DIXONVILLE — The Umpqua Valley Christian boys basketball team fell 54-49 to Gold Beach on Friday after a valiant fourth-quarter comeback.

The Monarchs (3-1) couldn’t slow down Panthers senior Todd Halcumb, who scorched them for 27 points and hit seven 3-pointers.

Class 2A Gold Beach (2-1) started off the game playing a 1-3-1 zone defense which trapped the Monarchs’ guards after they crossed half-court and created a lot of turnovers. The first half was back and forth, where both teams missed a lot of layups and were playing out of control at times.

The Panthers led 26-15 at halftime.

“We turned the ball over a lot in the first half,” UVC coach Brian Ferguson said. “They came out in that high 1-3-1 pressure. Our guys acted like that was the first time they had seen it. It flustered us for a while. Once we settled it and accepted that’s how it was going to be, we started to break them down.”

After trailing 38-28 through three quarters, the Monarchs began to adjust to the Panthers’ pressure and fought their way back into the game. They went on a 13-3 run to make it 46-45, capped by two 3-pointers from freshman Devin McLaughlin.

“Basically we came together as a team, as a family. Our mentality was that it was now or never and we had to play as a team and not as individuals,” McLaughlin said.

Aaron Buechley hit the 3-pointer that started that run to get the Monarchs back in the game.

Jaymen Bendele also added four points during that stretch run. But a couple of costly turnovers late in the game allowed the Panthers to capitalize in the fastbreak and on free throws to put the game away. The Panthers finished the game on an 8-4 run.

UVC committed 10 fouls in the fourth quarter, compared to four for Gold Beach.

“We had a gut-check at halftime,” Ferguson said. “We put the challenge before them, that we were going to keep rolling with the way things were going or we’re going to dig deep and make a change and claw back into that game. They rose to the occasion. We were a totally different team in the second half.”

It was Halcumb who came up with timely 3s all night to help the Panthers come away with the victory.

McLaughlin hit another mid-range jumper just before time expired to provide the final score.

“We have the potential to go big, we have to focus on our goal, stay together as a family and play our hardest,” McLaughlin said. “We want to go as far as we can, to the state championship.”

“Yes, I think you take a lot away from fighting back and getting into that game,” Ferguson said. “I was looking forward to playing this team. I knew they had a lot of seniors, had a lot of experience. I knew it was going to be a tough game for us. I’m very pleased with the way we fought ... obviously you want to win them all, but it was a good game for us to play.”

Both Tanner Soper and KC Pettibone had 10 points to lead the Monarchs. McLaughlin added eight points and Buechley had seven.

Brandon Seuser-Smith added 12 points for G.B.

UVC plays at Myrtle Point next Friday.

GOLD BEACH (54) — Todd Halcumb 27, Seuser-Smith 12, Rangel 6, Carpenter, Denney, Eli Halcumb 2, Walker, Mather 2, Gilbert 5. Totals 20 6-13 54.

UMPQUA VALLEY CHRISTIAN (49) — Tanner Soper 10, KC Pettibone 10, McLaughlin 8, A. Buechley 7, Luttrell 5, E. Bueckley, Bendele 6, Mesa 3. Totals 22 1-5 49.

G. Beach 16 10 12 16 — 54

UVC 9 6 13 21 — 49

3-Point Goals — G.B. 8 (Halcumb 7, Seuser-Smith 1), UVC 4 (McLaughlin 2, Buechley 1, Luttrell 1). Total Fouls — G.B. 9, UVC 14.

Part-time sports reporter Josh Gaunt can be reached at 541-957-4220.

or via email at jgaunt@nrtoday.com.

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