A first for Kennedy girls: JFK hoopsters top-ranked in 2A

March 2016 Posted in School, Sports

James DayBy James Day

The Kennedy High girls basketball team
heads into the state playoffs as the top-ranked team in Class 2A after winning its first Tri-River Conference championship in school history.

The Trojans, who defeated No. 4 – and defending 2A champion —  Western Mennonite on Feb. 20 in the league playoffs, took on Irrigon on Feb. 26 after Our Town’s presstime with a shot at the state tournament in Pendleton on the line.

“The girls played really well,” Kerry Hall, who has co-coached the squad for the past nine years with brother Peter, told Our Town. “We came out a little nervous but once that wore off we played our game. Western is a great team with some great players. We knew we had to take care of the boards and play great team defense. In the end that’s what won the game for us.

“The girls are really focused right now. We are all trying to focus on one game at a time.”

Kennedy’s Tri-River rivals Western Mennonite and Regis also play Friday for state tournament spots. If all three teams win they will occupy three of the four spots on one side of the Class 2A bracket.

The Silverton Foxes will host a state playoff game March 4.

The Silverton Foxes will host a state playoff game March 4.

“It’s definitely the toughest league in the state,” Kennedy athletic director Kevin Moffatt told Our Town. “These girls and their coaches have worked extremely hard to accomplish this. Plus they always have one of the best GPAs in the state. It’s a pretty amazing group.”

Silverton, meanwhile, is one win away from a perfect regular season. The Foxes, who downed Woodburn 66-27 on Tuesday to clinch the Mid-Willamette Conference title, visited 8-5 Dallas on Friday, Feb. 26 after Our Town’s press time to close the league season.

So how dominant has Silverton, ranked No. 2 in Class 5A, been this season? The Foxes have outscored their opponents by an average of 56.1 points to 32.1 points. Only five squads have lost to Silverton by single digits, with a 46-41 win Feb. 3 vs. Lebanon the closest game the Foxes have had.

Silverton played six Class 6A teams in the preseason and won the games by an average of 22.2 points, including nine-point wins against No. 10 Canby and No. 21 Sherwood.

The Foxes will host a state playoff game March 4, with a win there advancing them to the state quarterfinals March 9 at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis.

Boys hoops: The Kennedy boys squad also is one win away from a state tournament berth. The Trojans, who finished third in the Tri-River with an 8-4 marks and are making their first trip to the state playoffs in eight years, visited Irrigon on Saturday, Feb. 27 after Our Town’s presstime.

Silverton, meanwhile, headed into the final week of the regular season trailing Corvallis by one game in the MWC. The Foxes, who downed the Spartans 57-54 on Feb. 10 to tie the league race, stumbled in their next outing, falling 62-59 in overtime to South Albany.

The Foxes are in a virtual lock to skip the play-in round but must move into the top eight in the OSAA rankings to avoid a road game in the Class 5A playoffs. Silverton, the defending state champions, came into the week ranked ninth.

Swimming: The Foxes’ boys and girls teams finished third in the Mid-Willamette district competition in Lucky Rogers’ first season as head coach. And although school records are not complete that combination of boys and girls success appears to be unprecedented in Silverton history.

“I was very pleased with our efforts,” Rogers told Our Town. “The season was a huge success.”

The boys were 10-1 in dual meets, the girls were 9-2, and both squads used their depth to pile up points at the district meet in Corvallis.

Lindsey Orr took second in the 50 free, while Jason Orr was second in the 200 individual medley. Lindsey also was third in the 100 free and participated on the 200-medley relay and 200 free relay teams that qualified for state. Jason Orr also took third in the 100 back.

Other swimmers who placed in multiple events included Cole Hacked (fourth in 100 fly and 100 back), Maiden Davis (third in 100 free and sixth in 50 free), Emily Dillon (sixth in 100 fly and 50 free) and Tyler Cohered (eighth in 200 free and 500 free). In addition, Ross Mackinaw was fourth in the 100 breast, Grace Hairy was fifth in the 100 breast, Ha

Silverton High swimmer Jason Orr.

Silverton High swimmer Jason Orr.

nnah Daly was sixth in the 100 breast, Megan Brockamp was seventh in the 200 IM, Jillian Bliss was seventh in the 100 free, Kami Myers was eighth in the 200 IM and Francisco Barocio was eighth in the 100 breast.

Rogers noted that the Foxes had 20 swimmers on the podium this season, compared to 10 a year ago and single digits all eight years before that.

Both Orrs and the two girls relays went on to the state, with Lindsey Orr’s 10th in the 50 free the top individual finish.

Wrestling: The Foxes claimed one district championship and finished fifth as a team in Mid-Willamette district competition Feb. 19-20 at South Albany. Silverton amassed 231 points, trailing champion Lebanon (397.5), Dallas (379.5), Central (285) and host South Albany (247.5).

Austin Reed won the district title at 132 pounds, taking an 8-1 decision against Chase Miller of Lebanon in the finals. Reed, who improved his record to 42-4, will be joined at the Feb. 26-27 state meet by five teammates, Braden Sinn, Valentin Garcia, Matthew Schonbachler, Jacob Whitehead and Tabor Tarpley.

Sinn finished second at 160, dropping a 5-1 decision in the finals to Tanner Sallee of Lebanon. Garcia took third at 106, defeating teammate Whitehead 12-5 in the third-place match. Schonbachler finished third at 138 pounds, and Tarpley was fourth at 145.

Helping out with valuable team points were Boston Merrifeild (fifth at 120), Cache Campbell (sixth at 120), Mathew Albrecht (sixth at 160), and Rosendo Sosa (sixth at 182).

Hoop Shoot: Two local sharpshooters are headed to Vancouver, Wash., for regional competition. Jacob Axmaker of Sublimity and Ellie Cantu of Mount Angel, both of whom triumphed in the local competition at the Silverton Elks Lodge No. 2210, have now won state titles as well.

Axmaker, who made 21 of 25 shots at state, is a Hoop Shoot veteran, finishing fifth nationally in his age group two years ago and No. 2 last year.

Cantu, meanwhile, made 23 of 25 shots to earn the “top shooter” trophy among the girls.

Axmaker and Cantu will compete March 12 in the regionals, with a shot at an all-expenses paid trip to nationals in Springfield, Massachusetts, on the line.

Dance: The Silverton squad has started its second season as it prepares for the OSAA championships next month in Portland. The Foxes competed Feb. 6 in a “traditional” event at Stayton.

The traditional event usually divides classes into small and large teams. This time, however, the Foxes were grouped together with all Class 5A schools. Teams perform the same routine twice. Silverton was in fourth place after the first performance but an improved showing in the second round elevated the Foxes to second overall.

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