Sitting at No. 31 in OSAA’s rankings for a 32-team state playoff, Bend was facing a must-win situation Tuesday night at Summit.
It would have been hard for the Lava Bears to get off to a worse start.
After they fell behind by 16 points as their leading scorer, Brian Warinner, got into early foul trouble, Bend coach Scott Baker went to his bench late in the second period. It provided just what the Lava Bears needed for a 45-37 come-from-behind victory.
“Those guys came in and with their defensive effort sparked us, and then got us moving on offense and we knocked some shots down,” Baker said of Noah Miller, Max Teichrow and Eshan Chopra. “I thought our defense really from that point on was really solid. Those three guys sparked us and it forced the starters to clean up their act and their game and that’s what happened in the third quarter and on.”
Summit held the Lava Bears to just one field goal and a free throw in the first 12 minutes to take a commanding 19-3 lead.
“I thought our guys just really executed the game plan defensively,” Storm coach Jon Frazier said. “We took away a lot of the stuff they typically do well. Defensively we did some really nice things early on and offensively we were really patient and got good looks. For whatever reason our shots just stopped falling.”
Warinner, who picked up his second foul with 6:20 remaining in the second quarter, did not score his first points until a putback with 2:56 to go in the first half.
“I wasn’t doing my job and getting started off the bat and we had guys come in and make some really big plays,” Warriner said. “They were making it really hard for me to catch (the ball). I was having a hard time getting things going.”
Warinner, who finished with 15 points, gained momentum in the second half, making a 3-pointer to get Bend within 21-19 and then throwing down a two-handed dunk to give the Lava Bears their first lead, 22-21, with 5:52 remaining.
After three lead changes, Warinner tied the game at 26-26. Justin Kerr, who had 10 points, then made two free throws to give Bend the lead for good. The Lava Bears outscored Summit 42-24 in the second through the fourth quarter.
Julian Mora scored 13 points to lead Summit (4-9 MVC, 7-16 overall). Jacob Tompkins added 10.
Bend moved up to No. 30 in OSAA’s rankings after the win.
The Lava Bears (5-8, 11-12) close the regular season at No. 16 West Salem Friday.
“We knew this was an important game for us to get to have a chance,” Baker said. “Friday night is another important game. Everything has been a playoff-type game for us right now. We’d certainly like to be in that top 32.”
— Reporter: 541-383-0307, email@example.com