By Cliff Richardson
McKenzie’s Varsity Girls Basketball team hosts the St. Paul Buckaroos on Tuesday, February 25, with game time scheduled for a 6:00 pm. tipoff. An Eagle win would earn McKenzie a Second Round game to be scheduled on Friday, February 28 with an opponent, place and time also yet to be decided.
Mapleton’s Tucker Ford disrupted the McKenzie offense with 7 steals and the junior standout scored 13 pts. in the Sailor’s 39-29 victory over the Eagles in the first round of the Mt. West League playoffs. Mapleton and host McKenzie finished tied in the final Mt. West League Boys Basketball regular season standings at 7-9. The Eagles earned the home court advantage in the first round of the League playoffs by virtue of defeating the Sailors twice during the season. But it was Mapleton that won the biggest game of the season between the two League rivals, defeating the Eagles on their own court. In a game that might have gone the other way, the Eagles lost their standout play-maker, senior Bailey Adams, to injury with approximately four minutes left in the contest. Adams did not return to play for the remainder of the game. Adams scored 14 pts. to lead all scorers while teammate Alex Nastasiuk added 10 pts. as the two players tallied 24 pts. of their team’s 29 pt. total. McKenzie’s 2014 season ended with a 7-18 overall record. Mapleton earned a trip to Crow on Thursday for a game that determined which team would begin spring activities and which would travel to the Morse Event Center for a game versus Lowell. Crow prevailed 57-54 and advanced to Saturday’s game with the Red Devils. The victor of that game would earn the third and final seed from the League to the OSAA State Boys Basketball Championships. Lowell defeated Crow in a close contest, 60-56 and will travel to the Skyline League’s second seed Camas Valley on Wednesday, February 26, for a first round State playoff game. Siletz Valley defeated Triangle Lake in the Mt. West League Tournament Championship game Saturday, 74-67, earning the Warriors a first round bye in the State playoffs and the advantage of hosting a second round State game on March 1. Triangle Lake, as the League’s second seed, hosts a first round game versus C. S. Lewis Academy, the Casco League’s 3rd seed. That game is scheduled for Wednesday, 7:00 pm.
The third ranked McKenzie Eagles (22-4) knew they would have their hands full with the fourth ranked Triangle Lake Lakers when they met in the Mt. West League Championship game on Saturday, February 22. And with the Eagles standout junior starter Buggy Hiddleston out with a season ending injury, the task became that much more formidable. Indeed, the Eagles missed Hiddleston sorely, losing to the Lakers 39-21, the third time this season and by the largest margin. The game wasn’t ever close as the Eagles fell behind 12-3 in the first quarter and were trailing 20-7 at the half. McKenzie’s offense sputtered all game as the Eagles shot a meager 17% from the field and 42% from the free-throw line. The Lakers, exploiting their familiar rival’s misfortunes, amped up the defensive pressure on the Eagle’s Makaila Hiddleston and Katey Totten. Hiddleston was held to well below her season average as she tallied just 4 pts., 4 rebounds and 2 assists. Totten added 1 pt., 4 rebounds, an assist, and 2 steals. The Lakers meanwhile, were led by Mt. West League MVP Kianna Brown’s 25 pts. and 9 rebounds. Triangle Lake easily dominated the 3rd quarter, outscoring McKenzie 13-6 and establishing a 33-13 margin going into the 4th quarter and ensuring the rout final. The Eagles Jorden Smith led her team offensively with 9 pts., 6 rebounds, 1 assist and 5 steals. Shyla Harlan scored 5 pts., secured 6 rebounds, had an assist and a steal. Isabella Espinoza scored 2 pts. and Kailyn Ringler added a rebound. Triangle Lake captured the Tournament Trophy and will represent the League in the upcoming OSAA State Girls Basketball Championships as the #1 seed. Fortunately for the Eagles, their season continues representing the Mt. West League as the #2 seed and thus earning Coach David Duncan’s team a home game in the First Round of the State playoffs against the 16th ranked St. Paul Buckaroos (16-11), the third seed out of the Casco League. That game will be played at McKenzie on Tuesday, February 25, with the tip-off at 6:00 pm. Lowell defeated Crow, 60-42, on Saturday to nail down the third and final seed to State. The Red Devils will travel to Elkton for a game with the #2 seed from the Skyline League. Triangle Lake has a bye in the First Round and will host a second round game with the opponent yet to be decided.
McKenzie Varsity Wrestler Dylan Garr captured third place Saturday, February 22, at the OSAA 2A/1A Special District 2 Wrestling Championships held at Reedsport Community Charter School. Garr, wrestling in the 195 lb. class earned byes up to the semi-final match, which he lost in 0:55 by pin to Thomas Keeler from Gold Beach. In his only other match in the consolation final, Garr won by major decision, 10-1, over Evan Nolan of Lowell, earning him third place. Lane Kruse, wrestling for McKenzie in the 138 lb. weight class lost his first match by an 11-5 decision to Justyn Barton of Lowell and then fell in his consolation match by a 10-5 decision to Jacob Gunn from Riddle. Eagle Levi Sturgill, competing in the 145 lb. weight class, lost his quarter-final match by forfeit to Riley Train of Myrtle Point and lost his consolation match by forfeit to Jerry Trejo of Mohawk. Both Kruse and Sturgill are done for the season. McKenzie senior Casey Mitchell was unable to compete due to injury. The Eagle team earned the District Sportsmanship Award.
The Mt. West League Basketball Coaches honored several McKenzie athletes recently in selection of the League’s 2014 All-League Teams. Voted to the Mt. West League Boy’s First Team was the Eagle’s Bailey Adams. Teammate Alex Nastasiuk was voted to the League’s Third Team. The McKenzie Boys Team also earned the 2014 Mt. West League Sportsmanship Award. Makaila Hiddleston was voted to the Mt. West League Girl’s First Team. Buggy Hiddleston and Katey Totten were honored as Second Team Selections, Shyla Harlan was voted to the Third Team and Jorden Smith was selected for the Honorable Mention Team. McKenzie Head Coach David Duncan was named by his peers as the 2014 Mt. West League Coach of the Year.