In a groove – JFK hoops boasts squad of 3 sport stars

February 2023 Posted in sports

James Day

They say winning breeds more winning, and that is definitely true at Kennedy High. The Trojans captured the Class 2A-1A baseball title last spring, finished second in Class 3A football this fall and as the basketball season rounds the midway pole the JFK boys are 13-3 and ranked No. 3 in Class 2A by the OSAA.

And because Kennedy emphasizes three-port participation so much, all three teams essentially are led by the same cast of characters: Ethan Kleinschmit, Luke and Charlie Beyer, Andrew Cuff, Owen Bruner, Matt Hopkins, Brett Boen, William Schaecher and Javier Rodriguez.

“Most of these guys have played all three sports together since they were in like fifth grade,” Kennedy boys hoops coach Karl Schmidtman told Our Town. “I love the fact that they are three-sport athletes. I think young men learn so much by being in three sports. The star in one sport might be the supporting cast in another and I think that is just so good for their character and their understanding of how to play as a team.

“I also think the fact that these boys have been so competitive in all three sports has helped them learn how to deal with adversity and just how to compete night in and night out.”

Depth, as you might expect, is not a problem at Kennedy.

“We definitely have a nice blend of players with six strong post players all above 6-2 and we have 6 guards/wings, too,” Schmidtman. “We can mix and match them in a variety of ways depending on what we want to do defensively and what kind of offense we want to run. We like to try to find matchups in our favor one way or another.  I would say we have six starters and then a strong bench too.

“Andrew Cuff has been our sixth man but often plays the same minutes as the starters, and he can do a lot of things for us off the bench. Javier Rodriguez gives us the best big man off the bench in the league. I am sure most teams would love to have him in their starting rotation.  He has a ‘motor’ and always brings great energy when he is out there.  Depending on the game we can play 12 guys that all can help us in some way and barely miss a beat when we go to our bench.” The 6-4 Boen, says Schmidtman, is one of the best rebounders on the state and he calls Kleinschmit a “Swiss Army knife,” because “he does a variety of things for us,” including scoring 27 points in a game against Santiam in which the Trojans rallied from 15 down to lose by three.

Six different players have led the team in scoring.

The other advantage that the Trojans have with their cadre of football players is their sheer physicality.

“We are probably the most physical team in the league with all our football guys and just the number of seniors we have,” Schmidtman said.  “We believe that our defense should usually keep us in games even if our shots aren’t falling the way we would like. We know that rebounding is one of our strengths and we really try to focus on winning that battle each and every night.”

At Our Town presstime the Trojans were 6-2 in the Tri-River Conference East Division, two games behind Santiam.

Silverton basketball: The Foxes girls squad is 8-0 and has opened up a two-game lead in the Mid-Willamette Conference. The squad, in its first year under coach Alyssa Ogle, is ranked No. 1 in Class 5A, and has victories against 3 Class 6A teams, South Salem, Willamette and Oregon City.

The Silverton boys are also working under a new coach, Tyler Allen. The Foxes are 4-4 in league play but just one game behind 3 teams tied for third at 5-3. The Mid-Willamette receives 4 automatic berths in the 5A playoffs.

“We have proven we can compete with anyone in our league with wins against Central and South Albany, two teams towards the top of our league,” Allen said. “We have also shown our inexperience with poor performances on the road versus Lebanon, West Albany, and Crescent Valley. To make the playoffs we will need to continue to protect our home court, while learning how to efficiently travel on the road and compete in tough environments. There is a log jam after Woodburn (in first) so anyone still has a chance to finish in the top 4 and make the playoffs. I like our chances but we will have a tough road schedule.”

Dance: Silverton’s Stella Harrison has been named to the all-state team for dance and drill. Team membership was open to seniors who compete in all six OSAA classes. Candidates were required to learn a piece of a routine via video and also appear in auditions before a panel of three judges. A total of 34 team members were selected.

“It was my dream to make the  all-state team when I became a senior and now it has happened,” Harrison said. “This shows that hard work truly does pay off.”

The OSAA state championships for dance and drill are March 17-18 at the Oregon State Fairgrounds Pavilion.

Officials needed: The Oregon Athletic Officials Association and the Oregon School Activities Association are recruiting officials for the high school spring sports season. There is an immediate need for umpires in baseball and softball.

Becoming a high school official has several benefits, including staying involved in athletics, maintaining good physical condition and earning extra spending money, said OAOA Executive Director Jack Folliard.

“Oregon has an urgent need for officials in all sports,” Folliard said.  “Officials provide valuable service to high schools and students, make a positive impact in the community and build relationships.”

Those interested in becoming a baseball or softball umpire should visit

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