Team of destiny: Foxes are No. 1!

March 2015 Posted in School, Sports

By James Day

A 105-year championship drought is over for the Silverton High School boys basketball team.

The Foxes and Wilsonville went at it hammer and tongs in Friday night’s OSAA Class 5A state championship boys basketball game. It was a classic defensive struggle. No quarter given. All shots contested. Every possession mattered.

And when the dust cleared it was the Foxes that came out one point better, claiming an excruciatingly tense 33-32 victory against the Wildcats, ending a 105-year jinx for Silverton.

That’s right, Silverton won its first boys basketball state title since 1910. That’s so long ago there wasn’t an OSAA then. William Howard Taft was president. Tolstoy and Mark Twain were alive. No radio, TV or selfies.

The title game was played before a crowd of 4,155 at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis. The spectators ate it up like hot buttered popcorn and produced a din of a crowd twice that size.
James Day

The Foxes used the 3-ball to lift them into the finals, sinking 12 3-pointers in their semifinal upset of Mountain View. And 3-pointers played a huge role in the title game.

A Logan Munson 3-pointer with 3:34 left broke a 9-0 Wilsonville run and gave the Foxes a 24-22 lead they would never relinquish. A minute later Sam Roth added a 3-pointer for a 27-22 lead and the Wildcats were on the ropes.

But the Northwest Oregon League champs uncorked three 3-pointers of their own, down the stretch, two by sophomore Zach Reichle, to stay close. Sam Bullock’s 3-pointer with 1:20 left pulled Wilsonville within 29-28, but Roth drove for a basket and made the free throw followed for a 32-28 Silverton lead.

Reichle’s second 3-pointer made it 32-31. Roth added a free throw for the Foxes for a 33-31 edge with 44.8 seconds left and Silverton survived a hairy final 30 seconds in which they missed a couple of foul shots but got clutch rebounds from Munson and Trevor Cote.

“It’s awesome, hard to describe,” Cote told Our Town amid the tears, hugs and pandemonium on the court after the game. “It’s almost surreal. You can’t imagine how it feels to be No. 1.”

SHS Boys Basketball in final game at state championships.

SHS Boys Basketball in final game at state championships.

Roth received chants of “MVP! MVP” as he helped cut down the net. “It’s beyond words. It’s crazy. I’m speechless,” he said. “We played great defense, like we have all year. I can’t say enough about the guys. It’s awesome.”

“Oh, my God!” said Cole Chandler. “I have no words. We both fought hard. Our strength was our defense and that was theirs, too. 33-32 … I didn’t think that would be the score. We battled. I’m so proud of our guys.”

“We played our best basketball (in the tournament),” Munson said. “It was so great the way everyone came out to support us.”

Coach Steve Roth also struggled to find the right words.

“I’m exhausted,” he said. “It was kind of what we expected. They are so good defensively. But we were, too. I’m so proud of the guys. I don’t know what to say.”

Sam Roth was named first team all-tournament, while sophomore guard Julian Downey, the sparkplug in the Mountain View win with five 3-pointers, was named to the second team.

For Cote, Munson and Chandler it was the second state title game of the school year. The trio played for the Foxes’ football team which advanced to the state title game before falling to Hermiston.

And don’t forget the Silverton girls basketball team, which shared the Mid-Willamette Conference title with Corvallis and finished sixth in the 5A girls tournament.

League titles in three major sports. Success on a statewide stage.

And a 105-year drought obliterated on a magical night in Corvallis.

Earlier action: The Foxes opened with a 46-41 win Tuesday vs. Churchill, outscoring the Lancers 14-2 down the stretch … while Roth was on the bench after fouling out. Silverton showed its depth as Nathan Jamsa (3-point play) and Blake Cosgrove (six points) helped lead a stirring comeback. Chandler had a monster game with 9 points, 11 rebounds and 2 assists.

In the semifinals Thursday, the Foxes took out top-rated Mountain View, 59-51, hitting 12 of 25 3-pointers (the Foxes only tried 14 2-pointers during the game). Downey was 5 for 7 on 3-pointers, Munson and Roth were 2 for 3, with Cote and Cosgrove also connecting from long range.

Downey had been battling a flu bug all week, but it didn’t affect his aim from long range.

“It was just going in. Everything felt normal,” Downey told Our Town. “I played through it (the flu).”

Tournament notes: Roth had an amazingly efficient tournament, hit 13 of his 22 shots and making 4 of his 5 3-pointers. He finished tied for third in the tournament in scoring with 42 points. Chandler had 24 rebounds and 7 assists, leading the Foxes in both categories. Silverton tried 52 3-pointers and 52 2-point field goals. No other team in the tournament exhibited that equivalency between long shots and those closer to the basket. Downey was 7 for 14 on 3-pointers (he only tried three 2-pointers). Junior Daniel Larionov was 4 for 19 on 3s and finished 7-26 shooting overall.

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