▶️ Lady Buffs defeat Crook Co. on senior night to win Tri-Valley League title

It was simple when it came to the stakes of Tuesday night’s game between the Madras girls basketball team hosting Crook County.

The team that wins is the Tri-Valley League champions.

Madras took an early 7-o lead to start the game, but Crook County took a 29-19 lead at the half.

The White Buffs held the Cowgirls to four points in the third quarter to help secure the 53-45 second-half comeback.

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The Lady Buffs host a playoff game on Saturday; the time and opponent are still to be announced.

Crook County also made the postseason despite the loss to the Madras.

Who and Where they play is expected to be announced soon.

▶️ Three different journeys, two-day state wrestling championship, one goal

Central Oregon has become a mecca of great wrestlers.

The High Desert is producing major talent from small schools to large, freshmen to seniors.

At Bend High, the Larwin brothers, part of a wrestling family, are ready for their own legacy.

The older brother, Eric, is a junior looking for his first state title.

“I don’t know how many brother duos there have been in the history of Oregon that have won 5A state titles together,” Eric said. “But I’m ready to be part of that legacy with life, and we’re ready to go out there and compete in both and get our hand raised in the state finals, and that’s going to be awesome to do, and I’m really excited.”

The freshman Leif has already accumulated more wrestling accolades than most athletes dream of.

The phenom already won the prestigious Reser’s Tournament of Champions and is set on joining his brother Eric this year to capture their first Oregon 5A state title.

“It’d be the greatest thing in the world,” Leif said. “To me, it would mean more to me than winning a state title for myself.”

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For Mountain View, a father-son duo ready to make the best out of one last dance together.

“It’s kind of bittersweet,” head Mountain View wrestling coach Dan Potts said. “There’s a part of me that’s like, ready like I was saying, for that break, it’s a lot of hours, not just during the season, but our pre-seasons and our postseasons and our, our summers and, you know, fundraising and kids club and everything. I’m tired; I’m getting older.”

A unique scenario where Dan Potts is in his first and last year as the head coach of the Cougars.

From the beginning, he’s coached his son Jackson, a returning state champion, and now the head coach will be there at the end.

“Kind of just happy that I got to end it, you know, in the Mountain View community and then just with my dad right by my side,” said son Jackson Potts.

A returning state championship team with no individual state champion returners, Redmond High School is looking to stay on top of the 5A wrestling world.

“Really, we just had a good group of guys who were on the same team last year who took maybe third, fourth, fifth, who were just bringing each other up and working to get even higher this year,” said senior Joey Downing.

Downing is looking for his first individual state champion and to help lead the Panthers to another 1st place trophy.

“It’s been a dream of mine since I was five,” Downing said. “I’ve been practicing in the same mat room for 13 years, and so just seeing champs on the wall get filled in, seeing their pictures get put up, and just dreaming about me getting up there, My brother did it two years ago, and so it’s my dream to be up there with him. With all those champs solidifying myself in history.”

Four wrestlers. Three programs. A two-day state tournament to prove who’s number one.

The state tournament is this Friday and Saturday at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland.

▶️ Madras boys, Crook Co. girls hoops stay on top in Tri-Valley Conference

The Madras boys basketball team hosted the Gladstone Gladiators Friday night and earned a 64-43 victory.

The Buffalos are now 14-5 over, 7-0 in Tri-Valley Conference play. They travel to The Dalles, Molalla, and Crook County in their next contests.

The Crook County girls also remain unbeaten in the TVC. They defeated Molalla 52-29 Friday at home.

The girls play at Gladstone and Estacada in their next two games.

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On Saturday, the Intermountain Conference swimming district tournament is at Juniper Swim and Fitness.

Crook County High School hosts the 4A Special District 4 Wrestling Championships at 10:00 am – Adults $10, Students $5.

▶️ Summit basketball stays on top of IMC, Ridgeview boys upset Wolfpack

The No. 1 ranked 5A team in the state, the Summit Storm defeated the No. 8 ranked Redmond Panthers 66-47 Friday night. 

The Storm are now 6-0 in the Intermountain Conference, while Redmond drops to 3-3 in conference play.

The Ridgeview Ravens keep its playoff hopes alive after upsetting the Caldera Wolfpack 65-60.

The Ravens moved to 9-7 overall and 2-4 in league play, while Caldera drops to 10-6 overall, 5-1 in the IMC.

▶️ Madras football may move to 3A with Sisters, La Pine to boost participation

Sometimes, the most challenging battle in sports is just getting kids on the field. Madras football participation numbers are on a steady decline and looking for change.

Fortunately for the program, an Oregon School Activities Association Ad Hoc committee made a suggestion.

“We believe we can be a little bit more competitive at 3A,” said Madras High School Athletic Director Walter Stahl. “Last year alone, we were outscored 267-68.”

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The OSAA recently suggested the White Buffalos go down from 4A to the smaller 3A classification.

“We can get our participation numbers up. (That) is really what we’re trying to accomplish here,” said Madras High School head football coach Judd Stutzman. “We’re not trying to go down to 3A and cakewalk our way to a league title. That’s not our perspective on that. Our perspective is how can we benefit the program by getting the participation numbers back to competing at the 4A level.”

Not only does OSAA’s suggestion mean a move down for Madras, but it also puts them in a conference with Sisters and La Pine, reducing travel time tremendously.

“Last year alone, we traveled 2,775 miles on a bus for our JV and varsity programs,” Stahl said. “And, perspective, that’s going to Washington, D.C., from Portland, Oregon.”

Madras was in a league that had them travel five-to-six hours to Eastern Oregon two to three times a year.

