Ranked # 1 in state: Silverton, Kennedy girls basketball teams excel

January 2016 Posted in School, Sports

James DayBy James Day

and Kennedy’s girls basketball teams currently are ranked No. 1 in the state in their respective divisions.

The Class 5A Lady Foxes, who shared the Mid-Willamette Conference title last season with Corvallis, are 11-0 after their 49-42 win Jan. 7 vs. Lebanon that opened the league season. Class 2A Kennedy, meanwhile, is 10-3 overall and 3-0 in the brutally tough Tri-River.

“I am surprised we are 11-0 to be honest with you,” Silverton Coach Tal Wold told Our Town. “I know I should not say that, but we have played some really good teams and have found ways to be successful so far. We felt like we had the potential to be competitive (and) the girls have really chosen to meet the challenge head-on so far.”

The Foxes have beaten five Class 6A teams and are allowing just 34.7 points per game.

“Our defense has played really well,” Wold said. “That has been key for us in that we have been able to defend nightly, even with playing teams that play a variety of styles and are usually much bigger than us.”

Wold expects a challenging league season, noting that there are four to five teams “that really feel like they can win (the) league and advance to the state tourney. It will be fun for fans, probably give me more gray hair, but it will truly test each team each night.”

Other contenders in the MWC including No. 5 Corvallis, No. 9 Lebanon, No. 11 Central and No. 12 Dallas.

After the Lebanon win Wold said “the girls left appreciating how tough our league is.”

Kennedy, meanwhile, has passed two high-wattage tests in just the first three league games, by defeating defending state champion Western Mennonite (currently ranked seventh) and No. 11 St. Paul, which came into Friday’s home game with the Trojans 2-0 in league. Lakin Susee led the way with 11 points as Kennedy beat the Buckaroos 41-36.

The Trojans finished fifth last year but seem to have their sights set on loftier goals this season.

Silverton High School senior Austin Reed won a recent home match. He is currently ranked second in state in his weight class. Photo by Tanner Russ

Silverton High School senior Austin Reed won a recent home match. He is currently ranked second in state in his weight class. Photo by Tanner Russ

“I think our strong start is due to the hard work of 12 girls,” said co-coaches Kerry and Peter Hall in an email exchange with Our Town. “They are a determined bunch of girls that have one goal in mind: state.”

In addition to Susee (11.5 points per game), a first team all-state tournament pick a year ago, the Halls noted the contributions of her fellow seniors, point guard Taylor Brown (4.6 assists and 4.6 steals per game), Mireya Sanchez and Kenzie Ratliff (top rebounder at 7.5 per game)as well as up-and-coming sophomore Kaylin Cantu.

“Our league is the toughest league in 2A so we know that it will not be a cakewalk the rest of the way,” the Halls said. “We have never won a league title for the girls. (We’ve) been second many times. With each game that we play our young girls are getting a little more confidence and meshing with our senior girls a little better.”

Wrestling: Silverton has four wrestlers ranked in the top eight statewide, including Austin Reed, who is ranked No. 2 at 132 pounds. Assistant coach Jesse Davis told Our Town that the Foxes, who have more than 50 wrestlers on this year’s squad, expect to qualify from 7 to 11 athletes for state and should finish in the top half of the district.

In addition to Reed, who was third at state last year, the Foxes boast Jacob Whitehead (ranked third at 106), Braden Sinn (No. 7 at 160) and Valentin Garcia (No. 8 at 106). Also wrestling well this season are 182-pounder Wyatt Patrick (15-4 record) and William McMahon (22-6 mark at 195) and Tabor Tarpley, a district placer at 145 last year who Davis said is “always looking to compete.”

Silverton senior Sam Roth played tough offense in a Jan. 7 win against Lebanon.  Kristine Thomas

Silverton senior Sam Roth played tough offense in a Jan. 7 win against Lebanon. Photo by Kristine Thomas

Others who are in the mix include Cache Campbell (120), Matt Schonblacher (132), Daniel Kuznetsov (145), Matt Albrecht (152), Austin Haskett (170) and Zack Milstead (285).

Upcoming dual meets include a Jan. 27 visit from Central and trips to No. 3 Dallas (Feb. 3) and No. 7 Lebanon (Feb. 10). The Mid-Willamette district meet is Feb. 19-20, with the state meet Feb. 26-27.

Boys hoops: Defending Class 5A champion Silverton was 7-4 overall and 1-0 in the Mid-Willamette Conference heading into this week and ranked No. 11 by the OSAA. However, six of the Foxes’ opponents to date have been Class 6A schools and Silverton is 3-3 against those teams, with wins vs. Canby, Sprague and West Salem. Silverton entered the week the top-ranked team in the MWC, but with Lebanon (12th), Corvallis (13th), Dallas (16th), Crescent Valley (17th) and Central (19th) all in the top 20 … this could be a fascinating league season.

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