In this year of change for Silverton athletics, fall saw new football coach Dan Lever, new volleyball coach Reilly Rosecrans and new girls soccer coach Renee Cantrell all succeed in their roles. All three teams made the playoffs, with football and volleyball advancing to the state quarterfinals.
Now, we’re about to see what happens with hoops. The Foxes have new coaches there, too. Tal Wold (girls) has been replaced with Alyssa Ogle and Jamie McCarty (boys) with Tyler Allen. Expectations are perhaps higher on campus with hoops, mainly because of the success Wold and McCarty have had. They combined for 10 Mid-Willamette Conference titles and made annual appearances at Gill Coliseum for the Class 5A tournament. Wold won a state title in 2016 and his teams also finished second, third and sixth. McCarty’s team finished second last March, while also taking a third and a fourth. In addition, his predecessor, Steve Roth, coached Silverton to the 2015 boys title. McCarty lost one league game in his tenure.
Allen lost his league opener to Woodburn on Dec. 13, but it’s unfair to demand that he win out in Mid-Willamette Conference games for the next 5 years. Last year’s Foxes, who lost by 4 to Wilsonville in the 5A final, were senior-dominated. The coach is new and the team is new, too.
“My best advice I can give my team is we can’t progress forward if we are always looking back,” Allen told Our Town. “The talented teams before us did an amazing job establishing their legacy at Silverton and making this town’s brand of basketball what it is today. We must respect the groundwork provided for us, but now it’s time to build our own team. They have all the potential in the world to make this a strong, competitive season, but it is going to take hard work and finding an identity. Our potential must be our foundation, not our ceiling. If we get to that point, this will be a really fun year.”
Expected to be key contributors for the Foxes are seniors Evan Good and Tyler Mansur and sophomore Brody Kuenzi.
It’s a 10-team Mid-Willamette this season with the addition of Woodburn. That means an 18-game double-round-robin pressure cooker of an MWC campaign that Allen welcomes.
“I’m excited for it,” said Allen, who teaches physical education and health at the Oregon Youth Authority’s MacLaren facility in Woodburn. “Regardless of the league size, every team will play 24-25 games in a season. Every game matters when it comes to power ranking and playoff seeding, but league games tend
to bring a heightened competitiveness and buzz in the gym. I’m excited to get things started.”
The Foxes are 2-5 overall and 0-1 in league play in the early going. Silverton went 1-3 in the always-challenging Capitol City Classic, with its lone win coming against Regis. The Foxes also played another hard-fought game with Wilsonville in a rematch of the 2022 5A title contest. The Wildcats won this version 51-42.
Ogle has a couple of advantages over Allen as she starts year one with the girls. First, she coached with Wold for the past four seasons, and second, she has a strong returning corps of players, led by all-league guard Kyleigh Brown.
“Every day we are coming out and working hard to improve,” said Ogle, who teaches social studies at the high school. “Our goal is to leave every practice and game getting a little bit better as we go, and I feel good about that with our team. We have some seniors that have stepped up and provided some great leadership along with our juniors. We are excited to get some key pieces back from injury and see how they will contribute to our team.
“With our new kids to the team and our returners we really feel good about the opportunities we have and know that hard work can get us to where we want to be. We have a great league with some very tough teams so every night will be a battle. It’s always a challenge adding more league teams especially with the talent in our league so we are excited about the opportunity to get better every game.” In addition to Brown, Ogle has veterans Kirsten Kuenzi, Hannah Bashor and Justina Semerikov on hand as well as talented sophomore Brooklyn Pfeifer.
Silverton is 4-2 at Our Town’s presstime, with the highlight a 3-0 run through the girls bracket of the Capitol City Classic. The Foxes took down three Class 6A teams along the way, downing South Salem 50-43, Willamette 40-34 and Oregon City 60-51,
The Foxes face another big Mid-Willamette Conference test just after the new year, hosting No.4 Lebanon, (5-1) on Monday, Jan. 2. The Mid-Willamette currently dominates the Class 5A rankings, with South Albany (7-1) at No. 1, defending state champion Crescent Valley (4-1) at No. 3, Corvallis (3-1) at No. 6, the Foxes at No. 9 and 4-3 Central at No. 10.
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