News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Strong season continues for Scio boys basketball

The Scio boys basketball program is moving into “uncharted territory.” The Loggers, who won just nine games during the 2019-20 season, already have reached that mark in the 2023-24 campaign. Scio was 9-5 overall and 3-1 in the Class 3A PacWest Conference heading into a couple of showdown games this week.

The No. 24 Loggers, weather and ice permitting, visited No. 8 Dayton (9-6 overall, 3-0 PacWest) on Thursday, Jan. 18, and host No. 23 Taft (9-8, 3-1) on Friday, Jan. 19.

Scio Loggers

“As a team so far we have avoided talking about where we are and continue to focus on where we want to go,” Loggers coach Nathan McIntyre told The Canyon Weekly. “Yes, we are 3-1 but it is the 1 loss (vs. Santiam Christian) that stands out to us.  We let our guard down and we paid the cost. In years past the loss would have sent us on a downward spiral. Instead it has provided some positives. We were able to recognize some vulnerabilities and made slight corrections between contests. I think that showed in how we played against Sheridan (a 77-46 win). 

“Now we enter a portion of difficult league play. Dayton and Taft are really good squads. This is uncharted territory for us and I am excited to see how we respond versus teams that are accustomed to winning.”

McIntyre said the team has been given a boost by sophomores Rhordan Meadows and Brycen Zosel.

“They have seen their minutes increase as we moved into league play.  It’s been fun to see how their play has improved with each game. Their ‘sophomore’ mistakes have become less frequent, which has been a great asset for us. Overall, we are beginning to gel as a team (by) learning from each other’s strengths.”

McIntyre also noted that Gabe Nikitchuk “has seen an increase in minutes (because) we have a kid that is away from the team right now. Gabe has stepped up.  He is a tough kid that really brings some defensive energy.”

Like most athletic teams in the region Scio was forced to suspend practices because of the weather. 

“What a crazy week so far,” McIntyre said. “As a team we have not been able to get together since our last contest so I am sure the boys are itching to get back in the gym. Last week we took our first step to changing the narrative surrounding Scio boys basketball. We are 9-5 with a lot of league play left. The last time we achieved nine wins in a season was 2019/2020. That team finished 1-9 in league play. This year’s squad doesn’t feel we are done just yet. Every day is a chance to get a little better and take one more step down the path towards our goal.”

Santiam’s boys and girls squads, meanwhile, are both 0-4 in league play and looking up at the deep set of Tri-River Conference teams ahead of them while also realizing that the 12-team league is so loaded that they remain alive for the playoffs. The top four teams in the league receive automatic bids, with 3 at large berths available statewide for the 16-team bracket. That means that anyone in the top 15 or so right now in the OSAA rankings is in the playoff hunt. The Santiam boys are ranked 17th, with the girls 20th.

Santiam Wolverines

“The girls are still in good spirits and starting to piece things together,” coach Hannah Thompson told The Canyon Weekly. “We basically started league play facing every top team in the conference and competing with a couple of them in close games. We still have a good chance of making the playoffs, but it will pretty much require us to win out throughout this next week or two. 

“These games are very important and I have confidence that we can accomplish that goal.”

Thompson said a whole series of players have been stepping up recently, including Averie Peterson, Reese Longfellow, Boston Flores and Maizy Downey along with Brooke Massey and Eva Sloan.

One key challenge for the squad, Thompson said, is taking care of the basketball better.

“We have been committing way too many turnovers and it’s just hard to win games when you give up that many offensive possessions and give the opposing team that many extra ones,” she said. “And then just playing consistent. We have a lot of really great quarters. I don’t think we’ve had a league game in which we have executed for four full quarters straight, so I’m excited for that to happen soon.”   

Another challenge for the Santiam teams is that they have had three consecutive league games, Kennedy, Gervais and Culver, canceled because of the weather. That means some three-game and perhaps four-game weeks are coming up. 

WRESTLING: Like their hoops counterparts, Santiam’s wrestlers are waiting for the skies and roads to clear. The Wolverines have lost matches against Vernonia and Kennedy, with the Vernonia dual now set for next Wednesday, Jan. 24. Coach Kerry Crowston told The Canyon Weekly that the team has been unable to practice since last weekend. 

Keeping the athletes away from the mat for days can also mean weight gains, but Crowston said his team has been “keeping the weight in check.”

The district meet is just around the corner on Feb. 10 in Toledo.

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