38-35 lead with 5:29 to play.
De Voe added a lay-up that pushed the lead to 43-36 with 1:53 remaining, but the Gladiators went cold down the stretch.
After Classen's basket lifted Stayton into a tie with nine seconds left, Gladstone had the final shot of regulation, but Sebastian Peiffer ran into resistance from Stayon's Gabriel Wigginton on a driving lay-up attempt at the buzzer.
In overtime, the Gladiators won the tip and scored, but then shot blanks on their next seven possessions as Stayton pulled away.
"We're working on consistency of effort," Aker said. "We ride really high when the ball is going in — and everybody does that — but we've sunk at times when the ball isn't going in or we're giving up easy looks.
"It's a mid-December loss, so its one of those things that we'll take some lessons from and then we still have a couple of non-league tournaments to play before we jump into league play."
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