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Hoops success – Foxes take second in 5A boys tournament

James Day

Both Silverton High basketball squads advanced to the state tournament in Corvallis after sparkling Mid-Willamette Conference championship seasons. The boys team advanced to the state title match against Wilsonville, falling 34-30 in a defense-oriented game in which Silverton led 11-6 at halftime after shutting out the Wildcats in the second period.

The No. 4 Foxes opened with a thrilling 49-47 win against Mid-Willamette Conference foe Crescent Valley and followed that with a
50-36 semifinal take-down of top-ranked Redmond.

“It was an incredible journey,” coach Jamie McCarty told Our Town. “The boys really peaked at the end of the year. They could not have played any harder at Gill. They left everything they had on the court, and that is all we asked. I thought we prepared very well and were ready for each competition.

Silverton players, coaches and managers after finishing 2nd at the Class 5A state boys basketball tournament March 12 in Corvallis.

“The defensive performance we had in the state championship against Wilsonville was the best defensive performance I have ever seen by a high school basketball team. Giving up 6 points in the first half and zero in the second quarter is one I will remember for the rest of my life. The boys will and effort were unmatched. We struggled on the offensive end and just didn’t get enough to go in to win it all.”

Foxes standouts Neil Efimov and Jordan McCarty were named first-team all-tournament, while Ryan Redman-Brown earned Foxes player of the game honors for the CV and Wilsonville games.

Silverton became the first school since the 5A class debuted in 2006 to win a football title in the fall and finish second in hoops in the same school year. The Foxes put together a similar achievement in 2014-15, finishing second in football in the fall and winning the hoops title in 2015.

McCarty is 69-1 in MWC play in his five years. Year one the Foxes were 4th at state. Year two they were third, falling to Wilsonville in the semis. Year three they were in the semis when COVID ended the tournament. They were 14-1 last year, in year four, but no tournament was played.

The Foxes’ girls program, under Tal Wold, has had similar state tournament success. Silverton won the 2016 title, finished second in 2017 and third in 2018. Like the boys squad, they were through to the semis in the COVID year, 2020.

This year, however, the Foxes went 0-2 in the tournament, which had its best balanced field in the 7 years Wold has been taking teams to Gill. The No. 9 seed Crescent Valley won the title against Springfield, the 7th seed. No. 11 Putnam advanced to the semis with a win against No. 3 Crook County.

“There was tremendous parity in 5A this year,” Wold told Our Town. “Not a great team, but a lot of good teams. If we played the tournament again this week, I bet there would be a different winner. That being said, I was happy for CV and they certainly deserved to be state champions.”

Silverton, which defeated CV twice during its 14-2 MWC season, fell to surging Springfield 29-20 in the quarterfinals and then left the tournament after a 47-44 overtime loss to Crook County. The Foxes staged a spirited comeback against Crook County, trailing 26-9 at halftime before roaring back in the final two periods to force overtime. 

Senior Paige Traeger hit two clutch 3-pointers, one in regulation and one in overtime, while sophomore Kyleigh Brown finished with 25 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals. Brown was named second-team all-tournament.

Dance/Drill: COVID robbed dance/drill teams of two full cycles of state championships. No trophies were awarded in either 2020 or 2021.

Silverton turned in an excellent showing in 2022, finishing 4th in Class 5A in the March 18-19 tournament at Oregon City. The Foxes scored 15.75 points, trailing only West Albany (16.56), Scappoose (16.19) and North Eugene (15.86).

“We feel great about it,” coach Alex Reese told Our Town. 

“After two years of no state due to COVID it was a feat in itself just to keep the team motivated and running through that time. Mostly our entire team stuck with us through it all and came back to compete again this season. We tried our hardest as coaches to keep them involved and motivated and to stay connected.

“It was hard sometimes to get back into the swing of things. Going from a practice a week (and some were through Zoom last season) with no competition routines, to a full season again this year with three practices a week and multiple routines to learn, was a huge change. It was our goal to place in the top 5 and receive a state trophy again. There were 14 teams in our division so coming in 4th was a stellar place to finish.”

Here is a look at the team:

Head coach: Alex Reese

Assistant coaches: Emily Sword, Jena Hendrix

Seniors: Marybeth Blair, Ava Bush, Chloe Hupp, Tori Meshelle, Lizzie Stravens, Alyssa Yates

Juniors: Eleanor Brown, Stella Harrison, Amelia Hohenshelt, Addy Rich, Courtney Zurcher

Sophomores: Gwen Arbuckle, Keira Chaparro, Savannah Strader

Freshmen: Jack Hurley, Paisley Rains, Hailey Vinogradoff

Running: The annual Victor Point Run for the Hills is set for Saturday, April 23. The event, which benefits Victor Point School, including a 15-kilometer run, a 10-kilometer run, a 5K run/walk and a 1-mile kids run. All 4 races start and finish at the school, 1175 Victor Point Road SE, Silverton.

Events start with the 1-mile at 8 a.m., with the 15K at 8:15 a.m. and the 10K and 5K at 8:45 a.m. Registration ends April 20. See https://runsignup.com/Race/OR/Silverton/victorpointschoolsrunforthehills for prices, to sign up and for further information.

Follow me on Twitter.com @jameshday.

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