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Hoops showdowns – Foxes boys, girls in thick of title races

James Day

The Silverton boys basketball team outlasted top-ranked Crescent Valley 58-52 on Jan. 24 to take sole possession of first place in the Mid-Willamette Conference.

The Foxes, ranked 7th in Class 5A, improved to 11-5 overall and 7-0 in league play while winning their sixth consecutive game overall. C.V. dropped to 11-4 and 5-1. The two teams play again Feb. 25 in Corvallis, with the regular-season title likely to be on the line. Silverton finishes the first half of the league season Jan.27 at Lebanon.

This is the second year in a row that the Foxes and C.V. have run away from the rest of the MWC. In last spring’s COVID-shortened campaign Silverton was 14-1 and 8-0 in league. The Raiders were 7-1 in league, losing only to the Foxes on a 59-36 count.

Central, at 4-2, heading into Jan. 24’s play, looks like the closest threat to Silverton and C.V. in the MWC, but the Panthers already have lost by double-digit margins to the two front-runners.

This year’s Foxes have been road warriors, playing a dizzying array of foes this season. The five losses have been to Class 6A West Salem, two teams from Ohio, one from Washington state and one from California.

The Foxes are 6-0 since losing to a squad from Olmstead, Ohio, on Dec. 30 in a holiday tournament in Chandler, Arizona. Silverton also played in the Capitol City Classic at Willamette University in Salem. 

Crescent Valley never has beaten a Foxes team coached by Jamie McCarty. Silverton is 8-0 against the Raiders under McCarty, with all of the previous seven games having a margin of victory of 20 or more. McCarty is 60-1 overall against the MWC, losing only in overtime at Corvallis in 2019.

Silverton’s girls, meanwhile, also are in the thick of things in the MWC. The Foxes traveled to Crescent Valley on Jan. 24 and took down the previously undefeated Raiders 49-34. 

Silverton improved to 4-1 in league play, one-half game behind 5-1 West Albany and Crescent Valley. 

The girls squad also is on a bit of a streak. The Foxes are 8-0 since falling 44-42 to Corvallis, now 3-2, in the league opener for both schools on Dec. 14. Silverton has a return engagement with the Spartans on Feb. 1 in Corvallis and still has two contests with West Albany, Feb. 15 at Silverton and Feb. 21 in Albany.

Meanwhile, the Kennedy boys are locked in a three-way struggle for supremacy in the Tri-River Conference basketball race – and perhaps Class 2A as well. As the end of the month approached Salem Academy was undefeated in league and ranked No. 3, with one-loss Kennedy (No. 6) and two-loss Western Christian (No. 5) still in the hunt.  Only two teams automatically qualify for the 2A playoffs, but the high ranking of all three teams makes them a solid bet for one of the league’s four at-large berths should that prove necessary.

The destiny of the Trojans is in their own hands. JFK defeated Western Christian and lost to Academy in the first round of league play, with the Trojans visiting Western on Feb. 5 and closing the regular season with a home game against Academy. 

Salem Academy has played one of the broadest schedules in the state. The Crusaders’ four losses have come against a team from California, Class 5A Corvallis, Class 4A Cascade and Class 3A Dayton. Academy also boasts wins against 5A Crescent Valley and 3A Umatilla.

Swimming: The Silverton swim team started the season without a pool because of maintenance work on the community pool. 

The Aqua Foxes trained Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in Woodburn, although the 50-plus swimmers had access to just three lanes. On Tuesdays and Thursday the team practiced from 8 to 9 p.m. using six lanes in Molalla.

“It affected us a bunch,” said coach Lucky Rogers. “I am very appreciative of those pools, but those conditions/pool times were not very conducive to what we need. It was great to get back in our pool after a month of traveling.”

Rogers has 52 swimmers on the roster, including 18 freshmen. Included are some of the best in school history. Senior Catherine Hyde will be a state contender in the 100 fly and 100 back at state, Rogers said, and she will combine with Libby Grogan, Lucy Fronza, Vella Spaethe, Cordelia Bay and Evie Smith on the top-flight relay squads that are a Silverton tradition.

Top boys competitors include Makani Buckley  and CJ Hollis, who have set their sights on the school record in the 200 free.  Buckley also will shine in the 500 free with Hollis also working in the 100 fly. Kellen Hayter will swim the 50 free and 100 breast, with Dalton Buller and Grant Nealon adding relay depth.

Rogers thinks the girls squad has a shot at second in the district competition, with the boys in the top 4.

Officials needed: The Oregon School Activities Association and the Oregon Athletic Officials Association are seeking baseball and softball umpires for the upcoming spring season. The first date for games is March 14, with the registration period for officials ending on April 22. To register or for more information go to https://www.osaa.org/officials.  

Follow me on Twitter.com @jameshday. Got a news tip? Email me at [email protected]. Follow Our Town on Facebook.

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