“We had some athletes who would travel to Ontario and we didn’t get home until five in the morning,” Stahl said.

“It’s going to be a huge benefit to our native students,” Stutzman said. “Definitely, that have, you know, 45 minutes to an hour-long drive outside of our home base at Madras High after those long games.”

The coaching staff said kids didn’t want to play between losses and travel time. But this new league and classification could be the spark to change all that.

“It starts with giving ourselves a chance, you know, a chance to find a little success again to alleviate that hardship and travel distance for both our players and our families,” Stahl said.

The OSAA Ad Hoc committee expects to have final recommendations for football leagues ready for the OSAA executive board meeting on Feb. 6. The executive board has the final say on the committee’s proposal.

The suggested 3A conference includes Madras, La Pine, Sisters, Elmira, Pleasant Hill, Creswell and Harrisburg.

▶️ Oregon Ducks hockey returns to Bend against Washington Huskies

The Oregon Ducks hockey team is back in Bend, playing a pair of games against the Washington Huskies this weekend.

“When we get to travel around to, say, Medford or Bend and go beyond just Eugene, you feel how much the community supports this,” said University of Oregon senior Jordan Larrebee. “And like the Greater Oregon area, especially with the young kids, like you can see young kids everywhere, that’s the biggest thing you noticed from playing out here.”

The teams are playing at the Pavilion in Bend. The first game was Friday and a second is set for Saturday night — already sold-out. For Washington, playing on the High Desert is a first.

“I’ve been to Portland a couple of times but never really explored anything past that,” said the University of Washington senior Michael Zaychikov. “Hockey never brought me here. My other sports ever brought me here. So yeah, I’m getting down to, I guess, the nitty gritty and center of Oregon. It’s awesome.”

For some of the younger fans, it’s an experience they likely will remember. For some Oregon players, the annual event has allowed them to experience college hockey in Bend for two or three years now.

“That’s really fun to come out here and play outdoors,” said University of Oregon senior Roddy Peterson. “You know, I went to one of the only other rinks in Oregon near us, and it’s really fun. You get to meet the kids and, you know, interact with the community at that.”

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This is a first for first-year Oregon head coach Jack Hymon, like his rival adversaries.

“It’s great. Oregon versus Washington, neighboring states, big rivals when it comes to the schools,” said Hyman. “What I heard last year, you know, sellout crowd playing outdoors where a lot of us sort of started playing hockey, especially those on the East Coast. You know, it makes it very, very fun to be a part of. And we’re fortunate that we’re able to do it every single year.”

Oregon won both the Friday and Saturday games by the same score, 5-1.

▶️ International Japanese wrestling team showcases skills at the Oregon Classic

The Oregon Wrestling Classic was back at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds this weekend.

“Awesome tournament here, hosted in Central Oregon,” said Bend Senior High Junior Eric Larwin. “We get to see lots of teams from everywhere, all over the state, that come here, and we can scrap. And it’s a great time just to get out here and just wrestle our best and be the best version of ourself and have some tough competition.”

Unlike most high school tournaments, this one is called a dual tournament. Teams bring out their best wrestlers in each weight class, from smallest to heaviest, with a team score at the end.

This year, the tournament featured the International Japanese Wrestling team, taking on some of the best wrestlers in Oregon.

“This is my first time, and I love it,” Redmond Senior Orinn Hubbard said. “I just got worked, but it’s experience. It’s another match. One match club, just one step closer.”

The rules differed from the regular folk-style high school wrestling, as they competed in freestyle wrestling.

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Team Oregon won the first match of the dual. But after that, it was all team Japan, showing off incredible technique and their skills to the crowd.

“I thought that was so interesting, just getting to know the person, and I’ll have that for the rest of my life,” Hubbard said.

When the match finished, wrestlers exchanged singlets and conversations, getting to know people worldwide through the commonality of the love of wrestling.

The gates open at 7 a.m. Saturday It costs $15 for adults and $5 for kids. At 7 p.m., the championship matches start.

 

▶️ Boys basketball: Summit defeats Ridgeview, Redmond upsets Mountain View

Friday night was the start of Intermountain League Play in Deschutes County. All the Bend and Redmond schools compete for a shot at that league title.

The Storm defeated Ridgeview 72-58, Caldera beat Bend 68-40, and Redmond upset Mountain View 59-54.

Wrestling

The state’s biggest duel wrestling tournament, the Oregon Wrestling Classic, is at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds in Redmond this weekend. The tournament brings thousands of wrestlers of all ages to women’s college wrestling and even a Japanese All-Star duel this year. Tickets for adults cost $15 and kids and seniors cost $5.

▶️ Oregon Holiday Hoopfest, Sisters Shootout, bring in teams near and far

Two big Central Oregon basketball tournaments are taking place right now.

The Holiday Hoopfest is at Summit High School, and the Sisters Shootout is at Sisters High School.

Several local teams competed at Summit, including Bend, Crook County, Caldera, and Mountain View.

The Cougars and Wolfpack are playing in the championship game on Saturday at 2:30.

In the tournament, the Sisters Shootout, the Outlaws, and White Buffalos compete in a round-robin style bracket.

▶️ Trinity Lutheran boys basketball improve to 5-1 after big win against Union

The Trinity Lutheran boys basketball team made a statement in the 1A classification Friday night.
The Saints defeated Union, the top-ranked team, before making their way to Central Oregon.
The Saints won 87-49 over the Bobcats, who moved to 8-2 overall, while Trinity Lutheran improved to 5-1 this season.

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For the girls, Trinity Lutheran lost a close game to Union 42-40.
They dropped to 2-4 overall, while the Bobcats improved to 6-4 this year.