MCKENZIE BRIDGE, Oregon (STPNS) -- McKenzie Varsity Sports Schedule This Week

There are no scheduled Varsity events this week.

Basketball Season Arrives

McKenzie’s athletes and coaches have stored their Fall Season equipment, celebrated their season’s accomplishments, and are now dusting off the basketballs and lowering the hoops. Eagle Head Coaches David Duncan (Girls Varsity) and Galen Scrivner (Boys Varsity) have officially opened the 2014 Basketball Season by welcoming players to daily practices. With both team’s season openers not far off, Coaches Duncan and Scrivner have been focusing on conditioning and analyzing the mix of returning and new Eagle athletes.

The Varsity Girls first game, at McKenzie, is scheduled for Wednesday, December 3, and Coach Duncan’s team will tip off against Trinity Lutheran. The Saints will feature an experienced, senior loaded team that finished third in the 2013 Mt. Valley League (10-2, 16-9), earned a first round State playoff game, and posted a 21st final OSAA State 1A ranking. Certainly, Coach Duncan’s team has their work cut out in preparation but the Eagles also return skilled players to the hardwood.

Graduating from last season’s Eagle team (14-2, 22-5, 4th ranked) that fell to St. Paul in a first round State playoff game, are Mikaila Hiddleston and Shyla Harlan, both significant shoes to fill. Hiddleston, the Eagle’s Female Athlete of the Year and a Mt. West League First All-League Team Basketball selection and Harlan, starting point guard and a Mt. West League Third All-League Team selection will be missed. But returning starters from last season are seniors Buggy Hiddleston and Katey Totten, both Mt. West League Second All-League Team selections and junior Honorable Mention selection, Jorden Smith. Also returning from last season’s team are senior Aly Heins and sophomore Miyanna Hayes.

Coach Duncan welcomes newcomers, senior Mikalah Gonzales, junior Idgie Joe, and freshman Paige Lowry. And that’s the roster, currently. With just eight girls participating, Coach Duncan is confidant all players will contribute throughout the season.

With a tough schedule looming and including several teams that earned 2013 post season opportunities, the “hard work they (Eagles) have showed this early in the season will payoff in the long run,” Duncan states. The Eagle mentor sees “battling Lowell and Triangle Lake for the top spot in the conference. Both of those teams will be under new coaching staffs. Looking at our schedule, it will be a tough road, but will payoff at the end.” Again, with low numbers turning out for the team, Duncan is certain the Eagles will feature “a couple of starting lineups.”

The McKenzie Boys team is fortunately practicing a few more players than the Girls team. Headlining the returning letter-men is senior Alex Nastasiuk, who was voted last season to the Mt. West League Third All-League Team. Gone to graduation is Mt. West First All-League Team recipient, Bailey Adams. Returning from last season’s (7-9, 7-19) team that finished sixth in the Mt. West League, are seniors Eric Huffman and Trevor Spray, junior Drew Hamlow, and sophomores Chanse Hamlow, Jason McCarrick, James Rimmer, and Matt Brownlee.

The Eagles open the 2014 season on the road, against Yoncalla, who is hosting their annual two day tournament, beginning Friday, December 5. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 pm. Yoncalla graduated just one senior off last season’s team that finished third in the Skyline League (9-3, 17-10, 17th ranked) and earned a second round State playoff game against Powder Valley, the latter advancing to place 5th in the OSAA State 1A Championships.

OSAA State 1A Football Update

It will be an All Eastern Oregon Football Championship Final as the Sherman Huskies out of Central Oregon and the Adrian Antelopes hailing from the Eastern Oregon Border both defeated their Semi-Final foes to advance to the last OSAA 1A eight-man football game of the 2014 season. Sherman stopped a strong Camas Valley team 24-18 in a game played at Liberty High School, in Hillsboro. Adrian prevailed in an offensive shootout with perennial contender Dufur, winning 58-52. The two teams will lineup at Hermiston High School on November 29, with kickoff at 6:00 pm.