Southern Oregon High School Basketball – Where do we stand and where are we going?
With most teams nearly half-way through their league schedules and with about a month left in their seasons, it’s time to take a look at where our Southern Oregon high school boys and girls basketball teams stand currently, and where they may be headed.
Part two today will focus on our Southern Oregon 5A teams:
Currently 12-6 overall, 3-3 in the Midwestern League. Ranked #11 in 5A by the OSAA.
The Crater boys have compiled an impressive overall record thus far in the season. Two of their six losses have come against 6A opponents and two of their most recent losses have come against the top two teams in the Midwestern League, Churchill and North Eugene. They currently sit in fourth place in conference and with a home game remaining against second-place Churchill and a matchup with first-place North Eugene in February, they will have opportunities to move up in the standings. They will need to improve upon their previous efforts against those two teams to do so, however. If they can take care of business against the other MWL opponents on their schedule and pick up one out the two aforementioned games, they will have a great shot at a top eight spot in the final OSAA rankings. This would give the Comets a opening round home playoff game and a great shot at returning to the state tournament at Gill Coliseum, March 8-10.
Currently 13-5 overall, 5-1 in the Midwestern League. Ranked #5 in 5A by the OSAA.
The Crater girls have also compiled an impressive resume’ so far in ‘22-‘23 with a 13-5 overall record. Two of their losses have also come against 6A opponents, and their sole league loss came against the #1 ranked team in 5A, Springfield. What’s even more impressive are the multiple blowout wins logged by the Comets. Overall the Crater girls have outscore their opponents 1107-608, a state-best 499 point overall margin! They currently sit in second-place in the MWL and there is nothing to indicate they won’t run through the teams remaining on their schedule other than Springfield, setting up what could end up being a conference deciding game on Feb. 3 against the Miller girls. Either way, the Comets are poised to host the first round playoff game and return to Gill Coliseum with a chance to bring home some hardware.
Currently 9-8 overall, 4-2 in the Midwestern League. Ranked #16 in 5A by the OSAA.
The Ashland Grizzlies 9-8 record so far this season isn’t exactly awe-inspiring, but upon closer inspection you’ll see Coach Sam Osofsky’s intent was to challenge his team with tough, non-league opponents this season. That schedule included four 6A programs (Liberty, a fifth was cancelled) in which Ashland compiled a 1-3 recorded, including a 58-44 win against inter-county rival, North Medford. All of the Grizzlies eight losses were by single-digits and they have outscored opponents 827-759 on the season, suggesting they are a much better team than their record may indicate. As it is, Ashland sits in the precarious position of being tied for third place in the MWL and #16 ranking by the OSAA, so there is no more room for error if they intend to earn a playoff berth. Their remaining schedule is difficult, but also filled with opportunity as they play four of their seven remaining games against teams ahead of them in the conference standings. I will predict a battle-tested Ashland team will win the games they have to and reach the playoffs again this season.
Currently 2-13 overall and 0-6 in the Midwestern League. Ranked #30 in 5A by the OSAA.
Obviously, this is not going to be the year we see the Ashland girls in the post-season. A tough season so far in which the only wins have come against 3A St. Mary’s and 4A Phoenix. Some promise to double their win total over the next three games, though, as they play St. Mary’s again and a Thurston team that they played to a narrow 45-47 defeat earlier this month.
Eagle Point Boys
Currently 4-14 overall and 1-5 in the Midwestern League. Ranked #26 in 5A by the OSAA.
The Eagle Point boys graduated eight seniors from last season’s squad that finished 18-9 and made it all the way to the state tournament at Gill Coliseum. This year looks to be a rebuilding and growth year for the Eagles. With only one senior on the roster, nearly this whole team will return next year with another season of valuable experience under their belt, ready to contend again for a tourney berth.
Eagle Point Girls
Currently 13-5 overall and 3-3 in the Midwestern League. Ranked #13 in 5A by the OSAA.
The Eagle Points girls have taken care of business pretty efficiently this season, especially while compiling an impressive 10-2 non-league record. After a narrow 59-54 loss against the #1 team in the state, Springfield, the Eagles find themselves ranked #13 by the OSAA and in a three-way tie for third in the conference with little more room for error. The Eagles will almost certainly need to win their next three games against North Eugene, Churchill and Ashland to solidify their playoff position before their tough finish against the top two teams in the conference, Springfield and Crater. I expect to see the Eagles continue to take care of their business and earn their first playoff berth since the 2014-15 season.
Next 4A and 3A
By Rick Dyer