2001 Eagle Boys Basketball Season Was A Dogfight


March 18, 2021 | View PDF

“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight. It’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

Mark Twain.

Twain’s insightful adage well describes the team first year McKenzie Head Coach Mike Wiley inherited in 2000-01. Long time (22 seasons at that time) Eagle Head Coach Galen Scrivner decided to hand the reins of the McKenzie Boys Basketball team over to one of his past players. Indeed, Coach Wiley had played for ‘Coach Scriv’ back in the late 70’s, graduating in 1980.

Scrivner didn’t step aside and leave an empty cupboard for his protégé. The 1999-2000 Eagle Varsity Boys Basketball team posted a fine 16-8 overall record, including a Trico League 10-5 record, good for a third place tie with Lowell. The Eagle Boys also finished 11-2 that season at home. Five talented seniors graduated from the 2000 team, Jason Young, Andrew Jones, Curt Edwards, Daniel DuBell, and Nick Parazoo, which was almost half of the team, some decent height and a lot of game experience.

Incoming, however, was a freshman foursome that had forged a very successful middle school experience and had yet to learn how to respect their elder players. These freshmen, Devin Banks, Garrett Cline, Jacob Egan, and Todd Richardson, were not tall but they were quick and loved to run, mix it up and learn different aspects of their game. They stepped on the court with an attitude and would push their older teammates.

To their credit the older McKenzie players embraced the new system Coach Wiley introduced, the new discipline that came with putting on the Eagle uniform, and the insolence of those younger players. It was the right formula for a fresh basketball era at McKenzie.

Proof in the new pudding didn’t become evident right away, however. As in many things, change takes time. Following several weeks of pre-season practice, the 2001 Eagle boys opened with a non-league game at home against Triangle Lake, and lost 52-56, despite holding a 7 point half-time lead, and senior Casey Cline dropping in 24 points.

McKenzie quickly re-grouped at the Harrisburg Tournament, defeating both Warrenton in overtime, 61-52, and host Harrisburg in the Championship game, 54-48. Senior Jared Woods led his Eagle teammates against Warrenton with 19 points and fellow senior David Fenley added 17 pts. Fenley would literally unload against Harrisburg, scoring 31 pts. to lead all scorers.

Still on the road during the pre-season, the Eagles traveled to Oregon’s south coast for the Pacific Tournament. In the first game of the tournament, Powers, led by Jeremy Mowe’s 18 pts (Mowe’s sister, Jenny, starred at the University of Oregon), defeated the Eagles 57-46. Woods led the Eagles with 21 pts. and Casey Cline added 15 pts. McKenzie came back to claim third place in the tournament with a 82-19 victory over Camas Valley. Five Eagles scored in double figures in that game, Fenley, Casey Cline, and Jacob Egan with 11 pts., and Jared Woods and Ryan Spiro chipping in 10 pts.

The Boys from the Mohawk were the next scheduled opponent and arrived at Finn Rock with a whole lot of swagger of their own. Led by Thurston transfer Jimmy Craig and coached by Bart Rothenberger, Mohawk turned a 21-21-halftime lockup into a 48-32 wallop of the home team. Craig scored 14 pts. and John Ness helped him with 12 pts. Woods with 11 pts. and Fenley with 10 pts. led the Eagle effort.

Mohawk out rebounded their hosts 35-22 and Eagle turnovers coming from the intense Mohawk defense doomed McKenzie. Coach Wiley at the time lamented, “We were sloppy with the ball. We got fatigued and that’s no excuse.”

It was an important wake-up call for the Eagles and they would make the necessary adjustments, right after a second loss to the Lakers of Triangle Lake. That loss, played at Junction City in a four-team tournament, was followed by a 62-49 win over the Junction City Junior Varsity team.

McKenzie’s pre-season record wasn’t glitzy, culminating at 4-4. But the team began to take notes and learn from their new coaching staff. The lessons learned (and continually so) began to bear fruit.

The 2A Trico League season began with the ever-dangerous Central Linn Cobras. Harrisburg would be the pre-season favorite, but Lowell, Monroe, and Oakridge all intended to make their mark. The pre-season schedule had been a bone to chew on.

It was time for the dogfight. It was time to show the size of the fight in the dog!!


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