July 15, 2001 11:00 pm

By C.J. Gish

Observer Staff Writer

COVE The MVP award may have gone to a North player, but it was the South that won the weekends basketball war at the Rising Star Classic.

Pendletons Drew Larson earned the top player honors for the Norths team Saturday following the two-day series that features the top upcoming talent in Eastern Oregon.

It was the South, though, that displayed the offensive fireworks that propelled it to two straight nights 90-point scoring. On Saturday, the South won handily, 90-65. Fridays score was closer, with the South winning 95-84.

The South jumped out to a 21-10 lead in the opening six minutes, sparked by seven points from Grant Unions Ryan Courtney and four from Unions Jordi Steenstra.

A defensive stand pulled the North within 22-20 two minutes later, capped by two free throws from Weston-McEwens Zach Johnson, but thats as close as the game would ever get.

The Souths stiff defense, coupled with a potent fast-breaking offense, gave it a 48-37 halftime lead.

A fast start in the second half all but eliminated the Norths chances of getting back into the game.

Less than two minutes into the half, Powder Valleys Brody Turner stole the ball at the top of the key and raced to the other end for a pull-up jumper, giving the South a formidable 59-39 edge.

With 4:20 left in the game, Unions Lucas Maples hit back-to-back baskets on a bank shot and a fastbreak layup to put the South ahead 85-55.

The South had a balanced attack, led for the second straight game by Courtney, who had 17 points and added four steals.

Turner scored 14 points and a game-high six steals, Ontarios Tyler Sweet added 12 points, and Maples and Bakers Wade Joseph put in 11 points apiece.

Johnson paced the North with 14 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. Heppners Stefan Matheny scored 13 points, and Larson added 10 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

North 32 28 65

South 48 42 90

North Burright 3 1-2 7, Harrison 0 4-4 4, Sampson 1 1-4 4, Thomas 2 3-4 7, Wyland, Matheny 4 4-4 13, Scott, Johnson 5 4-11 14, McCabe 1 4-5 6, Larson 3 4-8 10. Totals: 19 25-42 65.

South Mullins 2 0-0 5, Maples 5 0-0 11, Sweet 4 3-3 12, Schuft 2 3-5 7, Courtney 7 2-3 17, Turner 6 2-3 14, Heffernan 2 0-1 4, Steenstra 2 2-3 6, Joseph 5 1-2 11, Grove 1 1-2 3. Totals: 36 14-24 90.

Three-pointers North, Sampson, Matheny; South, Mullins, Maples, Courtney, Sweet. Fouled out Sweet, Matheny. Total fouls North 21, South 27. Technical fouls None.

North girls win behind second half surge, again

For the second straight night, the North girls squad acted the part of the predator in a game of cat and mouse. The mouse, of course, being the South team.

The role didnt change Saturday as the North fell behind 32-26 only to surge in the second half for a 70-63 win.

I thought the South came out and played super intense. They were going after every loose ball and scrapping hard, North coach Matt Vogler said. At halftime, I felt we were fortunate to be down by only six points.

The difference, for both games, came down to Norths experience, South coach Allen Bingham said.

Our team is very young. We had only two seniors on our roster and they had seven, he said.

But Bingham did see tremendous improvement from the night before. On Friday, the North team erased a 41-34 deficit and went on a 20-2 run en route to a 79-56 win.

We played harder than last night. I thought we grew a lot, he said.

Free throws were also key, with the North making 29-of-41 compared to the Souths 15-of-38.

Pilot Rocks Amica Vogler sparked the Norths second-half surge with 13 of her team-high 15 points, including a 9-of-12 performance from the free throw line.

She really sparked us from the free throw line, Matt Vogler said.

Another Pilot Rock player who turned in a solid performance, especially on the defensive side, was Megan Mitchell. Mitchell had five of the Norths 22 steals. Condons Jennifer snyder added four steals for the North.

Other top North performers included South Wasco Countys Chelsey Hauser with 12 points and 11 rebounds, and Heppners Shelley Rietman with 11 points.

The South squad was paced by four double-digit scorers starting with Burns Chelsea Ross, who had 16 points. Coves Kelcie Robinson added 14 points, nine rebounds and two blocks and was named series MVP. Lacey Nobles of Enterprise and Tiffany Rasmussen of Imbler scored 12 points each.

Other area standouts included Powder Valleys Amanda Bingham, a three-year Rising Star participant, who had five steals and was named defensive player of the series.

Imblers Meghan Campbell had seven rebounds, Rasmussen added five rebounds and three steals, and Liz Woody grabbed five rebounds.

North 26 44 70

South 32 31 63

North Jamieson 3 2-4 8, Snyder 1 3-6 5, Vogler 3 9-12 15, McElligott 1 1-2 4, Cleaver 1 0-5 2, Rietman 4 3-6 11, Matteson 1 3-5 5, Mitchell 0 3-4 3, Hauser 5 2-3 12, Davis 1 3-4 5. Totals: 20 29-41 70.

South Campbell, Woody 1 0-0 2, Travis 0 1-4 1, Scheele 0 3-7 3, Ross 7 2-5 16, Wilson, Bingham 0 3-10 3, Robinson 5 4-8 14, Nobles 6 0-2 12, Rasmussen 5 2-2 12. Totals: 24 15-38 63.

Three-pointers North, McElligott; South, none. Fouled out Campbell. Total fouls North 30, South 34. Technical fouls None.