Philomath–Finally–Reaches the Mountaintop, Wins First State Title since 2000

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Two years to the day that Philomath’s best shot at an official state title in girls basketball was stripped away by COVID-19 and the cancellation of the 2020 4A state tournament, they finally did it. Sage Kramer and Abigail Brown, then sophomores, led the way in a Philomath effort tonight that had the energy and effort of a group driven by their past.

The result, to some, may have been expected, but the opponent was not. Corbett, the #11 seed, came into tonight the hottest team in 4A basketball, boys or girls. The perimeter attack of the Cardinals brought them into this contest, outshooting their opponents from range on a consistent basis on the backs of deep, deep underclassmen talent. 

Despite the Warrior defense flying around with reckless abandon and Abi Brown owning the paint and boards, the Cardinals were able to consistently get open shots from the perimeter, ultimately shooting a total of 28. Corbett had Philomath on the defensive for swaths of the game, forcing turnovers in bunches, but they were not able to convert. The shooting that catapulted the Cardinals into the championship game would not manifest itself, as Corbett would shoot only 19% from the field and 14% from 3-point range. Those shots that rimmed out or missed wide in either direction almost never found their way back to Corbett, as Brown, Kramer, and Larson robbed the Cardinals of any second-chance opportunities. The Cardinals could force turnovers, but without making shots on the first attempt or second chances off of it, they turned out to be fruitless.

Corbett had their runs, bringing the Philomath lead down to as low as 7 in the 4th quarter, but it was not to be. This was Philomath’s night.

Offensively, the Warriors played phenomenal team basketball off of Sage Kramer’s facilitation. Kramer could have had 10 assists–which would have given her a triple-double in the championship game–but rim-outs on open shots and turnovers denied Kramer this achievement. Undeniably the state player of the year, Kramer showed off tonight the ball handling, shooting ability, and rebounding acumen that will make her a powerhouse at the NAIA level. She was the best player on the floor, the best player in the tournament, the best player in the state, and her statline tonight proved it: 23 points and 12 rebounds for the senior. We cannot say enough about Abi Brown’s performance on both ends, but particularly her ability to clean up the boards played a huge role in the 48-31 total rebound differential.

This was the way it should have ended for Philomath. We talked last week about how Cascade Christian winning the 3A Boys title was in a way coming full circle concerning the last two years and everything that has come with it. The same could, and should, be applied here to Philomath. This is closure for Phil math and–in a sense–for the state.

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