Central Valley Hoops Round Up
Things are still as clear as mud early in conference basketball action.
The more things change, the more they remain the same. This cliché can apply to many things—but especially in the area of local prep sports for Salem-Keizer Schools. Through 2 or 3 games, front runners have developed for both boys and girls teams, but the CVC is still anybody’s league to win by the end of next month.
McNary and West Salem sit at the top of the heap with 2-0 records, while Sprague is right on their heels at 2-1. South and North Salem are still looking for wins.
McNary’s 2-0 record includes an exciting overtime victory at Sprague on January fifth, 62-55. But the Celts also showed some real vulnerabilities in a scheduled non-league home game last Monday, where they fell hard by a count of 62-25 to 5-4 Oregon City. That non-league loss, combined with a fairly pedestrian overall schedule, has McNary at #24 in the OSAA rankings.
West Salem is also unbeaten in CVC play at 2-0, and is 7-6 overall. However, the Titans are the highest ranked team out of the conference at thirteenth. As mentioned in an earlier article, West’s challenging non-league schedule has put them up against some excellent competition. What is truly scary is that West’s 6-7 post Trent Ferguson has yet to play a minute for his team due to a lingering foot injury. He indicated to me that he should be ready to return by early February. Coach Travis Myers’s Titans had this past Thursday off with a bye.
Sprague has a 2-1 record, ahead of other teams in the conference schedule rotation—beating South Salem on Thursday 69-58 in overtime. The Olympians have had two league contests go to extra time—losing their first game against McNary in OT. In their win over South Thursday, Sprague had a great spread of scoring, according to coach Jordan Graneto. Liam Spencer led his team (again) with 21 points, while Nate Tesfu recorded 12, and Matt Weiner and Grayson Long scored nine a piece.
The wide distribution of points helped the Olys overcome the 19 points from South Salem wing Rylan Davidson. The Saxons are starting to figure themselves out collectively, as they stayed with West Salem for a half in their second game of the league season before pushing Sprague to extra time. Coach Travis Brown remains ever optimistic that his squad will learn to maintain 32 minutes of basketball intensity.
North Salem is also still looking for answers in their quest to record an initial league victory. Coach Bryan Huber is seeing some marked improvement from the early season—and the McNary game Thursday provides evidence the team is getting better.
“We played with great energy the entire game,” says Huber.
“I feel we are really improving as a team on both sides of the floor.”
Dominic Hughes paced the Vikings with 17 points. Huber says when Hughes got into foul trouble that Omar Ramirez gave his team an offensive jolt with key buckets in the second half.
McNary coach Ryan Kirch also was pleased with his team’s efforts in the North contest.
Aside from a short stretch in the second quarter when the team could have attacked more aggressively when the Vikings were in the bonus, foul-wise, Kirch thought the team played solidly—especially in the second half.
“We really shared the ball well, and defended hard—only giving up 20 points,” says Kirch.
“And we got to the free throw line.”
McNary converted on 8 of 12 free throws in the final period to seal the victory.
Brody Roth led the Celts with 18 points, Steven Adams added 17, and Jando Gonzalez chipped in 11 points.
Monday conference games for the boys include: McNary at South Salem, and Sprague at West Salem. North Salem has the night off.
West Salem sits at the top of the CVC girls standings at 2-0, and the team had a bye on Thursday. McNary and North Salem are currently short a game after North Salem was forced to postpone their contest Thursday night due to a series of injuries that left the Vikings with just four healthy players to suit up. That game has been rescheduled for January 30th.
South Salem’s girls have been dealing with a series of injuries involving several players, and are still a bit short on wins for the liking of Coach Adrian Lewis. Still, he likes how his team is starting to come together—which was punctuated with a 49-34 win over Sprague. Freshman Emma Burlison led South with 15 points and five rebounds. Carly Skogstad scored 15 for Sprague.
Lewis says his experienced team’s up-tempo offense eventually wore down the young Olympians. He says the last three games for South have been their best of the season.
McNary coach Mike McShane celebrated a birthday this past week. He has to be liking the team’s overall performance, despite needing to reschedule the North game. In the OSAA power rankings, the Celts are just one slot back of West Salem at #17.
Monday’s girls schedule has South Salem at McNary, and West Salem traveling to Sprague. The North Salem girls have the evening off with a bye.
5A basketball sidebar: McKay’s boys and girls teams continue to struggle to find success in the very difficult Mid Willamette Conference.
McKay’s boys picked up their first conference win last week, beating Dallas 54-50 on Monday. They lost 59-50 Thursday to Woodburn. The Scots are 1-4 in conference play, 3-8 overall, and #28 in the 5A power rankings. Woodburn sits atop the boys standings at 5-0.
McKay’s girls are still looking for a conference win—standing at 0-5, and at 4-7 overall for the year. They are ranked 26th at the 5A level. In their most recent game, the Lady Scots lost at home to Woodburn, 51-37. Silverton, Corvallis, and Crescent Valley are tied for the conference lead on the girls side at 5-0.
Monday games for McKay include contests with the Lebanon Warriors. The boys travel to Lebanon, while McKay hosts the girls game.
Again, many thanks to all the readers who keep this writing endeavor on the straight and narrow. Your comments are always welcomed.