June basketball? Both Foxes teams lose – just once – in near-perfect season

June 2021 Posted in Community, People, School, Sports

James Day

The Silverton High basketball teams finished their 2020-21 seasons on June 23, ten days after the seniors graduated and 15 months after a global pandemic left them waiting at the altar at a state tournament which held such promise.

There. That’s a weird sentence, isn’t it?

Somehow the hoopsters were able to finish a truncated six-week season, just like their fall and spring counterparts, although the OSAA calendar mandated that winter come after spring this school year. All good. That’s why I froze in March during the first couple of football games and the basketball players had… tans.

Some folks smarter than me will eventually write the history that tells us whether all of this was a good idea or not, but watching the Foxes’ two elite basketball programs tells me that they were happy that they got the chance.

The girls finished an 11-1 campaign with an impressive 39-28 win June 23 against Churchill of Eugene, which came in 13-1 and ran the table in the Midwestern League.

Truitt Reilly, the lone senior on the Foxes’ roster, scored 17 points, including 8 in the fourth quarter when Silverton sealed the deal. Reilly, a 6-2 post, will be playing for Western Washington next season and told Our Town that she felt “so blessed” to be able to play her senior season.

Seniors are what it’s all about for the boys, who finished 14-1 after a 46-44 loss to Sprague on June 23 ended their season one game short of perfection. When asked about a lack of a state tournament to prove his squad’s mettle coach Jamie McCarty said that the most important factor was that his three seniors, Isaac Semerikov, Lucas Roth and Titus Roth, got to HAVE a senior season. “That’s how we measure success,” McCarty said.

This season, to minimize travel, the Mid-Willamette teams played “crossover” games against the Class 6A teams in Salem. The Silverton boys went 6-1, and the girls went 4-0.

Although the basketball season is in the books both the wrestling and swimming squads still are competing, with post-season events set for June 26 (after Our Town’s presstime). That’s right, this year you can go to the state wrestling championships and buy fireworks on the way home.

One of the biggest challenge for Foxes’ swim coach Lucky Rogers is that their traditional depth and roster size no longer worked in a COVID world. 

“Biggest issue was whether we were even going to have a season, and if we did how many kids could we get to have in one lane,” Rogers said.  “We have been used to ten to 16 kids in a lane. I was expecting two kids in a lane, but we are at four. So, our team of 80 is 30.

“Many swimmers just chose not to come out. We finish two weeks after graduation and a week after school is out. I was very honest that I thought we would have to cut for the first time. Many kids are just done with the year, or now have jobs.”

The good news for the squad and his standouts Catherine Hyde and Makani Buckley, Rogers said, is that the post-season meet in Corvallis made the squad “very happy to have something to shoot for.”

Second-year wrestling coach Jared Wilson noted a couple of significant handicaps imposed by COVID.

“Not having kids in the building to recruit has been big,” he said. “Also, missing out on a year of development for our youth kids.”

Top performers among his boys athletes, Wilson said, have been Owen Magill, Isac Whitehead, Hayden Forster, Oscar Marks, Steven Powell, Jacob Moore, Joshua Jones and Eli Kemble. Girls standouts include Bella Moore and Kaity McElfresh. 

Follow me on Twitter.com @jameshday. 

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