Southern Oregon University Athletics. Photo Credit Bob Palermini, www.palermini.com
November 23rd marked the official start of Cascade Conference play for the Raider basketball program. Both the men’s and women’s teams faced the Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT) Owls. The men’s team fell short and lost the first game of conference play, while the women’s team handed the Owls their first loss on the season.
The men’s team started off within the first thirty seconds of the game with a 2-point layup by Raiders guard Mason Whittaker. However, the Owls responded with a layup of their own. The Raiders were keeping pace with the Owls for the first five minutes of the game before the Owls started to take over and dominate the court. The connection between rebounds, layups, and three-point shots were not connecting for the Raiders in the first half. Going into halftime, the Owls were 21 points ahead of the Raiders. The score was 43-22 with the redshirt freshman Joe Juhala having scored nearly half of the score with 10 points total going into halftime.
After halftime, the Owls didn’t let go of the momentum switched and quickly put up numbers. The Raiders slowly worked their way back, though. In the second half, the Raiders were able to hold the Owls at 68 while they scored back 7 points to put the score to 68-47. Free throws from freshman Jackson Smyth, an international student from Sydney, Australia, and Whittaker earned part of those seven. Unable to execute and finishing the game with a 38% field goal, the Raiders fell to the Owls with a final score of 77-61.
The women’s team dominated the Owls. They started off the first quarter with Raider Brianna Phiakhamngon, a junior guard from Clackamas, OR, setting the tone with a solid three-pointer within the first minute of the game. At the end of the first quarter, the Raiders picked up pace to set an 8 point lead, putting the score at 13-5. The Raider team didn’t stop there. By the end of the second quarter and going into the half, the Raiders had put up 29 more points compared to the Owls 19. Top point contributors for the first two quarters were Phiakhamngon, Kalei Iwami, and Syd’Nee Fryer. Phiakhamngon went into halftime with 15 points to her name. Iwami, a junior guard from Seal Beach, CA, and Fryer, a senior forward for the Raiders, both ended the second quarter with 7 points each. The Raiders went into halftime with an 18 point lead and the score being 42-24.
The energy did not sway away from the Raiders in the final two quarters. In the third quarter, the Raiders put up 17 points whereas the Owls put up 21, but it wasn’t enough by the end of the fourth quarter. With Fryer going 2-2 on her threes, Kami Walk, a sophomore forward, draining a three, and Iwami putting another up on the board, the Owls stood no chance. The Raiders putting up as many points as they did wouldn’t have been possible if Kenadee Honaker, a senior guard from Santa Clarita, CA, didn’t put on a show with seven rebounds, four assists, and two steals. By the end of the game, the top scorers for the Raiders team were Fryer (19), Phiakhamngon (17), Walk (15), Iwami (12). The final score was a shutout of 81-65.
To add a highlight to the women Raiders’ recent performances, they were recently named the Under Armour Team of the Week.
Both the men’s and women’s teams have a busy schedule this upcoming weekend. On Friday (Dec. 3rd), the Raiders are set to play another conference matchup against Eastern Oregon at home. The women’s game will start at 5:30 PM and the men’s at 7:30 PM, both are located in the Lithia Motors Pavilion. Saturday afternoon the Raiders will face off against another conference team, the College of Idaho. The women’s game will start at 3 PM and the men’s game at 5 PM. Games will be live-streamed at this link, or you can follow the live play-by-play stats here.