Boys' Basketball Competing!
Like an annual rite of passage, the Stayton boys' basketball team is navigating its way through the treacherous Oregon West Conference. Every year, the OWC churns out extremely tough boys' basketball teams. This year is no exception. Of the seven teams currently in the conference, five of them are ranked in the top 12 of the OSAA rankings. The Eagles are 2-2 in conference play and 10-5 overall. It is very likely the league champ will end up with at least two losses in league, so another league title is certainly not out of the question for Stayton. After graduating four starters from last year's squad and most of their size, the Eagles look a little different this year.
Point guard Logan Classen is the lone returning starter, and he anchors a guard heavy rotation featuring Derek Berning, Malachi Muhic, Gabriel Wigginton, Ben Rash, Jacob Axmaker, and Quinton Strand. Front court players like Bryce Whieldon and Jonathan Daniels provide inside scoring and rebounding, but unlike last year when everything went through the "bigs", guards are the focal point this time around. First year Coach Aaron Muhic has stressed an up-tempo game and the kids are playing hard. They are competing in every game, and they have had success.
Their best stretch to date was winning the SCTC Holiday Classic tourney during Christmas Break. It was a strong, eight team field on the boys' side, and the Eagles defeated Woodburn in the championship game. With eight games to play in the regular season, Stayton hopes to not only survive the brutal stretch that is Oregon West boys' basketball, but to get better each game as a result of playing such tough competition. If they are able to do that, not only is a league championship still on the table, they just might find themselves back at the state tourney. With a new coach, new system and predominantly new players, that would be quite a feat.