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Hoops previews – Foxes, Trojans already off and running

James Day

The Silverton High boys basketball team, which blazed through a 14-1 COVID season last spring, is off to a strong start for 2021-22.

The Foxes were 4-0 and ranked third in Class 5A at Our Town’s presstime and were battling in the Capitol City Classic in Salem. Post-Christmas the squad will play at a tournament in Arizona.

The Foxes are 1-0 in Mid-Willamette Conference play via a 54-27 win at Corvallis.

“I think the league is as good as it has been over the last few seasons,” coach Jamie McCarty told Our Town. “Most teams are stronger this year. It will be competitive every night out and we are really looking forward to a regular league season. It is our goal every year to win the Mid-Willamette Conference. 

“Our seniors will guide us and lead us every step of the way. We are all looking forward to watching this group come together and achieve their goals they set out at the beginning of the year.”

Those seniors include two returning all-league guards, Jordan McCarty and Neil Efimov.

“I believe they are the best back court in the state at our level,” coach McCarty said. “They are both tremendous leaders and are both great defensive players.”

Rounding out the starting lineup will be Austin Ratliff, Ryan Redman-Brown and Joey Haugen.

The Kennedy boys, meanwhile, are off to a 4-1 start overall and a 1-0 record in the Tri-River Conference. The Trojans are ranked No. 2 in Class 2A.

The starting five – Riley Cantu, Stephan Salinas, Brett Boen, Ethan Kleinschmit and Luke Beyer – consists entirely of players who participated on JFK’s football squad, which took second in Class 2A. Three more football players are on the roster.

“You are right that we got off to a late start with most of our varsity guys playing in the football state title game,” said coach Karl Schmidtman. “Luckily, our returning players have some experience and they were ready to get in the gym and work right away when their football season ended.  

“These boys have been so successful in football the last few years, this has just become a normal part of the routine at the start of a basketball season. I think that is an indication of what kind of athletes they are and how mentally tough they are.”

Girls basketball: Silverton is 4-3 overall and ranked No. 5 in Class 5A. The Foxes have lost twice to Class 6A schools and also fell 44-42 in the league opener vs. Corvallis.

“We return nine girls who played varsity in the spring for us,” said coach Tal Wold. “We have a great mix of seniors through sophomores. Our two senior captains are Paige Traeger and Lilly Horner. They are special young ladies who are incredibly conscientious and considerate of others. 

Kyleigh Brown is a sophomore and is playing well right now. She can score at all three levels and is a phenomenal passer. Lily Hayashida is our other returning starter, and she can shoot it well, too. She has really improved on the defensive end and in her rebounding. As a team I think we are going to be able to score, we must continue to improve on the defensive end and in our rebounding.”

Silverton lost just one player from last year’s roster, Truitt Reilly, who is now playing at Western Washington University. Younger sister Rowan, a 6-0 junior, is on hand to staff the post.

Kennedy, meanwhile, is off to a 2-4 overall start and is 0-1 in the Tri-River under new coach Michael Smith. The Trojans are all new this season with no returning players.

“He is doing a great job,” said Trojans athletic director Kevin Moffatt said of Smith. “He is super positive and knowledgeable.” 

Follow me on Twitter.com @jameshday.  

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