This year the boys’ basketball team led by senior captains, Mason Green-Richards, Eli Lininger, Sean O’Neal, and Kirk Bassett, are looking to win the South Western Conference and to make a deep run during the state playoffs. However, after a rocky start, South is looking to regain their footing as they head into league play.
After making a trip to the quarterfinals last year, South came into the season ranked fourth overall.
“There’s a lot of seniors on the team who want to make it memorable last year,” Lininger said. “It’s not just enough for us to do well during the regular season, we have to have success in the playoffs.”
Despite the high hopes, South lost their first two games to South Salem and Lincoln.
“Coming out it felt as if we had things figured out,” Green-Richards said. “But we didn’t, and we ended up losing to two teams that we really should have played better against.”
In the next game, South managed to pull off a close 74-71 victory over Canby.
“It was a lot closer than it should have been, and we almost gave up a 16 point lead,” Green-Richards said. “Hopefully getting that win will put us back on the right track to our goals.”
While the two losses may not have been the start they were looking for, the team was glad to put those disappointments behind them.
“Nobody wants to start off their season with two losses,” Lininger said. “But I would rather lose now than during a playoff or a crucial game down the road. Right now I just want to focus on this week of practice and what we can do to win our next few games.”
The four starting seniors bring a level of maturity to the court, which is complemented by a talented group of underclassmen.
“This is a senior group that has won some big games in their high school careers,” athletic director and head coach Dave Hancock said, “but they haven’t been consistent throughout the season. That’s the challenge that has been put out to them: to be consistent all year; not only in games, but also in practices.”
Defense was a part of the Axemen’s game that was lacking at the start of the season.
“We definitely need to make some improvements,” Hancock said. “Our number one priority is just shoring up our defense and playing with a little bit more nastiness.”
The team still has a long season ahead of them and a lot of time to accomplish their goals.
“First we have to win our league, then get a good seed in the playoffs,” Green-Richards said. “It’s not going to be easy and we still have a lot to work on”
It will be an exciting season for the boys in purple. Get out and enjoy watching your friends and classmates as they take on all opponents in the Purple Pit.