Huskies clinch league hoops championship

The Huskies dispatched Taft and Philomath last week to secure their first Val-Co league championship in boys basketball and first seed in state playoffs. Sweet Home finished the league season with one loss, to Central, which last week was ranked tied for first with the Huskies in the state coaches poll and second behind Sweet Home in the Oregonian poll.

Sweet Home 67. Taft 34

The Huskies defeated Taft 67-34 Friday night at home in their final regular season game.

“For the most part, we didn’t come out and play as well as I’d like,” said Coach Kostanty Knurowski, but the team also played people in rotations they weren’t used to.

Offensive execution was a little off.

But it wasn’t enough to allow Taft into the game.

The Huskies built a 19-8 lead by the end of the first quarter and a 30-15 lead by halftime. They extended their lead to 49-29 by the end of the third.

The end of the game earned the Huskies the league championship and first seed in state playoffs.

“I think it’s a direct reflection of the work the guys put in,” Knurowski said. After LaGrande last year, a core of players put extra time into the gym to become better athletes.

“The seniors had a lot to do with this,” Knurowski said, and they provided the leadership to get the team to this point.

“Over the course of the season, I’ve been very pleased with where we’re at right now,” Knurowski said.

Now the challenge is to stay hungry while awaiting the first game of state playoffs on March 6.

Until then, the conferences will hold their playoffs. In the Val-Co, fourth-place Philomath, 3-9, will play third-place Newport, 7-5, and the winner will play second-place Cenrtal, 9-3, for second and third seed in state playoffs.

Sweet Home finished the season with an 11-1 record, losing only to Central. Central lost twice to Sweet Home and then 72-69 at Newport in its final game of the regular season.

After conference playoffs finish, the first round of state playoffs begins. The Huskies will host the winner of a game between the Far West’s third seed and Skyline’s second seed on March 3.

The winner of that game moves on to the first round of playoffs against the winner of a game between the second seeds from the Sky-Em and capital conferences at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis.

That’s a long gap between games, Knurowski said. “I have a hard time thinking we won’t stay ready to play and play hard.”

Taft 8 7 14 5 €“ 34

SH 19 11 19 18 €“ 67


Taft €“ Brock Martin 10, B. Ehrenfelt 7, Wilkinson 6, Lovejoy 6, Brent Martin 3, Z. Eherenfelt 1, Holmes 1, Floyd, Flynn.

Sweet Home €“ Jerome Coleman 16, Drew Emmert 16, Gavin Kauffman 14, Brock Cota 5, Willie Jones 4, Levi Marchbanks 4, Brent Moyer 2, Justin Rice 2, John Webb 2, Dallas Morgan 2, Kyle Winslow, Chris Webb, Robert Rubidoux.

Sweet Home 58, Philomath 50

The Huskies defeated Philomath 58-50 on the road on Feb. 16.

Sweet Home led 20-14 after a quarter and 35-32 at halftime, then 48-41 at the end of the third quarter.

“It was kind of one of those games where we’d build a six- to 10-point lead,” Knurowski said. “They’d cut it to two to four.”

At one point in the third, the Warriors took a brief lead, he said, but the Huskies recaptured the momentum and the game.

Knurowski said he felt like the Huskies were in control the whole time, but they never quite put Philomath away. Every time they would get close, Warriors would find a way back into striking range

Cody Thomas led the way for Philomath when the Warriors needed an answer, Knurowski said. He put up five threes during the game.

Gavin Kauffman’s attack was somewhat blunted after a combination of early foul trouble and Philomath’s attempt to hold him back.

“They really did a good job of trying to deny Gavin the basketball,” Knurowski said. He also had two fouls in the first quarter, so he didn’t play as many minutes as usual in the second quarter.

That limited his touches and his aggressiveness, holding him to eight points on the game.

“It just took a little while to adjust,” Knurowski said.

SH 20 15 13 10 – 58

Philomath 14 18 9 9€“ 50


Sweet Home €“ Drew Emmert 19, Marchbanks 11, Kauffman 8, Jones 6, Coleman 6, Moyer 5, Cota 3, J. Webb.

Philomath €“ Cody Thomas 21, Crowell 12, Bartlow 7, Erickson 4, McMakin 4, Keller 2, Alvarado, Frankzerda.

* * * * *

Sweet Home High School junior Gavin Kauffman and senior Jesse Pratt of Central were named co-Players of the Year in Val-Co all-league selections by league coaches Sunday night.

Huskies Coach Kostanty Knurowski was named Coach of the Year.

Joining Kauffman and Pratt on the first team were Huskies senior Drew Emmert, junior Ryan Hoeft of Newport, senior Chris Crowell of Philomath and senior Grant Hedrick of Central.

Huskies senior Willie Jones was named to the second team,. Receiving honorable mention were Huskies seniors Brent Moyer and Levi Marchbanks.

Final League Standings

Sweet Home 11-1 (19-3 overall)

Central 9-3 (21-3)

Newport 7-5 (12-8)

Philomath 3-9 (8-15)

Taft 0-12 (2-23)