The boys’ basketball team had a historic season this year. Led by seniors Eli Lininger, Mason Green-Richards, Kirk Bassett, and Sean O’Neil, the Axemen made it all the way to the OSAA State Tournament, placing third after defeating Central Catholic on Saturday, Mar. 14 in Portland, Ore.
South fought with intensity to their final game. In a match against South Medford on Feb. 20, the Axemen beat the Panthers 61-57 in overtime, winning the Southwest Conference title. In their first playoff game against Oregon City on Mar. 3, South won 65-55. Their next game, a pivotal showdown against Jefferson on Mar. 6, was where the Axemen, the unspoken underdogs, pulled out a close win with a score of 76-75 after two periods of overtime. They then moved on to the state quarterfinals, where they beat South Salem 62-61. In the semifinals, the Axemen lost to first seed West Linn, 81-59. In the consolation game against Central Catholic, South pulled out a 65-61 win in overtime.
“It feels really good to have gotten [that] far. We worked really hard, and it’s rewarding to see it pay off,” Lininger, who concluded the season with 586 points and 400 rebounds, said.
After a rocky start to the season the boys’ basketball team turned it around and finished with a record of 21 wins and eight losses.
“It’s a good feeling to see how much we improved from being 4-21 our freshman year to being third in state three years later,” Green-Richards said.